Home Is Where We Park It: Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale Alabama
Date: May 11, 2019
National Naval Aviation Museum – First Across
The sun keeps popping in and out and the skies are angry and gray but so far the rain has held off. Not the usual pleasant day we have been used to. Well then, what better way to spend a wet and sour day then writing a blog or two. That then is what I’m going to do.
There’s so much left to share with you from our time at the National Naval Aviation Museum that that is where I’m going to concentrate. Time’s a wasting so let’s get going.
Before we even go inside here are a couple of things I’d like to share with you. The first is called Homecoming.
The next is a rather heavy item to say the least. Oh, wave HI to Barbara if you will she is about to drop anchor at the museum.
Let’s go inside. Remember the Blue Angels Atrium?
And the Spirit of Aviation?
Can’t forget the Cafe.
Of course since this is a Naval Air Museum there are planes, all kinds of planes.
Today, we are going to concentrate on just one plane which 100 years ago made history. The plane? The Navy Curtis Flying boat. The goal? First across the Atlantic.
It was the end of WW I and the benefits of being able to fly across the Atlantic had become abundantly clear during the war. Curtis had been building flying boats throughout the war for antisubmarine patrol. They were made of cedar planking, a maze of wire struts and many square miles of fabric covering their wings which stretched 126 feet in length.
After the war the Navy approached Curtis about building a newer and bigger flying boat specifically intended to cross the ocean on their own. Curtis responded by building the the next series of boats with four engines – two on each wing and two in the center. The engines were the 400 HP Liberty V-12 water cooled engine.
All total there were three planes made, NC-2, NC-3 and NC-4, collectively known as the Nancy boats. A replica of NC-4 is seen below.
Note the four engines – one on each wing and two in the center, one pulling and the other pushing.
The central hull had sleeping quarters for the crew, a heavy wireless transmitter, and numerous fuel tanks. As for the crew, they sat in the front of the hull, one in the very front at the tip and the other two a bit further back, where you see the ladder on the hull. They were completely exposed to the elements, no canopy covered them.
Remember this airplane was built for just one mission.
The journey before them. To help them successfully negotiate the Atlantic the Navy stationed ships at 50 to 60 mile intervals along the intended course to illuminate the way.
Their starting point.
With high hopes and great resolve three flying boats took to the air. As the flight progressed it appeared that NC-4 would not make it. Yet, in the end it was the only one of the three that did. The other two had to ditch in the Atlantic.
Once back in the States NC-4 went on tour as a Navy recruitment tool. Here it is on exhibit in Central Park.
We’ve now covered one of several major exhibits in the Museum. More to come so stayed tuned as I work to bring them to you in future blogs.
Our day on The Road of Retirement was a bit wet, overcast, and definitely an inside day. So be it we’ve learned to take and treasure each day as it comes no matter what the weather or whatever else. We’ve got an itinerary together for sightseeing and we’ll be heading out either Monday or Tuesday for the first of many trips.
Time to go. Thanks for joining us on our journey. Have a good night, till tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road