Photo courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Crane/Army
A WWI-era Curtiss JN-4-single engine biplane replica crashed into a field after losing power and sustained heavy damage.
Bowling Green Daily News reports that the plane made an emergency landing at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky on Monday evening. century-old plane lost power at 1,500 feet and the pilot performed a “controlled crash” into an open field at the training center. Both pilots walked away unharmed but the aircraft had significant damage to its wings and fuselage.
The plane is better known as “Jenny” and is one of six remaining Curtis JN-4 planes in the world, according to Bowling Green Daily News. This Jenny was the only model certified for coast-to-coast flight and was on its final leg to Madisonville, Kentucky when its engine lost power. The pilot told the BG Daily News they were less than 15 minutes after takeoff when the engine stopped.
Photo of a Jenny, from the National Air and Space Museum
The same plane was involved in a 2017 crash at a golf course, with some damage to the plane and minor injuries to the pilot. The plane was restored by a nonprofit volunteer organization called Friends of Jenny and flying again in 2018.
According to the National Air and Space Museum, the Curtis JN-4 appeared in 1917 as a trainer for the U.S. Air Service in WWI. The Jenny also had a role as a barnstorming and mail-carrying plan in the 1920s. A surplus of Jennys hit the U.S. after 1918 and it became a popular plane due to its affordability and versatility. Jenny became an icon of the barnstorming era.
The Jenny is a single-engine, two-seat U.S.-built plane. The Kentucky replica was reportedly a home-built Curtis JN-4 manufactured in 2013. The plane had recently been to an airshow in Indiana. Military Times reports that the owner of the plane, Dorian Walker, was one of the pilots in the crash. He was not flying at the time of the crash, but his wife Elaine said this might be the end of his biplane flying days.
“Dorian is hopeful that if someone wants to restore it, it would be quite feasible to be easily restored to static display,” Elaine Walker told the BG Daily News. “To restore it to fly again would be a little more complex.”