Curtiss CT

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Curtiss CT-1
The CT-1 at the Anacostia Navy Yard
Role Torpedo Bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Designer Wilbur Gilmore
First flight 9 May 1921
Number built 1

The Curtiss CT-1 model 24, a twin engine torpedo bomber mounted on floats, was first flown in 1921.[1]


The US Navy was looking for a new torpedo bomber following a demonstration of sinking a battleship with an aircraft. A specification was announced requiring a twin floatplane that could be sled launched and crane recovered at sea. The aircraft had a maximum span of 65 feet (20 m) which could be broken down into 25 feet (7.6 m) sections for shipboard storage.[2] Prototypes of the Curtiss CT-1, Stout ST-1, Fokker FT-1 and Blackburn Swift F were evaluated at the Annacostia Naval Yard.[3] Curtiss won an initial contract to build nine torpedo bombers on June 30, 1920, but the order was canceled and only one acceptance prototype was built. The aircraft was constructed in Rockaway, New York.[4]


The aircraft had twin booms, twin tails, twin floats and a single cockpit. A turret was placed high above and behind the pilot to have a full 360 degree firing arc. The thick airfoil wings were cantilevered without struts or wires using three spars.[5] The fuselage was made of traditional welded tube frame with the-then new technology of an aluminum skin. The rest of the aircraft was of welded tube with a fabric covering. The engine nacelles were deeply recessed into the wings. Two under-wing Lamblin radiators provided cooling. Engine stands were located for mechanics to work on the aircraft. Single-engine operation resulted in a height loss of 100 ft per minute.[6][7]

Operational history

The first water taxi tests were performed by Bert Acosta on 2 May 1921 at NAS Rockaway, resulting in larger rudders added for stability. The sheet metal formed motor mounts and tail structure required reinforcement. The engines overheated, and could önly fly for 20 minutes at a time.[8]

The aircraft was demonstrated to the US Navy at the Annacostia Naval Yard and at the war college at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. The aircraft was given the serial number A-5890, and the Navy designation CT-1, for "Curtiss" "Torpedo bomber (number one)"-"variant one".[9]

Specifications Curtiss CT-1

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 Pilot, Assistant Pilot, Gunner
  • Length: 52 ft (16 m)
  • Wingspan: 65 ft (20 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 5 in (4.70 m)
  • Airfoil: Curtiss C-32
  • Gross weight: 11,208 lb (5,084 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Curtiss D-12 , 350 hp (260 kW) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed


  • Cruise speed: 93 kn; 172 km/h (107 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 5,300 ft (1,600 m)

See also

  • List of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft


  1. Gordon Swanborough, Peter M. Bowers. United States navy aircraft since 1911. 
  2. "Pushing the state of the art The Curtiss CT". October 1995. 
  3. René J. Francillon. McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920. 
  4. Proceedings, Volume 48, Part 2 By United States Naval Institute. p. 1062. 
  6. Naval Institute proceedings, Volume 48. p. 665. 
  7. "The Curtiss Twin-Engined Torpedo Seaplane" FLIGHT, March 2, 1922, photo and texts
  8. "Pushing the state of the art The Curtiss CT". October 1995. 
  9. René J. Francillon. McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920. 

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