Historic Aircraft CURTISS 1911 MODEL D


AvStop Magazine Online


This airplane is a reproduction of the Curtiss 1911 Model D Type IV pusher, the second military airplane purchased by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Known as Signal Corps Airplane No. 2, it was accepted at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on April 27, 1911, one of five airplanes ordered by the Army that year. The military Model D is similar to the Curtiss Standard D pusher, having a tricycle landing gear and interplane ailerons, but the ailerons are attached to the rear instead of the front interplane struts.

The wings were made in sections, making the airplane easy to disassemble and transport on Army wagons. The pilot operates the ailerons with a shoulder yoke on his seat, and the front elevator and rear rudder with the wheel mounted on a column in front of him. An observer's seat is located behind the pilot.


This reproduction was constructed in 1985-1987 by U.S. Air Force Museum personnel. They relied heavily on measurements scaled from early photographs of the original Signal Corps No. 2 because the original drawings and adequate written descriptions were not available. Additional details were gathered from an existing factory-built Curtiss pusher and from recent drawings. Except for the engine, which is made of wood and plastic, all materials used in the reproduction are essentially the same as those used in the original.


Span: 38 ft. 3 in. (including ailerons)

Length: 29 ft. 3 in.

Height: 7 ft. 10 in.

Weight: 700 lbs. empty 1,300 lbs. loaded

Engine: Curtiss V-8 of 60 hp.

Cost: $5,000


Maximum Speed: 50 mph.

Maximum Endurance: 2 1/2 hrs. (approx)