W. Starling Burgess Company Ltd. (1904-1910) Boston, then Salem, and finally Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Burgess Company and Curtis (1910-1914) Marblehead (June 13, 1910)
The Burgess Company (1914-1916) Marblehead (January, 1914)
The Burgess Company (a subsidiary of Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation) (February 10, 1916)
William Starling Burgess, President
Greeley Stevenson Curtis, VP & Treasurer
Alexander L. Pfitzner, Assistant Superintendent
Frank H. Russell, General Manager
James W. Davis, Chief Engineer
E. J. Barnard, Production Manager
The Burgess Aviators:
William M. Hilliard
Henry Roy Waite
John G. Stratton
W. Elwood Doherty
Phillips W. Page
Howard W. Gill
Samuel S. Pearce
Richard F. Kormann
Prof. Wallace Clement Sabine 1908-1909
Prof. Ira Nelson Hollis 1908-1917
Prof. Jerome C. Hunsaker 1914-1917
Augustus Moore Herring 1909-1910
Principal Office and Factory #1–Redstone Lane, off Gregory St. Marblehead (1909-1919).
Factory#2 built by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. for the Burgess Co. in February 1916 at Little Harbor, off Orne St. Marblehead (1916-1919)
Flight Testing: April-August 1910 at Plum Island, Newbury; November-1910-January 1911 at Moulton’s Farm, Ipswich,
Spring, 1911 at Hathaway’s Farm, Marblehead; Spring, 1911 at Mineola, NY; Fall, 1911-1918 hydro-aeroplane tests on Marblehead Harbor, 1912-1917 at Harvard Aviation Field, Squantum; 1913-1916 at Saugus Racetrack Airfield. Saugus.
Burgess Aviation Schools: Squantum, Quincy MA; Mineola, New York; San Diego, Callifornia; Hydro-aeroplanes at Marblehead and Palm Beach, FL.
Model A1 " Flying Fish”
Herring-Burgess Model A #1 “Flying Fish”, a pusher biplane with a central skid and skids under each wingtip, built in Factory #1, Marblehead.
Number built: 5 (Dec. 1909-May 1910) Single place, Curtiss 25 hp. 4cyl water-cooled engine with a Herring direct drive, four bladed propeller, Bosch ignition and equipped with an El Arco radiator. Span: 26’9” Wing Area: 292sq.ft. Height: 9’8” Length 33’, Chord 5’6” Gap: 4’4” Weight: 360-400 lbs. Surfaces: covered with Naiad Silk. Six vertical fins on upper wing for lateral stability. Displayed at the Boston Aerial Exposition February 20- 26, 1910--First Flight 2/28/1910 by Augustus Herring on the ice at Chebacco Lake, Hamilton, MA. Ordered at the Boston Aerial Exposition by carousel and amusement park manufacturer Charles W. Parker of Abilene and Leavenworth Kansas, who agreed to pay $5,000. for the “Flying Fish” after its first flight. The Burgess Company shipped the aeroplane to Kansas on March 15, 1910. Model A #1 was the first Burgess aeroplane, it made the first flight in New England and was the first commercial aeroplane built and sold in New England.
Aircraft lifting surfaces and the supporting structure were designed by William Starling Burgess; Augustus Herring provided the Curtiss 25 hp. engine, the pitch and rudder control systems and the design for the six stabilizing fins placed on the top wing surface for lateral control. Modifications were made to the Model A #1 control systems based on the first flight experience before the Model A #1 was shipped to Mr. Parker in Kansas.
Model A2 " Flying Fish”
Herring-Burgess Model A #2 “Flying Fish” pusher biplane with central and wing tip skids. Completed in March 1910 and transported to Plum Island, Newbury, MA April 9, 1910 onboard the Burgess steam yacht The Ox. First Flights April 17, 1910 at the Plum Island Aviation Grounds by Augustus Herring his second solo, and by Starling Burgess in his first solo flight.
