How to fly the Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny"

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CRJCapt Chief Captain

Common bit of Jenny lore (from the 20s or 30s?); attributed to Sam Stites. Source: Several web sites; it is referenced at the Jenny display of the Seattle Museum of Flight.

1. Inspection: It is best not to inspect this ship. If you do, you will never get into it.

2. Climbing into the cockpit: Do not attempt to enter the cockpit in the usual way. If you put your weight on the lower wing panel, it will fall off, and besides, your foot will go through the wing, probably breaking your leg. The best way to enter the cockpit is to climb over the tail surfaces and crawl up the turtle back. Be sure to brush the gopher and squirrel nests out of the cockpit. Take care not to cut your hands on the remnants of the windshield.

3. Instruments: After having carefully lowered yourself into the seat and groped in vain for a safety belt, take a good look at the instruments; both of them. The one on the right is the tachometer. It doesn't work. The other one is an altimeter, and functioned perfectly until 1918, when the hand fell off. Look at them now, for after the engine starts you won't be able to.

4. Starting the motor: The switch is on the right; it is not connected.' However it gives a sense of Confidence to the mechanic who is pulling the prop through to hear the switch click when you say "switch off". If for some reason the motor does start, don't get out to pick up the unconscious and bleeding mechanic, he deserved it.

5. Warming up: Don't warm up the engine. It will only run a few minutes anyway, and the longer it runs on the ground the less flying time you have. After the throttle is opened, do not expose any portion of your body outside the cockpit. It is no fun having your face slapped by a flying rocker arm, or being peppered with small bits of piston rings, valves, etc. that are continually coming out of the exhaust stacks.

6. The takeoff: The takeoff is in direct defiance of all the laws of nature. If you have a passenger, don't try it.

7. The flight: After you have dodged trees, windmills, and chimneys until you are over the lake, you will note a large hole in the left side of the fuselage. This hole is to allow the stick to be moved far enough to make a left turn. Don't try one to the right.

8. The landing: The landing is made in accordance with the laws of gravity. If the landing gear doesn't collapse on the first bounce, don't worry, it will on the second. After you have extricated yourself from the wreckage and helped the spectators put out the fire, light a cigarette, and with a nonchalant shrug walk disdainfully away. 🙂

3 Responses

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tomthetank Chief Captain


Thats great,thank you 😉

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Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

ROFL ROFL That made my night! 😉

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WarHawk42 Captain

He forgot to mention you need to point it in the direction you plan on taking off in, you can't steer the critter on the ground. ROFL

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