Planes of Fame Air Museum
 
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Curtiss Robin J-1

HISTORY

  • Built by the Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company and introduced in 1928, the Curtiss Robin was a high-wing monoplane with a fabric covered, steel tubing fuselage and a wooden wing. It had one pilot and two passenger seats behind. Shock absorbers on the Early Robins were rubber bungee cords. All versions of the Robin used various engines from 90-185 hp.
  • Variants of the Curtiss Robin were used in a myriad of roles, serving in the United States Army Air Corps, in newspaper delivery to rural areas, in the Paraguayan military as transports, and in Cuba’s national airline. In all, 750 Robins were produced, 40 of which were the Robin J-1 variant.

 

DISTINCTION

  • Planes of Fame Air Museum's 1929 Curtiss Robin J-1 was used by the late Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan for his epic solo flight from Floyd Bennet Field in New York to Dublin, Ireland in 1938.
  • Inspired by Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic, Douglas Corrigan purchased a 1929 Curtiss Robin for $310 in 1933. He repaired the battered airplane as much as possible, replaced its 90hp Curtiss OX-5 engine with a 165hp Wright J-6-5 Whirlwind engine, increased the fuel capacity to 320 gallons, installed a 16-gallon oil tank, named the airplane “Sunshine,” had it registered as NX9243 and applied to the U.S. Bureau of Air Commerce for permission to make a solo flight from New York to Ireland in 1935. However, Corrigan’s application was rejected by the Bureau of Air Commerce because his airplane was considered to be unsuitable for the flight.
  • Nevertheless, on July 9, 1938 Corrigan flew “Sunshine” on a solo, non-stop flight from California to New York’s Floyd Bennet Field in 27 hours. On July 19, 1938 he supposedly took off in “Sunshine” for a return flight to Long Beach, California, but wound up instead in Dublin, Ireland after a 28-hour and 13-minute flight. According to Corrigan, heavy clouds and a navigation error sent him off in the wrong direction. His airplane had no radio, and was only equipped with a basic compass. Naturally, there was some skepticism about Corrigan’s story. Nevertheless, now nicknamed “Wrong Way Corrigan,” he returned to a hero’s welcome in the United States and ticker tape parades in New York and Chicago.
  • Corrigan’s son, Harry Corrigan, decided that it should find a more fitting home in a museum. Eventually, Chuck Lowry, a former North American Aviation engineering manager put him in touch with Planes of Fame. “Sunshine” was trucked to the Planes of Fame Air Museum in October 2019 in a disassembled state. The fuselage was put on temporary display in October 2019. The long-term plan is to eventually restore the entire airplane to static display condition.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Status: Static Display
Manufacturer: Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company
Year: 1929
Model: J-1
Registration Number: NX9243
Serial Number: 
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 2,360 lb.
Span: 41 ft. 0 in.
Length: 25 ft. 6 in.
Height: 8 ft. 0 in.
Maximum Speed: 118 mph
Cruise Speed: 100 mph
Rate of Climb: 750 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 × 165 hp Wright J-6-5 Whirlwind radial piston engine
Range: 338 mi
Service Ceiling: 13,000 ft.
Armament: None

 

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