Single place, Curtiss 25 hp. 4cyl. water-cooled engine with a Herring direct drive, four bladed propeller, ignition by Bosch and equipped with an El Arco radiator. Span: 26’9”, Wing Area 292 sq.ft., Height: 9’8”, Length 33’, Chord 5’6”, Gap: 4’, Weight: 400 lbs. Surfaces: covered with Naiad silk. This Model A had eight stabilizing fins on the upper wing; two fins were added to the six fins used in the initial design. Model A #2 was the Burgess Company test and flight training aeroplane at Plum Island and as such was modified extensively April Through August 1910. One notable experiment was with the Pfitzner equalizers - sliding wing panels used in flight extending the wing span and lift on one wing, while decreasing lift on the opposite wing by retracting a outward wing panel and hopefully banking and turning the aircraft. This company aircraft was flown in its various configurations by a number of amateur aviators at Plum Island including; Herring, Burgess, Greely Curtis, Norman Prince, William Hilliard, Walter Bowman, Alexander Pfitzner and John Stratton.
Model A3 " Flying Fish”
Herring-Burgess Model A #3 “Flying Fish”, pusher biplane with wheels replacing skids. Built in April 1910, delivered to Plum Island in May 1910,
First Flight by William H. Hilliard on 5/14/1910; Purchased for $5,000 by the Arrowplane Manufacturing Co. of Boston founded by Joseph Shoemaker.
Single place, Curtiss 25 hp. 4cyl. water--cooled engine with a Herring direct drive, four bladed propeller, ignition by Bosch and an El Arco radiator.
Span: 26’9”, Wing Area: 292 sq.ft., Height: 9’8”, Length 33’, Chord 5’6”, Gap: 4’, Weight: 400 lbs. Surfaces: covered with Naiad silk.
This Model A was built with inter-wing ailerons and Farman type flaps. New controls were installed for the aviator that became the Burgess standard in the aircraft to follow: a gate control for elevator and ailerons, with a foot yoke for rudder control. (This is the first model built without the stabilizer fins on the upper wing.) This Model A #3 was also exhibited and flown by Bill Hilliard in the Harvard Boston Aero Meet as was the Burgess Model B. Moved to the Saugus Racetrack Airfield after the air meet at Squantum this Model A #3 aircraft was, over the next two years, extensively modified and flight tested by Shoemaker and his assistant Fred Chanonhouse at Saugus. Shoemaker left Boston a few years later and returned to NJ and stored this aeroplane away at his farm and then after his death the much modified Model A #3 was donated to the National Air and Space Museum where it remains in storage to this day. Two additional Herring –Burgess Model A #3 type aeroplanes were sold in 1910 to Louis Mitchell from Texas, owner of the American Hippodrome Co. and one was sold to a T. Shelton.
Number of Model A’s built: 5 (4 were sold, 1 was used as a company test aeroplane and then used in static displays in aeronautical exhibitions.)
Burgess Company and Curtis Model B- pusher biplane equipped with central skids or wheels. Number Built-1(June 1910), Designed by W. Starling Burgess with standard gate and foot yoke controls. Lateral balance with ailerons, equipped with wheels or skids. First flight by William M. Hilliard at Plum Island in August 1910. Flown by both Starling Burgess and Bill Hilliard at the Harvard-Boston Aero Meet in September 1910.
Single place, Curtiss 25 hp. 4cyl.water-cooled engine with Burgess 6’6” 2 bladed propeller and a Bosch Magneto. Span: 28’9”, Length: 33’4”, Chord: 5’6”, Wing Area 286 sq.ft., Empty Weight: 450lbs. Gross weight: 594lbs. Note: At the Harvard-Boston Aero Meet the Model B used a Hendee Indian Aeromotor V-8 65 hp. water-cooled engine with a Burgess two bladed 9’ propeller turning at 1,400 rpm. List price: $5,000. (Burgess employees believe that this aeroplane was purchased around this time in the fall of 1910 by Greeley Curtis.)
