Hennessey Automotive Performance Engineering

Hennessey Performance Engineering:

Hennessey Performance Engineering
Type
Private
Industry Automotive
Founded 1991
Headquarters Houston, United States
Key people
John Hennessey
Products Automobiles
Slogan Making Fast Cars Faster Since 1991
Website hennesseyperformance.com

A Hennessey Venom 650R, based on a 1996 Dodge Viper GTS.

Hennessey Performance Engineering is an American tuning house specializing in modifying sports and super cars from several brands likeFerrari, Porsche, McLaren, Chevrolet, Dodge,Cadillac, Lotus, Jeep, Ford,GMC, Lincoln and Lexus. Established in 1991 by John Hennessey, their main facility is located west of Houston, Texas. This firm focuses on mechanical component modification for creating high-powered cars. Besides performance automobiles, they also tune sport utility vehicles such as Ford Raptors and Jeep Cherokees. They also work on luxury cars like Bentleys and muscle cars like Dodge Charger and Challenger.

Tuner School:

In 2008, the Tuner School was founded by the company. It is a private institution dedicated to teach and train high performance vehicle tuner technicians. It is located at Lonestar Motorsports Park, near the Hennessey Performance headquarters. All instructors at this education facility are actual performance tuning mechanics.

Notable cars:

Hennessey Venom GT:

In 2010, Hennessey Performance revealed the Hennessey Venom GT, a modified Lotus Exige. It has an engine that generates 1,244 hp and weighs 1,244 kg. Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler purchased a Venom GT roadster for a reported $1,000,000. It is also the fastest street legal car in the world, with a speed of 270.49 mph. It does not hold the official record.

Hennessey Venom F5:

In late 2014 to early 2015, Hennessey Performance will unveil the Hennessey Venom F5. It is powered by a turbocharged engine that produces 1400 hp.

VelociRaptor SUV:

The Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV is a luxury off-road full-size SUV modified from the Ford SVT Raptor. The SUV is limited to 30 produced a year, however since its introduction over 400 versions have been made. It uses the same engine Ford uses for the pickup truck version. The second generation version is a Luxury off-road heavy-duty SUV modified from the 2015 Ford Super Duty Lariat Version, with design cues from the Ford Excursion.

As of 2015, the first generation model has been discontinued.

Hennessey CTS-V:

The Hennessey CTS-V is a tuned 2016 Cadillac CTS-V that boasts 1000 horsepower.

Controversy:

Hennessey has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and Better Business Bureau complaints throughout the years, with many BBB complaints left unresolved and, according to court records, many judgements entered against Hennessey. According to Car and Driver, a 2002 Dun & Bradstreet search had also turned up significant concern about Hennessey’s financial footing. As of June 1, 2016 Hennessey Performance Engineering holds and “F” Rating from the BBB.  On April 31, 2016 Japopnik published an article outlining Hennessey’s many customer service and potential fraud issues.

Hennessey Venom GT:

Hennessey Venom GT
Hennessey Venom GT (16040233465).jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Hennessey Performance Engineering
Also called Hennessey Venom
Model years 2011 – present
Assembly Hethel, England (chassis components)
Sealy, Texas, United States
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door roadster
Layout Longitudinal RMR layout
Related Lotus Elise
Lotus Exige
Powertrain
Engine 7.0 L [427ci] LSX
Twin Turbocharged V8
Transmission Ricardo 6-speed Manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,800 mm (110.2 in)
Length 4,655 mm (183.3 in)
Width 1,960 mm (77.2 in)
Height 44.7 in (1,135.4 mm)
Curb weight 2,743 lb (1,244 kg)

Back view with engine displayed.

The Hennessey Venom GT is an American sports car manufactured by Texas-based Hennessey Performance Engineering, based on a heavily modified Lotus Exige chassis.

Speed records:

On January 21, 2013, the Venom GT set a Guinness World Record for the fastest production car from 0–300 kilometres per hour (0–186 mph) with an average acceleration time of 13.63 seconds. In addition, the car set an unofficial record for 0–200 mph (0–322 km/h) acceleration at 14.51 seconds, beating the Koenigsegg Agera R’s time of 17.68 seconds, making it the unofficial fastest accelerating production car in the world.

On April 3, 2013, the Hennessy Venom GT crested 265.7 mph (427.6 km/h) over the course of 2 miles (3.2 km) during testing at United States Naval Air Station Lemoore in Lemoore, California. Hennessey used two VBOX 3i data logging systems to document the run and had VBOX officials on hand to certify the numbers.

