Curtiss NC-4 Flying Boat

Curtiss NC-4 Flying Boat


  • The greatest challenge faced by aviation immediately after World War I was to demonstrate to the nonflying public the capabilities of the airplane. The first natural barrier to be challenged was the Atlantic Ocean, and it was conquered in 1919.
  • The NC-4 was one of four NC (Navy-Curtiss) flying-boats, built during World War I originally to provide patrol cover for American shipping in the Atlantic against the attentions of German U-boats. The four aircraft were numbered separately NC-1 to NC-4, but the war was ending even as flight testing began. The NC-1 had three 400 hp Liberty engines and flew for the first time on October 4,1918, and on November 25 proved its load-lifting abilities by carrying 51 people on a single flight(a world record).But even with these abilities,the three-engined installation was considered inadequate for trans-Atlantic flying, and completion of the other three aircraft was delayed while a fourth engine was included in the design. First flights were made on April 12 (NC-2), April 23 (NC-3) and April 30 (NC-4),NC-2 was modified with its engines mounted as tandem pairs was found to be an inadequate configuration, while the other two aircraft retained the between-wings separate tractor type layout of three engines and had the fourth mounted, as a pusher, at the rear of the hull. It was decided to enter the Navy-Curtiss machines for the transatlantic attempt, for which they were redesignated NC-TA.
  • The first aircraft to cross the Atlantic was a U.S. Navy flying boat, the NC-4. On May 16, 1919, three Curtiss flying Boats - the NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4 - left Newfoundland bound for England.

  • the NC-1 and NC-3 were soon forced down, and the NC-4, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Albert C. Read, completed the flight after a stop in the Azores and in Lisbon, Portugal. Commander Read reached Plymouth, England, on May 31, 1919, after a 3,925-mile flight.
    THE CREW OF THE NC-4 was as follows:

    LtCdr Albert C Read, USN,commander and navigator
    Lt Walter Hinton, USNR, pilot
    Lt Elmer F Stone, USCG, pilot
    Lt James L Breese, USNR,flight engineer
    Chief Eugene S Rhoads, USN,flight engineer
    Ens Herbert C Rodd, USNR,radio operator


    Span: 126 ft. 0in.
    Length: 68 ft. 3 in.
    Height: 24 ft. 4 in.
    Gross Weight: 4500 lbs.
    Empty Weight: 16,000 lbs.
    Engine: Four Liberty 400 hp 12-cylinder Vee-type)


    Max speed: 91 mph.
    Range: 1,470 miles
    Manufactured by US NAVY/Glenn Curtiss Aircraft

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