The U.S. Navy-Curtiss Flying Boat NC-4: An Account of the First Transatlantic Flight

Author(s): Richard V. Simpson 

ISBN: 9781625450098
$18.00 $25.00
Of the four Navy-Curtiss designed and built flying boats, only the NC-4, after many mechanical failures, was the only plane to complete its mission.
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  • Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this fascinating work describes an early part of aviation history

  • Original analysis with some startling conclusions

  • Profusely illustrated with many rare and unpublished photographs

When human’s learned, in 1903, they could cruise over land in a heavier than air flying machine, they never dreamed of using an advanced model of the aeroplane as an instrument of war. The novelty of flying intrigued a young Glenn H. Curtiss – an inventor obsessed with speed. In the decade before the First World War, Curtiss, a dedicated tinkerer, developed speedy float planes and flying boats, which came to the attention of the U.S. Navy.

During the run-up to America’s involvement in the European war, ships carrying supplies to allies were being destroyed by the German U-boats. It was because of these losses of men and material that Navy brass decided a long-range bomber should be developed to counter the German submarine menace. It was then Glenn Curtiss was contracted to draw plans for a large flying boat capable of flying across the Atlantic. Initially, four flying boats were built, but by this time the war had ended and the mission of the flying boats no longer existed. However, America decided to send its new giant flying machines across the Atlantic as a show of Yankee know-how.

BOOK ISBN 9781625450098
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 128 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 October 2016
ILLUSTRATIONS 66 black-and-white illustrations



Richard V. Simpson is a native Rhode Islander who has always lived within walking distance to Narragansett Bay, first in the Edgewood section of Cranston and then in Bristol, where he has lived since 1960. A graphic designer by trade, he worked in advertising, printing, display, and textile design studios. After retiring in 1996 from a twentynine-year federal civil service career with the U.S. Navy Supply Center and Naval Undersea Warfare Center, he began a second career as an author of books on subjects of historical interest in Rhode Island’s East Bay with his principal focus on Bristol. Beginning in 1985, Richard acted as a contributing editor for the national monthly Antiques & Collecting Magazine in which eighty-five of his articles have appeared.

His 1989 Independence Day: How the Day is Celebrated in Bristol, Rhode Island is the singular authoritative book on the subject; his many anecdotal Fourth of July articles have appeared in the local Bristol Phoenix and the Providence Journal. His history of Bristol’s Independence Day celebration is the source of a story in the July 1989 Yankee Magazine and July 4, 2010 issue of Parade Magazine.