On February 14, 2014, on the Kennedy Space Center’s 3.22-mile (5.18 km) shuttle landing strip in Florida, the Hennessey team recorded a top speed of 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) with Director of Miller Motorsport Park, Brian Smith, driving. As the run was in a single direction, and only 16 cars have been sold to date (to qualify Hennessey must build 30), it does not qualify as the world’s fastest production car in the Guinness Book of Records.

On March 25, 2016 the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder posted a top speed of 265.6 mph (427.4 km/h) at California’s Naval Air Station Lemoore, establishing a new speed world record for open top street legal road vehicles, celebrating Hennessey’s 25th anniversary. In May 2016 the Hennessey Team revealed that the record-breaking car was about 300 hp (220 kW) down on power due to issues with one of the car’s three high capacity fuel pumps. Normally, the Venom GT Spyder delivers 1,451 hp (1,082 kW) and 1,287 lb·ft (1,745 N·m) from its forced induction 7.0-liter V8, making it the most powerful car currently in production.

Specifications:

Chassis:

The Venom GT utilizes a heavily modified Lotus Exige chassis. The manufacturer, Hennessey Performance Engineering, states the modified chassis uses components from the Lotus Exige, including the roof, doors, side glass, windscreen,cockpit, floorpan, HVAC system, wiper and head lamps. Hennessey Performance and the Venom GT are not associated with Lotus Cars. For road use, the car is registered as a Lotus Exige (modified) and is not a series production car.

The Venom GT has a curb weight of 2,743 pounds (1,244 kg) aided by carbon fiber bodywork and carbon fiber wheels. The brakes use Brembo 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the rear. The rotors are 15 inches (380 mm) carbon ceramic units provided by Surface Transforms.Hennessey claim a top speed of 278mph for the Hennessey Venom GT.

Drivetrain:

The Venom GT is powered by a twin turbocharged 427 cu in (7.0 L) GM LSX engine sometimes incorrectly thought to be a variant of GM LS7 engine with which it shares some mechanical similarities. The LSX architecture incorporates specific design features such as reinforced internal components and additional head bolts with aluminum heads including twin Precision dual ball bearing turbochargers. The engine produces 1,244 bhp (928 kW; 1,261 PS) of power at 6,600 rpm and 1,155 lb·ft (1,566 N·m) of torque at 4,400 rpm. Engine power output is adjustable by three settings: 800 bhp (597 kW; 811 PS), 1,000 bhp (746 kW; 1,014 PS) and 1,200 bhp (895 kW; 1,217 PS). The engine revs to 7,200 rpm.

The mid-engine V8 is mated to the rear wheels with a Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission, which for example was also used in the Ford GT.

A programmable traction control system manages power output. Computational fluid dynamics tested bodywork and downforce also help keep the Venom GT stable. Under varying conditions on both the road and racetrack, an active aero system with adjustable rear wing will deploy. An adjustable suspension system will allow ride height adjustments by 2.4 inches (61 mm) according to speed and driving conditions. Michelin PS2 tires will also help put power to the ground.

Venom GT Spyder

The Venom GT Spyder is an open top version of the Venom GT. Having decided to order a Venom GT, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler approached Hennessey in Fall 2011 and asked if an open-top version could be created. This involved structural changes which added 30 pounds (14 kg) to the curb weight. Tyler’s was the first of five cars scheduled delivered for the 2013 model year.

Venom GT “World’s Fastest Edition” (2014):

Is a limited (3 units) version of the Venom GT coupe commemorating the Venom GT coupe’s 0–300 km/h Guinness World Record.The vehicle went on sale for US$1.25 million. All three units were sold to customers shortly after their production was announced by the manufacturer.

Venom F5:

Hennessey announced that it has been working on a successor to the GT named Venom F5, thus far the company has not specified anything in detail with regard to the car, other than a planned power output of over 1400 hp and a top speed of over 290 mph (470 km/h). They plan to achieve that by reworking the engine using larger twin turbochargers and larger intercoolers for improved charging pressures and cooling. The revised 7.0-liter V8 would use a new fuel system as well. The F5 will have a completely new exterior with its carbon fiber body improved for lower aerodynamic drag as well as more downforce and will ride on its own bespoke all-American chassis. The name F5 is derived from a top speed tornado. First delivery to customers is planned for 2016, with a total production of 30 models at a price of more than $1.2 million each.

