Curtiss Flying Boat Reproduction Set To Fly
After two years of painstaking work, the reproduction shop of the Glenn Curtiss Museum is ready to let another of its creations take flight. On Sept. 14, during the annual Seaplane Homecoming at the museum, retired American Airlines pilot Jim Poel will fly a recreation of the 1914 Rodman Wannamaker America, a twin-engine flying boat that Wannamaker envisioned as transatlantic aircraft. The aircraft will launch off Keuka Lake, at Hammondsport, N.Y., which was where Curtiss developed his early aircraft. Those building the replica are using, as much as possible, the same materials, such as Sitka spruce, that were used to build the original. They've even rebuilt two original Curtiss 100 hp V-8 engines to power the aircraft.
America is 35-feet long and its upper wing span is 72 feet but it weighs only about 3,000 lbs. Curtiss is acknowledged as the father of naval aviation and there's a design feature on the America that has been included on virtually every flying boat and float since. Curtiss incorporated the "step" in the hull that allows it to break free from the surface tension of the water. Every floatplane pilot must master "getting on the step" to make the plane fly.