AvStop Magazine Online


The Thomas-Morse "Scout" was the favorite single-seat training airplane produced in the U.S. during WW I. Dubbed the "Tommy" by the pilots of 1917 the plane had a long and varied career. It first appeared in the summer of 1917 as the S4B, 100 of which were ordered. A slightly modified version, the S4C, was later developed and 497 were purchased by the U.S. Air Service.

Tommies were used at practically every pursuit flying school in the U.S. during 1918. After the war ended, many were sold as surplus to civilian flying schools, sportsman pilots, and ex-Army fliers. Some were still being used in the mid-1930s for WW I aviation movies filmed in Hollywood. Even to the present time, several Tommies are being flown by aviation buffs in the U.S. The Tommy on display was donated to the U.S. Air Force Museum in March 1965 by Capt. R. W. Duff, Miami, Florida. It was later restored by Aero Mechanics High School, Detroit, Michigan.



Span: 26 ft. 6 in.

Length: 19 ft. 10 in.

Height: 8 ft. 1 in.

Weight: 1,330 lbs.

Armament: One .30-cal Marlin machine gun

Engine: Le Rhone C-9 rotary of 80 hp.


Maximum Speed: 95 mph.

Range: 250 miles

Rate of climb: 10,000 in 12 minutes

Service Ceiling: 16,000 ft.