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Flapper's Up: 1920

Flapper's Up: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. "Studebaker touring car and biplane at airfield." With the fur possibly about to fly. 6½ x 8½ inch glass negative. View full size.


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Thanks for the comment and for the article, yes I should have remembered that Katherine Stinson was stricken with TB. I think you're right about that being Trixie. So it's a K-6? The K-6/C-6 as well as the K-12 were quite advanced, four valves per cylinder and an overhead camshaft. Quite an improvement over the OX-5 and the Liberty engines.

Good Eye webster55

According to the September 26, 1920 article below from page 16 of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Jenny was fitted with a Curtiss K-6 (from which the C-6 was developed). It was first flown on September 23 by Dan Davison, the demonstrating pilot for the Earl P. Cooper Airplane & Motor Company (Curtiss Airplanes and H.C.S. Motor Cars) on Oak Street in San Francisco. According to the November 8, 1920 issue of Aviation and Aircraft Journal (now Aviation Week and Space Technology), Davison "pronounced the trial trip an unqualified success, and was enthusiastic in his praise of the ship's responsiveness."

However, if the photo was taken around the time of the first flight, the lady cannot be either one of the Stinson sisters. At that time Katherine was just starting a seven-year convalescence at a tuberculosis sanatorium in New Mexico, while Marjorie was in Washington D.C. petitioning (unsuccessfully) to be allowed to take the entrance exam to become an officer in the "aviation corps of the regular army." Personally I think the lady looks like Trixie Friganza, the vaudevillian who was a frequent attraction at the Orpheum in San Francisco, but she was appearing in Indianapolis that week.


Very interesting photo

The JN-4 appears to have a Curtiss C-6 engine in place of the usual OX-5. This would be an advantage because the C-6 produced 160 horsepower versus about 90 for the OX-5, with only a 30 lb. weight gain. The usual four bladed propeller has also been replaced with a two blade prop. There is another JN-4 in the background and it has the standard OX-5 engine. There don't appear to be any markings on any of the aircraft, which makes me wonder if these were mail planes owned by one company. The woman in the car bears a resemblance to famous Aviatrix Katherine Stinson, who had her own JN-4 and flew a customized single seat JN-4 as a mail plane. This would be worth sending to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to see if any of their experts could verify the details, and also archive a copy as I think it has more significance than we might think.

Now Marina Green

This photo was taken at the extreme east end of present-day Marina Green in San Francisco. Visible through the biplane's rigging are the buildings of the coal gas refinery that gave name to today's Gas House Cove.

Beginning in 1920, this stretch of filled shoreline (created for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition) served as an embryonic municipal airport as well as a U.S. Air Mail Service airfield. Known as Marina Airfield or Montgomery Airfield, it was very short-lived.

Blustery winds blowing in through the Golden Gate and San Francisco's notorious fogs led to the little field's quick demise. By 1930, both the Air Mail Service and municipal airport had moved to sunnier climates.

moTthediesel is right

Definitely an oddball engine installation for a Jenny. The radiators are similar to those Glenn L. Martin used on his "T8" of similar vintage.

Radical rads

Looks to be a typical Curtiss JN-4 -- but what's with those crazy radiators?
Perhaps the plane was just too fast (like that flapper?) and they felt that some more parasitic drag was in order?

Looking at this again, I think that Jenny may have an odd engine in it as well. I think it's an in-line unit, perhaps a Mercedes DI?

What't the extra hardware on the plane?

The plane is certainly a Curtis JN4 "Jenny," but what is the extra hardware bolted on the side? There are 4 long rectangular boxes, two on each side, that aren't the normal JN4 hardware.

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