Burgess Company and Curtis Model C –pusher biplane with two central skids or a two wheel undercarriage. Number built- 1 (Oct/Nov 1910)
Delivered and flown in December 1910 at Moulton’s Farm, Ipswich by William M. Hilliard. Designed for student flyers and priced at $4,500.
Single place, Clement-Bayard 2cyl. 30hp., water-cooled engine with Bosch magneto and a Burgess two bladed 6’6”propeller (1250rpm) Equipped with two wheels & skids. Span: 32’ Wing Area: 290sq.ft., Length: 31’ Chord: 4’8” tail span 6’ 30” Weight: 400-450lbs. Equipped with interplane ailerons and Greely Curtis deflectors.
Burgess Company and Curtis Model D -Farman type pusher biplane with four wheels or pair of skids. Number built -1 (Oct/ Nov 1910)
Delivered to Moulton’s Farm, Ipswich for first flight by William M. Hilliard on 11/27/1910. Testing continued into 1911 with up to two passengers along for the ride. Two place, with Gnome 50hp. 7 cyl. rotary engine or a Hendee Indian Aeromotor V-8, 65hp. water-cooled engine with Burgess 8’ propeller, Surfaces covered with Wilson & Silsby sailcloth. Span: 36’ Wing Area 536sq.ft. Height: 10’6” Length: 41’ Chord: 6’ Gap: 6’ Weight empty: 700lbs. The model D was equipped with four wheels and two skids. Burgess gate control with Farman type, downward only ailerons, with Greeley Curtis deflectors. These patented “flaps” on the leading edge of the upper wing, would upon moving the aileron down on one side, cause the deflector on the opposite wing to rise equalize the drag. Foot pedals controlled the rudder. Priced at $7500. with the Gnome, and $5,500. with the Hendee rotary engine.
Shipped to Mineola, NY in March 1911 for the opening of the Burgess Aviation School-William M. Hilliard instructing. On a flight on April 17, 1911 Hilliard and Leo Stevens the famed balloonist, crashed during a training flight in the sole Model D and were not seriously injured but the aircraft was totaled. It was not rebuilt.
Burgess Company and Curtis Model E – Farman type pusher biplane, two wheeled landing gear, two central skids. Number built-7 Sept.1910/ Feb 1911
Designed by W. Starling Burgess and built at Marblehead to the specifications by Claude Grahame White. List Price $7,500. First flight at Moulton’s Farm, Ipswich; Delivered to Hendon, England; the first flight was made there in February 1911and the Model E was named the “Grahame-Baby”.
One and two place (with wing extensions used for passenger flights), powered by either a Gnome 50hp. or 70hp. rotary engine with Chauviere 2 or 4 blade 7’ 8” propellers. Equipped with a Mea magneto These aircraft were later modified at Hendon and most had nacelles added for pilot protection.
Span: 27’ without and 36’10” with extensions, Wing area: 235sq.ft. Height: 7’10”, Gap: 4’10” Empty weight: 420lbs. Gross weight: 655lbs. Max. Speed 55mph., Wings and other surface fabric: Wilson and Silsby sailcloth, Control system: Burgess gate control operating front and rear elevators, and ailerons and Greely Curtis Deflectors.
Burgess-Wright Model F
Burgess Company and Curtis - Burgess-Wright Model F –Wright Model B type, a twin pusher biplane built under license. Built-Feb/April 1911.
First Flight: April 12, 1911 at Mineola, NY by W. Starling Burgess. Estimated total Model F production- 60; (27 land versions were built and sold before first hydro-aeroplane version of the Model F (Burgess Serial # 28) was built and flown on October 25, 1911. Number of hydros built: 25?)
Prices: $5000 (add $500 for hydro) (add $2,500 with Gnome engine). Modified from original Wright design by replacing ribs with stronger, larger and additional ribs and strengthening the wire bracing, all changes increasing the weight of the aircraft. Assembly and breakdown of the Model F was also improved over the Wright Model B according to aviators who were familiar with both aeroplanes. (i.e. Atwood, Waite, Hamilton, Sopwith).
