Photo Essay:The Blakesburg Fly-In
Antique airplanes—the cream of the crop—fluttered around corn country to celebrate an air mail birthday.
- By airspacemag.com
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 18, 2008
1918 Curtiss JN-4H “Jenny”
Livery: U.S. Army trainer
Tail number 3223
Frank Schelling’s classic JN-4H, which is powered by a Hispano-Suiza engine, is one of only two Hisso Jennies flying today. (When the air mail service began in 1918, U.S. Army major Reuben Fleet told the Curtiss Company to replace the 90-horsepower OX-5 engines in the Army’s JN-4s with the 150-hp Hissos.) Schelling (in white T-shirt) spent 32 years restoring the aircraft, which has won many awards, including 2006 Grand Champion in the Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage International competition. “Making the hand-woven ferrules and ends for the brace wires is very labor-intensive,” Schelling says. “The cable ends are hand-wrapped with a five-tuck Navy splice, as per the originals. You always get pricked with the cable strands as you weave them together.” He keeps the Jenny at the Schellville Aerodrome near Sonoma, California. The airplane flew the 2008 mail run from Blakesburg to Ottumwa and back on August 27, 29, and 30.