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Curtiss Robin

Curtiss Robin
A Curtis Robin in the Seattle museum of flight, 2011
Role Touring
Manufacturer Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company
First flight August 7, 1928[1]
Introduction 1928
Status A number still flying[1]
Primary user U. S. Private Owner Market[1]
Number built 769[1]
Unit cost
$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)

The J-1 version was flown by Douglas Corrigan (nicknamed "Wrongway") as well as The Flying Keys.


  • Design 1
  • Operational history 2
  • Variants 3
  • Operators 4
    • Military operators 4.1
  • Survivors 5
  • Specifications (Robin OX-5) 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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.[1] The original landing gear had 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

The aircraft Curtiss Robin "St. Louis" (right) during the record flight July 13–30, 1929, St. Louis, Missouri. Its operators were Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brine. A Flight endurance record of 17 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes was set

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.[2]

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.[3][4]

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).


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.
1929 Curtis Robin C-1 used for the movie 'Pearl'(modified with R-680)
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.
The XC-10 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.


Military operators

 United States


A Curtiss Robin is based at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and in flies weekend airshows.

Specifications (Robin OX-5)

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947 [11]

General characteristics
  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: two 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)


See also

Related development
Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng. (cover).The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft London: Amber Books Ltd., 2002, ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
  2. ^ Bowers 1979, pp. 385–386.
  3. ^ "Curtiss-Robertson Robin C-1". Museum of Flight. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  4. ^ Discoe, Connie Jo. "'News Boy' pilot was aviation pioneer". .McCook Daily Gazette 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Bezmylov, Andrei. "Robin J-1.", 2006. Retrieved: July 16, 2010.
  7. ^ "1929 Curtiss Robin." Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.
  8. ^ "Curtiss Robin B." Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.
  9. ^ "Curtiss-Wright Model B-2 Robin - N50H." EAA AirVenture Museum.
  10. ^ "Curtiss-Robin C2" EAA AirVenture Museum.
  11. ^ Bowers 1979, p. 385.
  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947. London: Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.

External links

  • Virginia Aircraft Museum
  • Information about this flight at the National Air and Space Museum Web Site
  • Curtiss Robin at Museum of Flight
  • A Curtiss Robin is rebuild from an empty frame
  • A brief story of "Wrongway" Corrigan's adventure
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