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Curtiss JN-4D Jenny

History of the JN-4D “Jenny”

The JN aircraft series combined features of the Curtiss J and N models. With the United States entry into World War I, the Signal Corps ordered large quantities of the aircraft to be manufactured. Shortly after, the JN-4D, affectionately known as the “Jenny,” became America’s most famous World War I training airplane. After the war, these aircraft functioned as barnstormers (airshow performers) and could be purchased for $50.

Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny”

Serial Number: 5002

Manufacturer: Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company

Crew: Two

Engines: One Curtiss OX-5 reciprocating V-8 of 500-cubic inches; 90 horsepower

Wingspan: 43 feet 7 3/8 inches (upper); 33 feet 11 1/4 inches (lower)

Length: 27 feet 4 inches

Height: 9 feet 10 inches

Weight: 1,920 pounds; 2,130 pounds takeoff

Speed: 65 mph (cruising); 75 mph (maximum)

Service Ceiling: About 10,000 feet

Armament: None

Cost: $6,000

The JN-4D “Jenny” at Hill Air Force Base

Originally manufactured by the Springfield Airplane Company in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1918, the JN-4D, the most notable American aircraft in World War I, was nicknamed “Jenny” by sluffing the “JN.” While in service, the Jenny had two careers. First, the Jenny was a trainer. Then, after the war, it flew as a barnstormer/air show performer. Driving its second career was the fact it sold for $50 after World War I. One of the most-loved, early American airplanes, the Jenny was flown by most famous pilots of the time.

The Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah acquired this aircraft for Hill Aerospace Museum from the estate of Jim Nissen of Livermore, California. Jim Nissen purchased the remains of this Jenny in 1958 and spent years restoring it to airworthiness. The aircraft is painted in the early Army Air Service colors; it made its first post-restoration flight in April 1976.

This Curtiss made a public debut in May 1976 at the Watsonville Antique Fly-In, where it was unanimously awarded the Grand Champion Trophy. Over the next two decades, the Jenny made occasional appearances at fly-ins and airshows around northern California.

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