Two place, with a Wright 4cyl. 35hp. Optional engines: Sturtevant D-4 4 cyl. water-cooled, in line, 46 hp. engine, Kirkham 6 cyl. 50 hp. and the Gnome 7 cyl.50 hp. (Burgess Company rated the Sturtevant D-4 at 46 hp. over the Wright 4cyl.at 35hp.on the basis of reliability.)
Span: 39’6”, Height: 8’, Chord: 6’3”, Length: 29’6” Elevator: 15’ x 3’, Gross Weight: 1270-1379 lbs. Maximum Speed: 43 mph. Equipped with standard Wright Controls with two hand levers and a foot throttle for the engine. One lever for wing warping linked to rear rudders the second for pitch control connected to the rear elevator. Levers and foot throttle provided for the aviator and passenger.
Military Sales: 1 Model F land type to the U.S. Army powered with the Sturtevant D-4 4 cyl. water-cooled, in line, 46 hp. engine, Delivered to College Park, MD on October 10, 1911; moved to Augusta, GA Winter 1911-1912; to College Park, MD Spring 1912; Texas City, TX early 1913; San Diego, CA Early Summer 1913.Taken out of service, with all of the Army pusher type biplanes on Feb. 24, 1914.
U.S. Army SC#-5 (Burgess Serial # 25)
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model-G -Tractor biplane design for a reported U.S. Army requirement for a Military Tractor training aircraft. W. Starling Burgess prepared a preliminary design for a two place Burgess land and water capable tractor aeroplane in late 1911. Greely Curtis, in a newspaper interview February 16, 1912, reported that the Company had worked on a design for a tractor training aircraft and was currently discussing the project with the U.S. Government. (Model G designed not built, see Model H )
Burgess-Wright Model H
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model-H –Military Tractor biplane, designed with wheeled landing gear / twin float option. Ordered by U.S. Army Feb. 10, 1912, Number built- 6, First Model H delivered July 27, 1912. SC #9 was first tractor and first aeroplane with a fuselage purchased by the U.S. Army. Price: $7,500 ea. Two place, powered by a Renault V-8, 70hp. engine, equipped with a radio transmitter and receiver with receiving/sending antennae installed in the wing structure. Span: 34’6”, Length: 27’9”, Weight: 2300lbs. Low Speed: 38-42 mph. Max. Speed: 58-72mph.Climb Rate: 180-320 fpm. This first military tractor was accepted at and flown from Marblehead by Lt. Hap Arnold, it landed at Plymouth MA for repairs, next day on a water takeoff the aircraft stalled at low altitude and was severely damaged. The aircraft was repaired locally and subsequently shipped to the Army Field at College Park, MD. All other aircraft were shipped to the Army airfield at San Diego, CA without incident. Grover Loening, the U.S. Army resident aeronautical engineer at that field subsequently modified SC# 24 and 28 and then modified the other Model H tractors after the successful test flights of SC #24. (Burgess Serial #s H-34, H-40 /H-44)
U.S. Army Serial #s: SC 9, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
Burgess-Wright Model I Scout
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model-I Scout –Twin pusher hydro design was offered to the U.S. Army to meet the specifications for a coastal reconnaissance aeroplane. Burgess was given that order June 19, 1912. Number Built-1, First Flight Jan. 1, 1913, Delivered to U.S. Army Jan. 20, 1913. Two place tandem, powered by a Sturtevant D-6 6cyl. water-cooled 60-69 hp. engine with two (G.S.Curtis designed) contra rotating Burgess 9’ propellers.
Span: 39’9” Length: 31’9” Gross Weight: 2,038lbs. Maximum Speed: 59.2mph. Climb Rate: 210fpm. with 500lbs. payload; Equipped with twin floats.
Price: $6,150. Army flight instruction at Palm Beach, FL by Frank Coffyn, Model I was then shipped to Manila, Philippine Islands for scouting duty based at Corregidor. Served with the U.S. Army Coast Artillery units based in and around Manila Bay. Model I Scout was equipped for two way radio communications, the first such operational deployment in the U.S. Army. This aircraft successfully accomplished its operational and training missions until January 12, 1915 when it was destroyed in a non-fatal crash.
