Photo # 16 --
This is a Curtiss Carrier Pigeon with interchangeable
ailerons, rudder and flipper, droppable fuel tank and
interchangeable upper and lower wing panels. It carried
a mail load of 1,000 pounds; span 41 feet, 11 inches; length
28 feet, 9 inches; height, 12 feet, 1 inch; speed 126 mph; approximate
range 725 miles; engine Liberty 12 cylinder, 400 hp.
Question: Is this the same plane or a later
production model of the Curtiss two-seat HA "Dunkirk" fighter
floatplane? The HA has a negative dihedral of the
lower wing while the upper wing is positive. What is the
possible advantage of this configuration? Could the interchangeable
upper and lower wings be the reason for the opposing dihedrals
on the HA?
Answer: Not the same plane or even a later production
Dunkirk, however the aircraft are related by airmail service.
The Dunkirk was a smaller and lighter floatplane equipped aircraft
(26 ft span, 30 ft 9 in length, this was longer than the Carrier
Pigeon however, empty wt of 2449 lp as opposed to the
Carrier Pigeons 3603 lbs. How they relate in the airmail
service is simply that the single-bay Dunkirk was equipped with
wheeled gear in 1919 and sold to the Post Office. Later,
3 two-bay Dunkirks were also sold to the Post Office.
It's quite possible that this experience influenced Curtiss's
design for the Carrier Pigeon. My reference is Curtiss
Aircraft, 1907-1947, by Peter M. Bowers, published by Conway
Maritime Press Ltd. UK. The presumption of design influence
is my own.
I haven't been able to locate any reason for
the dihedral/anhedral on the main wings. The only reference
is that after the first two HA's crashed the third prototype
reverted to upper and lower wings with no dihedral/anhedral.
Please e-mail answer to
Air Mail Pioneers.