Curtiss JN-4:

JN “Jenny”
Flying jenny cropped.jpg
Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, 1918
Role Trainer
Manufacturer Curtiss
Designer Benjamin D. Thomas
Introduction 1915
Primary users U.S. Army Air Service
Royal Flying Corps
Number built 6,813
Unit cost
$5,465
Variants Curtiss N-9
Curtiss JN-6H

The Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” was one of a series of “JN” biplanes built by the Curtiss Aeroplane Company of Hammondsport, New York, later the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. Although the Curtiss JN series was originally produced as a training aircraft for the U.S. Army, the “Jenny” (the common nickname derived from “JN-4”, with an open-topped four appearing as a Y) continued after World War I as a civil aircraft, as it became the “backbone of American post war [civil] aviation.” Thousands of surplus Jennys were sold at bargain prices to private owners in the years after the war and became central to the barnstorming era that helped awaken America to civil aviation through much of the 1920s.

Design and development:

Curtiss combined the best features of the model J and model N trainers, built for the Army and Navy, and began producing the JN or “Jenny” series of aircraft in 1915. Curtiss built only a limited number of the JN-1 and JN-2 biplanes. The design was commissioned by Glenn Curtiss from Englishman Benjamin Douglas Thomas, formerly of the Sopwith Aviation Company.

The JN-2 was an equal-span biplane with ailerons controlled by a shoulder yoke in the aft cockpit. It was deficient in performance, particularly climbing, because of excessive weight. The improved JN-3 incorporated unequal spans with ailerons only on the upper wings, controlled by a wheel. In addition, a foot bar was added to control the rudder.

Curtiss JN-3, the progenitor of the JN-4, deployed to Mexico, around 1916

The 1st Aero Squadron of the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps received eight JN-2s at San Diego in July 1915. The squadron was transferred toFort Sill, Oklahoma, in August to work with the Field Artillery School, during which one JN-2 crashed, resulting in a fatality. The pilots of the squadron met with its commander, Capt. Benjamin Foulois, to advise that the JN-2 was unsafe because of low power, shoddy construction, lack of stability, and overly sensitive rudder. Foulois and his executive officer Capt. Thomas D. Milling disagreed, and flights continued until a second JN-2 crashed in early September, resulting in the grounding of the six remaining JN-2s until mid-October. When two new JN-3s were delivered, the grounded aircraft were then upgraded in accordance with the new design. In March 1916, these eight JN-3s were deployed to Mexico for aerial observation during the Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916–1917.[7]

After the successful deployment of the JN-3, Curtiss produced a development, known as the JN-4, with orders from both the US Army and an order in December 1916 from the Royal Flying Corps for a training aircraft to be based in Canada.[N 1] The Canadian version was the JN-4 (Canadian), also known as the “Canuck”, had some minor differences from the US version, including a lighter airframe, ailerons on both wings, a bigger and more rounded rudder, and differently shaped wings, stabilizer, and elevators.

Operational history:

Curtiss JN-4Ds at Camp Taliaferro, Texas, circa 1918

The Curtiss JN-4 is possibly North America’s most famous World War I aircraft. It was widely used during World War I to train beginning pilots, with an estimated 95% of all trainees having flown a JN-4. The U.S. version was called “Jenny”, a derivation from its official designation. It was a twin-seat (student in front of instructor) dual-control biplane. Its tractor propeller and maneuverability made it ideal for initial pilot training with a 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5 V8 engine giving a top speed of 75 mph (121 km/h) and a service ceiling of 6,500 ft (2,000 m). The British used the JN-4 (Canadian), along with the Avro 504, for their primary World War I trainer using the Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. indigenous variant. Many Royal Flying Corps pilots earned their wings on the JN-4, both in Ontario and later in winter facilities at Camp Taliaferro, Texas.

Converted JN-4 ambulance, operated by the Camp Talia-ferromedical teams, around 1918

Although ostensibly a training aircraft, the Jenny was extensively modified while in service to undertake additional roles. Due to its robust but easily adapted structure able to be modified with ski undercarriage, the Canadian Jenny was flown year-round, even in inclement weather. The removable turtle-deck behind the cockpits allowed for conversion to stretcher or additional supplies and equipment storage, with the modified JN-4s becoming the first aerial ambulances, carrying out this role both during wartime and in later years. Most of the 6,813 Jennys built were unarmed, although some had machine guns and bomb racks for advanced training. With deployment limited to North American bases, none saw combat service in World War I.

The Curtiss factory in Buffalo, New York, was the largest such facility in the world, but due to production demands, from November 1917 to January 1919, six different manufacturers were involved in production of the definitive JN-4D. Production from spare or reconditioned parts continued sporadically until 1927, although most of the final orders were destined for the civil market in Canada and the United States.

