Curtiss JN-4D Jenny


Place in history: Designed by Glenn Curtis, the "Jenny" was the first mass-produced American aircraft. It was technologically unremarkable, but over 6,000 were produced by the end of the war – a testament to the plane's adaptability, dependability, and low production cost. In 1917, the US did not have a combat aircraft capable of competing successfully with the Germans in the skies over France. The vast majority of U.S. and Canadian pilots in WWI trained in Jennys, although the plane itself never saw combat.

At the end of the war, the slow-flying Jenny was used by civilians for daredevil wing-walking performances. Pilots would "barnstorm" their planes from one farmer's field to another, putting on aerobatic shows and taking audience members for rides – greatly increasing the public's interest in flying. Many of the most renowned aviators of the day honed their skills in Jennys, including Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindberg, and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female aviator.

This aircraft: Airworthy Jennys are extremely rare and the aircraft in front of you is one of the finest examples in the world. It was manufactured in May, 1918 and entered military service the next month at March Field in Riverside, California. On May 6, 1919 this plane was sold back to Curtiss for reconditioning and civilian resale. For the next 75 years it was owned by several private individuals and featured in numerous film and television productions.

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