Curtiss JN–4D "Jenny"

Flight Notes - how to fly the Curtiss JN–4D "Jenny

Glenn Curtiss's motivation for developing the JN–4 may have derived from the number of fatalities he witnessed among student pilots in the first decade of powered flight. By the time Curtiss was well into several iterations of the design, a war was in full flame in Europe. The Royal Flying Corps was his first large customer and that order did much to further the "Jenny's" popularity as a trainer (it was not agile or fast enough to serve as a fighter).

If the Extra 300 is like riding a thoroughbred racehorse, flying the Jenny is like riding an elephant. It's big and slow, and responds to control inputs at its own pace. The preflight checks are extensive, verifying that all the wires, struts, fabric, and sundry other parts are in place. The best climb you'll get out of the Jenny on a cool day is about 400 feet per minute (122 meters per minute), but she was the workhorse of her day and much beloved by her pilots.

Keep in mind that the difference between flying the Jenny and flying a plane like the Cessna 172 is the Jenny's large size, underpowered climb capability, and slow response. Plan ahead and keep a hand on the throttle during landing.


U.S. Metric
Maximum Speed 75 mph 65 knots 121 km per hour
Engine 90-hp Curtiss OX-5
Propeller Wood
Maximum Range 160 mi 257 kilometers
Service Ceiling 11,000 feet 3,353 meters
Fuel Capacity 21 gallons 79 liters
Empty Weight 1,460 pounds 662.25 kilograms
Maximum Gross Weight 1,920 pounds 871 kilograms
Length 27 feet, 4 inches 8.3 meters
Wingspan 43 feet, 7 inches 13.35 meters
Height 9 feet, 10-5/8in 4.7 meters
Seating 2
Useful Load 460 pounds 208 kilograms