|A Curtis Robin in the Seattle museum of flight, 2011|
|Manufacturer||Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company|
|First flight||August 7, 1928|
|Status||A number still flying|
|Primary user||U. S. Private Owner Market|
$7,500 U.S. Dollars (1938)
The Curtiss Robin, introduced in 1928, was a high-wing monoplane with a 90 hp (67 kW) V8 OX-5 8-cylinder engine built by the Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company. It was later fitted with the more powerful Challenger engine, which developed between 170 and 185 hp (127 and 138 kW). NOTE: Model B (90 hp/67 kW Curtiss OX-5 engine), Model C-1 (185 hp/138 kW Curtiss Challenger engine), and Model J-1 (165 hp/123 kW Wright J-6 Whirlwind 5 engine)
Design[edit | edit source]
The Robin, a workmanlike cabin monoplane had a wooden wing and steel tubing fuselage. The cabin accommodated three persons; two passengers were seated side-by-side behind the pilot. Early Robins were distinguished by large flat fairings over the parallel diagonal wing bracing struts; the fairings were abandoned on later versions, having been found to be ineffective in creating lift. The original landing gear were bungee rubber cord shock absorbers, later replaced by an oleo-pneumatic system; a number of Robins had twin floats added. The plane's payload with 50 gal (189 l) of fuel was 452 lb (205 kg); it had a cruising speed of 102 mph (164 km/h), a landing speed of 48 mph (77 km/h), a gas capacity of 50 gal/189 l (25 gal/95 l in each wing tank), its oil capacity was 5 US gal (19 l; 4 imp gal). The aircraft's price at the factory field was $7,500.
Operational history[edit | edit source]
A single modified Robin (with a 110 hp (82 kW) Warner R-420-1) was used by the United States Army Air Corps, and designated the XC-10. This aircraft was used in a test program for radio-controlled (and unmanned) flight.
Cuba's national airline, Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación Curtiss, was founded in 1929 with Curtiss Aircraft serving as its co-founder and major investor. The airline's first aircraft was a Curtiss Robin; it flew domestic routes as a mail and passenger transport.
From September 1929 to May 1930, a Robin C-1 was used to deliver the McCook, Nebraska Daily Gazette to communities in rural Nebraska and Kansas. The airplane flew a nonstop route of 380 miles (610 km) daily, dropping bundles of newspapers from a height of 500 feet (150 m) to local carriers.
A Curtiss Robin C was purchased by the Paraguayan government in 1932 for the Transport Squadron of its Air Arm. It was intensively used as a VIP transport plane and air ambulance during the Chaco War (1923–1935).
Variants[edit | edit source]
- Challenger Robin
- An early version of the Robin, powered by a 165 hp (123 kW) Curtiss Challenger radial piston engine.
- Comet Robin
- One Robin was converted by its owner in 1937, it was fitted with a 150 hp (112 kW) Comet radial piston engine.
- Robin B
- A three-seat cabin monoplane, fitted with wheel breaks and a steerable tailwheel; about 325 were built.
- Robin B-2
- This was a three-seat cabin monoplane, powered by a number of Wright piston engines.
- Robin C
- Three-seat cabin monoplane, powered by a 185 hp (138 kW) Curtiss Challenger radial piston engine; about 50 built.
- Robin C-1
- An improved version of the Robin C, powered by a Curtiss Challenger radial piston engine; over 200 built.
- Robin C-2
- A long-range version fitted with an extra fuel tank, it was powered by a 170-hp (127 kW) Curtiss Challenger radial piston engine; six built.
- Robin 4C
- The four-seat version, powered by a Curtiss Challenger radial piston engine; one built.
- Robin 4C-1
- Three-seat version with an enlarged forward fuselage section; three built.
- Robin 4C-1A
- Another four-seat version with an enlarged forward fuselage section; 11 built.
- Robin CR
- One-off experimental version, fitted with a 120 hp (90 kW) Curtiss Crusader engine; one built.
- Robin J-1
- It was powered by a 165 hp (123 kW) Wright Whirlwind J-6-5 radial piston engine; about 40 built.
- Robin J-2
- A long-range version, fitted with an extra fuel tank; two built.
- Robin M
- The Robin B aircraft, fitted with the 115 hp (86 kW) V-502 engine.
- Robin W
- It was powered by a 110 hp (32 kW) Warner Scarab radial piston engine. Only a small number were built in 1930.
- One Robin W was sold to the United States Army Air Corps, it was converted into an unmanned pilotless radio-controlled test aircraft.
Operators[edit | edit source]
Military operators[edit | edit source]
- United States
Survivors[edit | edit source]
- Kermit Weeks has restored a Curtiss Robin to flying status and it is on display at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida.
- An apparently airworthy Robin J-1, registered VH-JUV, is at Gawler, South Australia.
- Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum has a OX-5 powered Robin.
- Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum has a Continental R670 powered Robin.
- EAA AirVenture Museum has a V-502 powered B-2 
- Western North Carolina Air Museum has a Continental R-670 powered Robin on display
Specifications (Robin OX-5)[edit | edit source]
Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947 
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 2 passengers
- Length: 25 ft 8½ in (7.83 m)
- Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.49 m)
- Height: 7 ft 9½ in (2.37 m)
- Wing area: 223 ft² (20.71 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,472 lb (668 kg)
- Loaded weight: 2,440 lb (1,107 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss OX-5 liquid-cooled V-8, 90 hp (67 kW)
- Maximum speed: 100.5 mph (87 knots, 135 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 84 mph (73 knots, 135 km/h)
- Range: 480 mi (432 nmi, 772 km)
- Service ceiling: 10,200 ft (3,109 m)
- Rate of climb: 400 ft/min (2.0 m/s)
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft (cover). London: Amber Books Ltd., 2002, ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
- Bowers 1979, pp. 385–386.
- "Curtiss-Robertson Robin C-1". Museum of Flight. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Discoe, Connie Jo. "'News Boy' pilot was aviation pioneer". McCook Daily Gazette. 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Bezmylov, Andrei. "Robin J-1." airliners.net, 2006. Retrieved: July 16, 2010.
- "1929 Curtiss Robin." Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.
- "Curtiss Robin B." Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.
- "Curtiss-Wright Model B-2 Robin - N50H." EAA AirVenture Museum.
- Bowers 1979, p. 385.
- Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947. London: Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Curtiss Robin.|
- Virginia Aircraft Museum
- Information about this flight at the National Air and Space Museum Web Site
- Curtiss Robin at Museum of Flight
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