U.S. Army SC# 17 (Burgess Serial # I-35)
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model-J-Scout –A Wright Model C type, pusher biplane ordered by the U.S. Army in 1912. Number built: 1
Delivered January 1913. Designed and built to an Army specification which described a Wright Model C type pusher biplane with a modified wing airfoil. Burgess won the contract with a proposal for an essentially stronger, more robust pusher biplane matching those specifications. Two place, powered by a Sturtevant D-4 4cyl. 40hp. water-cooled engine, equipped with standard Wright lever and foot pedal controls. Span 39’8”, Height: 24’ Gross Weight: 1,533lbs. Max. Speed: 45mph.
On March 5, 1913 the Model J Scout SC#18 was assigned to Company A, First Aero Squadron (the first air combat unit in the U.S. Army) at Texas City, TX. The Model J was assigned to Lt. Moss L. Love who had learned to fly in the Philippines. Lt. Love and the Model J were transferred to the Signal Corps Aviation School at North Island in San Diego, CA on June 6, 1913. On September 4, 1913 Love was the tenth Army officer to lose his life in an aeroplane accident when flying the Model J (Wright C Type) SC#18 attempting to qualify for his Military Aviator Rating. He climbed to 2,000 feet and was descending in slow glide downward in a wide turning pattern when at 300 feet he put on power but apparently stalled and dove straight into the ground. This sequence of events was a Wright C characteristic that the Army argued was a fault of the plane; with the Wright Company, who had the most to lose, arguing it was the inadequate aviator training procedures. This and previous similar accidents lead to the elimination of all Wright and Curtiss type pusher aircraft in the U.S. Army. Love Field in Dallas, TX, a World War I airfield, and now a municipal airport was named for Lt. Moss L. Love, U.S.A.
U.S. Army SC#-18 (Burgess Serial # J-36)
Burgess Company and Curtis – Burgess-Gill Hydro –a Model F Hydro was extensively modified by Howard F. Gill and W. Starling Burgess into a twin engined aircraft for entry into a Scientific American's contest to produce and fly the first American twin engine aircraft. Built: 1, April-May 1912, first flights in May 1912, One place, powered by a Wright 4 cyl 30 hp. engine and a Hall Scott 8 cyl. 60 hp. engine. Four 8’6’ propellers (two tractors and two pushers). Propellers that could interchangeably be powered by either or both engines. Span: 39’ Chord: 6’1.5”, Gap 5’ 5.75” Elevator was 15’ x 3” Double rudders 2’3” x2’ 6”. The twin hydro was developed in stages. First, Burgess-Wright Model F biplane wing panels were placed onto a covered fuselage similar to those later used on military tractors. Two floats were added under aircraft and twin rudders and an elevator added in the rear. An aviator’s seat was located further back within the fuselage. Wright two lever controls for elevators, wing warping and rudders were installed.
This initial configuration result in a crash on its first test flight which Gill believed was due to the fuselage covering and some lateral stability issues. This he addressed by removing the fuselage covering and adding vertical stabilizers to the tips of the floats. Gill flew this version successfully on May 23, 1912. Adding the Wright engine behind and in line with the Hall-Scott, the Wright drove the two pusher contra-rotating propellers in tandem with the tractor props in front. The twin hydro completed its series of successful test flights on Marblehead Harbor in May and June 1912 and was in the end the only entry to fly in the July 4, 1912 Scientific American - Gould Contest. The contest was then cancelled because the rules were interpreted by the donor of the $15,000 prize and the magazine that two successful twin engined aeroplanes were required to have a ‘contest”. The Burgess Gill was subsequently dismantled at Marblehead that summer of 1912 and it engines, props and parts were recycled at the Burgess and Curtis Company. (A few month’s later on September 14, 1912, Howard Gill was killed in a mid air collision during a pylon air race at the Chicago Air Meet at Cicero Field, IL.)
