Glenn Curtiss
Father of Naval Aviation

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The North Island era: Birth of naval aviation

The single pontoon

A Curtiss plane with a single pontoon.

A Curtiss hydroplane with a single pontoon. A larger picture and more information are available (80k).

After Curtiss experimented with two floats, he switched to a single long narrow pontoon. It was 12 feet long, two feet wide, and one foot deep. 

He also attached angled slats at the wing tips. As the plane built speed, they would keep the wing tips from the water. Curtiss fastened motorcycle inner tubes to the top of the slats to provide flotation at low speeds and at rest. Later, he used metal tanks, at first triangular and later tubular.


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