Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Most Famous Curtiss Robin

Some say that NR59H "The St Louis Robin" is the most famous Curtiss Robin of all time.  The 1929 endurance record setting aircraft caught the attention of the nation as Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brine shattered all previous air-to-air refueled endurance flight records. This fame is now perhaps debatable as other Robins came along afterward and certainly made their mark on aviation history.  There was Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan's Robin, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean. And there was the "Greater St. Louis" Robin, in which Jackson and O'Brine several years later eclipsed the St Louis Robin's endurance record. And then there's "Ole Miss", a Curtiss Robin which the Key brothers kept aloft for more than 27 days (653 hours, 34 minutes).  That Robin now hangs from the ceiling of the Smithsonian Museum.  Several Curtiss Robins achieved great notoriety... a testament to it's sound design.  For many this is what attracts them to these lovely birds.

Pick one you like... but there's no question that owner, Joe Earle's pride and joy may very well be the prettiest Curtiss Robin around.

Photos with permission of photographer Fred Miller,
 See more of Fred's beautiful photography at

Here is a really nice video interview with Joe Earle relaying the 40+ year history that his family has owned this Robin. 

Joe Erale discusses the restoration of the Curtiss Robin known as the "St. Louis Robin." This historic aircraft set the world's flight endurance record on July 31,1929, staying aloft for 421 hours and 21 minutes. The "St. Louis Robin" was refueled 48 times while in the air, burning 3,500 gallons fo gasoline and 158 gallons of oil over the 17-1/2 days it was aloft. Dale (Red) Jackson and Forest O'Brine took turns piloting the aircraft. Read more about the record breaking flight and see photos of the aircraft as it is today, fully restored at the Bayport Aerodrome in NY, in Issue #96 of SKYWAYS: The Journal of the Airplane 1920-1940. Visit for more information.

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