Gordon Bennett Racer
Burgess Company and Curtis –Gordon Bennett Racer –Monoplane Racer built for The Cup Defenders Syndicate, Chicago, IL for its defense of the American title to the Gordon Bennett Cup Race. With the race scheduled for September 9, 1912 and a lack of potential contenders from the United States Norman Prince asked his friend W. Starling Burgess to consider submitting a design to Charles Dickenson the Chairman of the Chicago group that was hosting the air race and encouraging American participation. The discussion on Burgess design-build project for the Bennett Cup Racer was initiated in early June 1912 and the order with Burgess placed in early July. The company agreed to design and built in six weeks time a monoplane racer which would use the Syndicate’s engine which it had ordered from France. Gordon Bennett Racer was delivered on schedule on August 24, 1912 to Clearing, IL the site of the Gordon Bennett World’s Championship Aeroplane Race.
One place monoplane powered by a Gnome 14 cyl. 160 hp. engine (Cost-$8,500), Propeller: 8’2.5” Integrale, Weight: 475lbs. with an 8’2.5” propeller, Monoplane price: $17,500. Span: 29’3”, Wing Area: 128 sq. ft., Wing Loading: 8.9lbs. Length: 24’3”, Chord 5’ Weight: Empty-755lbs. Gross- 1,135lbs. Fabric covering: #10 Goodyear, Structural Analysis: Stress Safety Factor of 5 (tested at MIT).
The aircraft was not test flown by the Burgess Company; flight testing was to take place at the airfield at Clearing, IL. From the time it arrived, there was both good comments and criticism on the Racer’s design and appearance. Aviator after aviator declined to fly the Racer yet others who were interested were not asked. Some aviators suggested they would fly it if; in Glenn Martin’s case, he wanted the wings reduced in size and the Wright type control system replaced. The Burgess Company with the Syndicate’s approval constructed the new wing panels and made other recommended changes but it still wasn’t flown. In the end the aviators from France dominated the Race and the Cup went back to France along with the Syndicate’s 160 hp. Gnome. The Gordon Bennett Racer was never flown and was subsequently stored in an open junk yard in Chicago and then moved to an inside storage location somewhere in that area. As reported in correspondence circa 1980, what remains in storage includes the single fuselage and multiple sets of wing panels, rudders, control surfaces and other hardware, wires and metal parts which the Burgess Company brought to the race site or shipped later as changes were requested in the original design.
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model K –Pusher type flying boat built for the U.S. Navy - Designed by Burgess, Designated as U.S.N. D-1,
Number built -1, Ordered February / March 1913; First flight April 14, 1913 by W. Starling Burgess. Frank Coffyn started pre-delivery flight and water tests at Marblehead on April 16, 1913, Delivered: May 17, 1913; Two place Tandem, Powered by a Renault 8 cyl. 70hp. air-cooled engine with a fan blower, and a Chauviere 9’6” propeller. Burgess serial # “K-36” on the hull. Span: 43’upper wing, 36’ lower wing, Length: 30’9”, Hull length: 29’6” Chord: 5’6”, Gap: 5’10” Height: 8’10”, Maximum Speed: 62 mph. Installed equipment specified in the contract: compass, altimeter, inclinometer, airspeed indicator, and chart boards. Wright Controls: Entire upper wing panels could easily be warped with the aviator’s levers. Model K accepted by the U.S. Navy in May 17, 1913, designated D-1, re-designated AB-6 in December 1914 (long after it was destroyed in February, 1914.) Initial use was to test various control systems being reviewed by the Navy Department: Deperdussin, Nieuport and variations of both types. Crashed at Pensacola February 16, 1914 – the pilot Ltjg. James M. Murray drowned after stalling this aircraft while maneuvering at 200’. Murray had been assigned to special duty at the Burgess Company in January 1913 and had flown with Coffyn at Marblehead on the acceptance flights of the Model K, D-1 in May.
