1911 Curtiss-Ely Pusher Replica is First Aircraft Slated for Naval Celebration at EAA AirVenture 2011
November 11, 2010 — A 1911 Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica is the first confirmation in what is expected to be a feature-filled aircraft lineup celebrating the 100th anniversary of naval aviation at EAA AirVenture 2011. “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” will be held July 25-31, 2011, at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
The Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica, built by Bob Coolbaugh (EAA 307903/Vintage 15150) of New Market, Va., with assistance from Andrew King (EAA 275985/Vintage 10739) of Vienna, Va., resembles the one that made the first carrier landing on the deck of the U.S. Navy’s USS Pennsylvania in the San Francisco Bay on January 11, 1911 – beginning the era of naval aviation.
The U.S. Navy will celebrate the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) throughout next year and has designated EAA AirVenture 2011 as a Tier 1 Event.
“This Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica illustrates two key elements that make EAA and AirVenture so special, the premier event to see historic, pioneering aircraft and the dedication shown by two EAA members to recreate history,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. “This Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica is one of many aircraft can look forward to seeing up close as we celebrate the important role aviation has served in the U.S. Navy over the past 100 years.”
The Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica, which took nearly two years to build, is powered by a 125-hp Continental engine turning a Sterba 74x40 propeller. Coolbaugh, a former airline pilot with 24,000 flight hours, plans to fly the Curtiss-Ely Pusher replica to as many as eight designated CONA events in 2011, including AirVenture – the farthest west he would travel.
The aircraft successfully flew for the first time on a grass strip adjacent to Runway 6/24 at the New Market Airport on Oct. 8. By Oct. 14, Coolbaugh and King, an antique and vintage aircraft restorer with nearly 3,000 flight hours logged, combined to make 17 flights, averaging 20-45 minutes in duration.
In addition to naval aviation celebration, the centennial of air mail service is being recognized in 2011, and events at Oshkosh will include that notable anniversary as well.