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Curtiss museum looks to recreate history

PENN YAN—After years of being on the “back burner,” the Albany Flyer is now the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum’s main project.
The reproduction of the 1910 plane is currently being worked on at the Penn Yan airport. Pilot Jim Poel said workers are getting it ready for flight. He explained that the restoration staff crew are getting the wheels back on and making sure it is “rigged up and taut.”
The plane was moved up to Penn Yan two weeks ago for the work. Poel said work started in 2004 on the Albany Flyer, but it was a side project to the America seaplane. He added the plane has a Curtiss engine in it, estimated to be from 1918.
The museum hopes to duplicate the flight that made the original plane famous. Poel explained the Flyer was the first to fly between two major cities: Albany and New York. According to the Curtiss Museum, the 150 mile public flight was the first true cross-country flight. It was also the longest flight attempted at the time.
The museum stated that at the time Publisher Joseph Pulitzer offered a $10,000 prize to the first aviator to fly from the two cities. The rules allowed two stops, as long as the journey occurred within 24 hours. The challenge went unanswered for a year before Curtiss took it. Taking off from Albany at 7 a.m., Curtiss landed within Manhattan’s city limits after two and a half hours.
Poel added that the museum also wants to recreate two other accomplishments of the time. He explained in 1910 a similar Curtiss model airplane completed the first takeoff from a ship platform, before returning to land. Eugene Ely, exhibitionist pilot for Curtiss, accomplished the goal off of the U.S. Navy cruiser “Pennsylvania” in the San Francisco harbor. The next year, Ely was also the first person to land a plane on a ship.
Poel explained that 2011 is the 100-year anniversary of Naval aviation, so the the museum wants to reproduce Curtiss’s early naval aviation accomplishments.

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