U.S.N. Serial # D-1, changed to AB-6 in December 1914
Burgess Company and Curtis –Model I (also reported in the aviation press as Model “M”) –Pusher biplane flying boat designed and built for Robert Collier. Number built: 1, Ordered: Spring 1913; First Flight by Frank Coffyn on July 19, 1913.
Some what smaller than Model K Flying Boat, wing struts staggered as in the Model K, and the fuselage custom fitted for the large Anzani radial engine. Model I Price: $10,000.Two place, tandem, powered by 20cyl. 220hp. radial engine (968lbs.) with Burgess four bladed 8’4” propeller (engine supplied by Collier), Delivered: July 1913.Span: upper 41’4”, lower 33’4.5” Wing Area: 373sq.ft. Length: 28’ (30’6” overall), Chord: 5’6”, Gap: 6’8.5” Gross Weight: 2,050lbs. Max: Speed: 75 mph. flight tested by Frank Coffyn who was subsequently hired by Collier as his personal pilot.
Burgess Company and Curtis – Model K type –(AKA in the press as “Model L” )a pusher flying boat built for the U.S. Navy – Designated as: D-2,
Number built -1, Nov/ Dec 1913. Different hull shape and other modifications from Model K D-1. Two place tandem, with a Renault 8 cyl. 70 hp. air-cooled engine, with Chauviere 9’6” propeller. Delivered to U.S. Navy on January 23, 1914. Sent to Washington Navy Yard for experimental testing. The installed modified Wright type controls with two levers and foot throttle were on the wane in the Navy at that time limiting the D-2’s future with Navy. D-2’s sister ship the Model K D-1 previously at Washington, had effectively completed the Navy’s control system testing before being shipped to Pensacola as a utility aircraft. D-2 was also shipped to Pensacola after its experimental work ended at the Washington Navy Yard in late 1915 and was surveyed off the Navy’s books on February 9, 1916
U.S.N. Serial # D-2, changed to AB-7 in December 1914
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-1A –Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, First Burgess-Dunne type built by the Burgess Company in Marblehead under the patent licensing agreement with John Dunne and the Blair Athol Aeroplane Syndicate Ltd. This first Model BD aircraft was to serve as a test bed seaplane / land version for W. Starling Burgess’s planned modifications to the basic Dunne design. The first model had a nacelle for the pilot and was fitted out to provide for easy conversion from seaplane to land version. Built in late 1913 with a single central float, Model BD-1 was made ready for its first flight January 26, 1914 from Marblehead Harbor piloted by Burgess himself.
One place, with a Curtiss OXX 100hp. engine, Span: 46’ Wing Area: 595 sq.ft., Length: 20’4.5”, Chord: 6’, Gap: 6’ Central float length: 17’ 8.75”
Dual lever control for elevators /ailerons –both levers back to climb, both levers forward to descend. Lateral control used the same wingtip ailerons / elevators, banked turns were made pulling one lever backwards the other is pushed forward. A left hand turn was made by pulling the left hand lever back and the right hand lever pushed forward. The BD-1A’s maiden flight on January 26 by W. Starling Burgess resulted an aborted takeoff run due to his “running out of harbor”, and pulling back the levers to the stops, the Burgess–Dunne pitched up steeply, stalling and coming down hard on the rear of the float resulting in a crash among the ice floes which severely damaged the aircraft. The damage was so extensive that the first BD-1 was completely rebuilt as BD-1B.
This Model BD-1A was the first of 26 Burgess–Dunne aircraft built. Burgess sold 24 BD hydroaeroplanes and 2 were destroyed in test flight crashes at Marblehead. Burgess aviator Clifford Webster had the distinction of flying every Burgess-Dunne built and is the source for the total production and loss numbers.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-1B –Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, built with parts salvaged from BD-1A crash but essentially a new aircraft. Construction started: February 1914 and the first flight was on March 4, 1914 by Clifford Webster. Modifications included removing the nacelle, creating an open cockpit, adding space for a passenger increasing the span by one foot and the length by four feet, four inches. This aircraft was used to train Burgess aviators, and for local contract and demonstration flights.
