Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An aviation pioneer

Our next stop near Corning, New York was for the purpose of visiting two museums. The first was the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. As a member of the flying fraternity for many years, I was well aware that Curtiss was a name that was important to aviation. He likely does not have the name recognition with school children that the Wright Brothers have, but he was a vital part of aviation advancement.

Like the Wright brothers, he got his start in the bicycle business. He designed and sold bicycles from several stores around his home town of Hammondsport, NY and around the region. He was obsessed with speed and competed in numerous races. He then moved on to building and racing motorcycles. In 1907, he traveled to Florida and competed in a speed race with his own design motorcycle. He won the competition with a speed of 136 miles an hour. That speed record stood until 1911, when it was broken by an automobile. It remained the motorcycle speed record until 1930. He was called the Fastest Man on Earth.

Shortly thereafter he became involved with aviation and was to become one of the most important figures in early aviation. He flew the first witnessed flight of a heavy than air plane and received the first pilot license issued in the USA. He won numerous races in the USA and Europe.

He designed and built a number of aircraft that changed the course of aviation, these included the “Jenny” which was vital during WWI and lived long after in civil aviation and the float plane that started Naval Aviation. He is considered to be the father of Naval Aviation. During the years leading up to WWI and during the war he manufactured planes for the war effort and at its peak employed over ten thousand people in numerous plants.

One of his last designs during his retirement years was to build one of the first RV’s for use during his hunting trips. This design was put into general production.

The museum has a restoration department and I was lucky enough to run across a gentleman rebuilding and testing a 1908 engine for a special event tomorrow. We had a very nice chance to swap flying stories and give me some insight into this antique engine.

Anneke also found something of interest in the child play area that reminded her so much of her preschool play areas with all those wooden toys and kitchen. I thought I was not going to get her out of there.

The museum highlights his life, designs, accomplishments, and his fascination with speed. It is a must see for anyone interested in aviation, speed, or history.


Jim and Sandie said...

We didn't have time to visit this museum when we were in that area so thanks for the tour and the pictures.

E Squared and Mui said...

Sounds like you found a nifty museum to visit.

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

Until we started traveling, I had no idea there were so many aviation museums around the country. Rick loves them. I'm not telling him we missed this one :)

Judy and Emma said...

Interesting RV he built. :)

Rick and Paulette said...

Thanks for the history lesson re Glenn Curtiss. Have to admit, I'd never heard of him before so it was great to find out who he was.

Nice pics from the museum!

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

Very interesting story thanks for the tour.

Love the header picture..

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Great post, thanks for bird dogging this neat museum for me. Another great trip for the future.

Didn't know you were a brown shoe at one time in your career.

FULL-TIMERS...OCT. 17, 2009 said...

What a cool place! Thanks for sharing about Glenn Curtiss. Never heard of him. Great photos.

Sweet Meanderings said...

I never would have gotten Hubby out of there!

Bob and Jo said...

We HAVE to visit this museum, my dad flew a Curtiss SB-2C during WWII.