Like the re-engined ‘JN-4H’ version of the most-produced JN-4 subtype, the final production version of the aircraft was the JN-6, powered by aWright Aeronautical license-built, 150-hp (112-kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 V-8, first ordered in 1918 for the US Navy. A floatplane version was built for the Navy which was so modified, it was essentially a different airframe. This was designated the N-9. In U.S. Army Air Service usage, the JN-4s and JN-6s were configured to the JNS (“S” for “standardized”) model. The Jenny remained in service with the US Army until 1927.

One of the many daredevil stunts performed by JN-4 pilots was to work with a “wingwalker”.After World War I, thousands were sold on the civilian market, including one to Charles Lindbergh in May 1923, in which he then soloed.Surplus US Army aircraft were sold, some still in their unopened packing crates, for as little as $50, essentially “flooding” the market.[N 2] With private and commercial flying in North America unhampered by regulations concerning their use, pilots found the Jenny’s slow speed and stability made it ideal for stunt flying and aerobatic displays in the barnstorming era between the world wars, with the nearly identical Standard J-1 aircraft often used alongside it. [N 3] Some were still flying into the 1930s.[N 4]

JN-4 airframes were used to produce early Weaver Aircraft Company / Advance Aircraft Company / Waco aircraft, such as the Waco 6.

Notable firsts:

Between 1917 and 1919, the JN-4 type accounted for several significant aviation “firsts” while in service with the US Army Signal Corps Aviation Section and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) including flying the first U.S. Air Mail in May 1918.

In a series of tests conducted at the U.S. Army’s Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia, in July and August 1917, the world’s first “plane-to-plane” and “ground-to-plane, and vice versa” communications by radiotelephony (as opposed to radiotelegraphy which had been developed earlier) were made to and from modified US Army JN-4s[N 5] by Western Electric Company (Bell Labs) design engineers Lewis M. Clement and Raymond Heising, the developers of the experimental wind generator-powered airborne wireless voice transmitter and receiver equipment.

In early 1919, a United States Marine Corps (USMC) JN-4 was also credited with what is believed to be the first successful “dive bombing” attack during the United States occupation of Haiti. USMC pilot Lt Lawson H. Sanderson mounted a carbine barrel in front of the windshield of his JN-4 (previously, an unarmed trainer that had a machine gun mounted in the rear cockpit) as an improvised bomb sight that was lined up with the long axis of his aircraft, loaded a bomb in a canvas mail bag that was attached to the JN-4’s belly, and launched a single-handed raid at treetop level, in support of a USMC unit that had been trapped by Haitian Cacos rebels. Although the JN-4 almost disintegrated in the pullout, the attack was effective and led to Sanderson in 1920 developing further dive-bombing techniques to provide Marine pilots with close aerial support to infantry comrades.

Variants:

A JN-4 C227 “Canuck” (USAAS #39158) operated by the US Air Army Air Service in 1918, is now restored and on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Although the first series of JN-4s were virtually identical to the JN-3, the JN-4 series was based on production orders from 1915–1919.

  • JN-4A — production version of the JN-4, 781 built
  • JN-4B — This version was powered by an OX-2 piston engine; 76 were built for the U.S. Army, and nine for the U.S. Navy.
  • JN-4C — experimental version, only two were built
  • JN-4 (Canadian) Canuck — Canadian-built version, 1,260 built by Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. for the RFC in Canada/RAF in Canada and USAAC: Independently derived from the JN-3, it had a lighter airframe, ailerons on both wings, a bigger and more rounded rudder, and differently shaped wings, stabilizer, and elevators. Its use by the USAAC was curtailed as the lighter structure was claimed to cause more accidents than the US-built aircraft, although no air fatalities were attributed to the structural integrity of the type.
  • JN-4D — improved version, adopting the control stick from the JN-4 (Canadian) 2,812 built
    • JN-4D-2 — One prototype only, the engine mount was revised to eliminate the down thrust position.
  • JN-4H — two-seat advanced trainer biplane with ailerons on both wings, 929 built for the U.S. Army, notable for introducing the use of theWright Aeronautical license-built Hispano-Suiza 8 V-8 engine for greater power and reliability
    • JN-4HT — two-seat, dual-control trainer version
    • JN-4HB — bombing trainer version
    • JN-4HG — gunnery trainer version
    • JN-4HM — communications conversion of JN-4HT, powered by Wright-Hisso E 150-hp (112-kW), six converted, used to fly the first US Air Mail (May–August, 1918)
  • JN-5H — advanced trainer biplane, only one built
  • JN-6 — improved version of JN-5 trainer biplane series, notably used four ailerons, 1,035 built for the US Army and five for the U.S. Navy
  • JN-6H — improved version of the JN-6
    • JN-6BH — bomber trainer version
    • JN-6HG-1 — two-seat, dual-control trainer version, 560 built from JN-6 production, 34 for US Navy
    • JN-6HG-2 — single-control gunnery trainer. 90 delivered
    • JN-6HO — single-control observer trainer version, 106 delivered
    • JN-6HP — single-control pursuit fighter trainer version
  • JNS (“standardized”)  — During the postwar years of the early 1920s, between 200 and 300 U.S. Army aircraft were upgraded to a common standard of equipment and modernized.

