Grandview Heights Moment in Time

Wayne Carlson
GH/MCHS
The Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" was one of a series of biplanes built by the Curtiss Aeroplane Co., later the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. Although the aircraft originally was produced as a training airplane for the U.S. Army, 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 the U.S. to civil aviation through much of the 1920s.

The September 1921 Norwester (inset lower right) depicted a Curtiss JN-4D (improved version of the JN-4) biplane flying over the countryside.

The "Jenny", as the plane was known, was one of the most popular airplanes of all time, serving as a World War I trainer. Aan estimated 95% of WWI pilots received their training in the Jenny.

After World War I, thousands were sold on the civilian market, including one to Charles Lindbergh in May 1923, in which he then soloed.

The plane was a twin-seat (student in front of instructor) dual-control biplane. Surplus U.S. Army aircraft were sold (some still in their unopened packing crates) for as little as $50, flooding the market.

Pilots found the Jenny's stability and slow speed made it ideal for stunt flying and aerobatic displays, including wing-walking, in the barnstorming era between the world wars.

The large photo was taken in 1921 at the landing field at King Avenue, just west of North Star.

The Jenny in the photo was owned by R.S. Haines, who was the Ohio representative for the surplus disposal of these aircraft. It was used to take local residents on thrill rides, which for $10 consisted of a flight north along the Scioto River, then west and south over Olentangy Park and past the university and then over Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff before landing.

Plans were drawn to expand the landing field to accommodate the 122nd Aero Squadron of the National Guard but never were implemented.

This historical narrative from the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society was provided by Wayne Carlson.