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Curtiss Hydroaeroplane / C-1 / AB-1




The Curtiss Flying Boat was an early "hydro-aeroplane" or seaplane that was first concept tested by well-known aviator Glenn Curtiss in January 1912 in San Diego. By the end of the same year, Curtiss had built his first successful flying boat at Hammondsport, NY and succeeded in selling the aircraft to the Navy. The Navy first acquired five Curtiss Flying Boats, then an additional 144 for training before the original F type model was supplanted by the MF in 1918.
The C-1, the Navy's first flying boat, was tested at Hammondsport, N.Y., by Lieutenant T. G. Ellyson on 30 November 1912. Its performance, as informally reported by Ellyson, was: "Circular climb, only one complete circle, 1,575 feet in 14 minutes 30 seconds fully loaded. On glide approximately 5.3 to 1. Speed, eight runs over measured mile, 59.4 miles per hour fully loaded. The endurance test was not made, owing to the fact that the weather has not been favorable, and I did not like to delay any longer."
The Curtiss C-1 (changed to AB-1 in 1914) made the first catapult launch by a flying boat in December 1912.
On 27 March 1914 the original designations of aircraft were changed to two letters and a number of which the first letter denoted class, the second type within a class, and the number the order in which aircraft within class were acquired. Four classes were set up; A for all heavier-than-air craft, D for airships or dirigibles, B for balloons and K for Kites. Within the A Class, the letters L, H, B, X and C represented land machines, hydroaeroplanes, flying boats, combination land and water machines, and convertibles respectively. Thus the third hydroaeroplane, formerly A-3, became AH-3, and the first flying boat, formerly C-1, became AB-1.
The first Curtiss Flying Boat acquired by the Navy was designated C-1, before it was changed to AB-1 (A for Curtiss and B for flying boat) as the Navy began to procure aircraft from other corporations. The C-1 was based at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. in 1912 before moving to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.




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