“Specials”:

The most radical development of the Curtiss JN-4 was the Twin JN (or “Twin Jenny”) in limited production and service with the US military.

  • Allison Monoplane — conversion of JN-4 (Can) G-CAJL by the Allison Company, Kansas, that mounted a parasol wing in place of the biplane configuration, only one conversion made
  • Curtiss Special (1918) — a smaller, custom-built, single-seat variant for Katherine Stinson, powered by a 100-;hp (74.5-kW) OXX-6 [N 6]
  • Ericson Special Three — Some reconditioned aircraft built by Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. were fitted with a third cockpit.
  • Hennessey Monoplane —  a 1926 monoplane conversion by James R. Hennessey, three-place transport, 90-hp Curtiss OX-5, span: 36 ft (11 m) length: 25 ft (7.6 m)
  • Severski 1926 biplane  — a JN-4 modified with a roller/ski undercarriage, one experimental aircraft converted by the Seversky company[N 7]
  • Sperry Monoplane — conversion offered by the Sperry Company that mounted a parasol wing in place of the biplane configuration
  • Twin JN — An enlarged twin-engined version of the JN-4, they were powered by two OXX-2 piston engines, built in 1916 as the JN-5 for an observation role; among the many other modifications was an enlarged wingspan and new rudder adapted from the Curtiss Model R-4. Two of the series saw action with the US Army on the Mexican border in 1916–1917. A total of eight Twin JNs were built, with two in US Navy service.

Operators:

JN-4 used by the Republic of China

Military operators:

 Argentina
  • Argentine Naval Aviation
 Australia
  • Australian Flying Corps
    • No. 3 Squadron AFC – Used for training.
    • Central Flying School AFC at Point Cook, Victoria.

Curtiss JN-4 (Can) dwg.jpg

 Brazil
  • Brazilian Naval Aviation (JN-4D variant)
 Canada
  • Royal Flying Corps Canada (primarily JN-4 (Can) variant)
  • Royal Canadian Air Force
 Cuba
  • Cuban Air Force
 United Kingdom
  • Royal Flying Corps
    • No. 24 Squadron RFC
    • No. 25 Squadron RFC
  • Royal Naval Air Service
 United States
  • United States Army Signal Corps Aviation Section (1915)
  • United States Army Signal Corps Aeronautical Division (1915–1918)
  • United States Army Air Service (1918 et seq.)
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Navy
 Republic of China
  • National Revolutionary Army in the Northern Expedition.

Civil operators:

 Canada
  • Elliot Air Service, Red Lake, Ontario

Survivors:

The JN-4D on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum

The JN-4D on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Curtiss JN-4D at the San Diego Air and Space Museum is being restored (to reskin the wings) prior to future display.

About 50 Jennys survive in museums and with private owners.

  • JN-4C C227 is displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Rockcliffe, Ontario.
  • JN-4C C308 is flown on a regular basis at the Pioneer Flight Museum, Kingsbury, Texas.
  • JN-4C C496 is exhibited at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, Creve Coeur Airport, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • JN-4C C1122 is airworthy; formerly with Skeeter Carlson, Spokane, Washington, it is now with the Eagle’s Mere Air Museum, Merritt Field, Pennsylvania.
  • JN-4C 10875 owned by John Shue, York, Pennsylvania.
  • JN-4C C-AAI is part of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada.
  • A 1917 JN-4D is on permanent display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It is displayed upside down next to a wraparound balcony, and details of the cockpit can readily be seen.
  • JN-4D U.S. Army Air Corps 1282 is on display at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, Oregon.
  • JN-4D, USAAC 2805 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It was obtained from Robert Pfiel ofTaylor, Texas in 1956. The aircraft is displayed in the Museum’s Early Years gallery.
  • JN-4D Signal Corps 2975, c/n 450, built 1918, is on display at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Richmond, Virginia, on loan from Ken Hyde, Warrenton, Virginia.
  • JN-4D Signal Corps 34135, is fully restored to flying condition and on display at the Military Aviation Museum, Pungo, Virginia.
  • JN-4D U.S. Army Air Corps “2525” on display at the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport in Wichita Falls, Texas. Its last flight was to the airport to be put on display.
  • JN-4D c/n 4904 – EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • The Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island has two Jennys on display. One is the aircraft owned by Charles Lindbergh in which he barnstormed long before his transatlantic flight. Lindbergh purchased this aircraft in Americus, Georgia, for $500 in May 1923, and sold it to his flying student in Iowa the following October. It was restored by the late George Dade in the 1970s and is on loan from the Long Island Early Fliers Club.
  • JN-4D built in 1917 has been fully restored to flying condition and is on display, as well as being available for flights, at the Golden Age Air Museum at Grimes Airport, Bethel, Pennsylvania.
  • JN-4D built in 1917, fully restored to flying condition, is on display and flown at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine.
  • JN-4D built in 1918, fully restored to flying condition, is on display at the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett, WA.. It is U.S. Army Air Corps “3712” based at March Field, CA.
  • JN-4HT / HM, restored as a USN Model 1E BuNo. A6226 (ex-USAAS “38262”), powered by a rare Hispano-Suiza 8 (V-8) engine, is on display at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, New York. It is still flightworthy and frequently flown during the ORA facility’s weekend airshows.

Specifications (JN-4D):

Curtiss JN-4B

Data from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft

General characteristics:

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)
  • Wingspan: 43 ft 7¾ in (13.3 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 10½ in (3.01 m)
  • Wing area: 352 ft2 (32.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,390 lb (630 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,920 lb (871 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss OX-5 V8 piston, 90 hp (67 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 75 mph (65 kn, 121 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 60 mph (52 kn, 97 km/h)
  • Endurance: 2h
  • Service ceiling: 6,500 ft (2,000 m)

In popular culture:

The “Inverted Jenny” stamp:

“Inverted Jenny” (C-3a P57)

The “Inverted Jenny” (C-3a) is a 24-cent 1918 US Air Mail postage stamp printing error in which the blue central vignette of US Army Curtiss JN-4HM #38262, the nation’s first mailplane, appeared as “inverted” on a single sheet of 100 stamps owing to an inadvertent error made by the operator of a hand-rolled spider press by printing the blue vignette impressions upside down after the red frames had previously been printed on the sheet. As the Jenny vignette was only inverted on one sheet, this stamp represents the rarest and most valuable known USPOD printing error of all time. A single example (sheet position 57) sold at auction in 2007 for $977,500.00.

Notable appearances in media:

In 1921, Lee De Forest made a short film Flying Jenny Airplane in his Phonofilm sound-on-film process. The film depicted a JN-4 flying, and recorded the sound of the Jenny, as well. The short documentary was the first production of the De Forest Phonofilm company.

This 1917 Curtiss Jenny still flies on occasion. Its home base is the Call Memorial Museum in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Among many later films depicting the barnstorming era when the Jennys “ruled supreme” and played a feature role, was The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) and The Great Waldo Pepper (1974). In The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), authentic OX-5 Jennys were showcased as United States Army Air Service training aircraft. Broadcast on April 15, 1987, by PBS, the National Geographic special entitled “Treasures from the Past” featured the restoration and first flight by Ken Hyde of a JN-4D that would go on to win the “Lindy Award” at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh ’87.

A Jenny appears in the 1963 film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Musician Al Stewart refers to the Jenny in his song “The Immelman Turn” (2005) in which a barnstorming acrobat falls to his death from a Curtiss Jenny attempting the maneuver in a 1923 airshow.

On the TV show The Unit season 4: episode 11 “Switchblade”, new character Joss Morgan of Morgan Aviation Company owns a 1917 Curtis “Jenny” and cracks a piston and ends up showing up at the Unit’s front fake aviation business looking for help fixing it. She meets her future husband, unit-member Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Carlito” Grey about the piston.

He then gets to buy her a drink for telling her what plane the piston was from. He then trades the broken piston for a real piston from the National Air Museum through a friend for his Colt BBQ gun. She was going to show him the “outside loop maneuver”.

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