Two place, tandem, with a Curtiss OXX V-8 cyl. water cooled 100 hp. engine, with a 8’5” two bladed propeller. Tanks: Oil: 4 gallons, Gasoline: 22 gallons. Span: 47’, Wing Area: 428sq.ft., Chord: 6’, Height: 11’, Length: 24’8”, Float: Length: 17’8”, Width: 31”, Depth: 15”, Weight: Empty: 1450 lbs. Gross: 1700 lbs. Speed: 55mph. Tested with wheels as a land plane at the leased Harvard Aviation Field, Squantum, Quincy, MA. Water based testing with a new central float design at Marblehead and Salem.
Sold September 17, 1914 to Captain E. L. Janney for the Canadian Aviation Corps. Price: US $5,000. Shipped to North Hero, Vermont by rail, and then flown from Lake Champlain to the Province of Quebec. Cliff Webster with Janney onboard made a three day stop at Deschaillons, P.Q. for engine repairs and then flew to the final delivery point at Quebec City where Burgess -Dunne was shipped overseas to England,. The BD-1B was Canada’s first military aircraft; however after its transatlantic voyage as deck cargo and arriving in England, the BD-1B was set aside, never flown or utilized in any way and eventually was scrapped.
In 2001 a full scale, authentic model of this Model BD was constructed by Barry MacKeracher of Osgood, Ontario and sold to the National Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ontario.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-2 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, ordered by the U.S. Navy early in 1914
First Flight- October 10, 1914, delivered to Pensacola in late October, 1914. Designated as a Navy Trainer. Number built: 1
Two place, side by side, dual controls, Span: 47’ Length: 24’ Height: 11’ Wing area: 482sq.ft., Weight: Gross: 2,150lbs. Max. Speed: 75mph.
Single central float with two small wingtip floats. At one point during its operational career at Pensacola photos show that it displayed a unique and distinctive overall lavender and green camouflage design. Modifications also included a bomb rack for tests installed under the left wing.
Stricken from Navy records in January 1916.
U.S.N. Serial # AH-7
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-3 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, Ordered March 1913 for the U.S. Army, Delivered December 30, 1914, Two place, tandem, land and sea capable, with a crew nacelle, armored with chrome steel plate, and powered by a Salmson B 9cyl.120hp. radial water-cooled engine. Benet-Mercie machine gun installed at factory for photos -not shipped.
Span: 47’ Height:10’11”, Length: 24’8”, Weight: Empty: 1700lbs., Gross: 2140 / 2300lbs. Max. Speed: 75mph. Climb rate: 300-350fpm. Built: 1
Two Model BD-3s were originally ordered Serial # 36 and 136. #136 was cancelled. Serial# 36 was delivered to San Diego, CA
In the spring of 1915 floats were removed and wheels installed—the BD#36 was then assigned to U.S. Army Coast Artillery for fire control support.
U.S. Army Serial #-36, Dropped from active service October 18, 1916.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-4 - Swept wing tailless pusher biplane- BD-4 was a prototype model built as military type demonstrator similar in design and specifications to the BD-3 and BD-5 Models built for the U.S. Army and Navy. Number built: 1
This military model had special modifications including an armor protected fuselage and mounting of a light machine gun. It was powered by a Gyro 110 hp. rotary engine or optionally a Salmson 9 cyl. 135hp. radial engine. This model became known as the “Russian Burgess-Dunne” after a visit to Marblehead by Gaston, Williams and Wigmore of New York, a firm that was known to represent the Russian Czarist government and other European countries, They and other buyer’s agents discussed with Burgess military aircraft types on their client’s want lists. During the period January through March of 1915 there were recurring reports in the local newspapers and national aviation magazines of a series of these visits to the Burgess Company by agents of European clients but no apparent sales were made. A number of photos of this aircraft were published in the local press along with rather assumptive press statements in regard to large contacts pending. Burgess did of course use the attention and related publicity as an opportunity to provide press releases, aircraft photos and to express their interest in obtaining contracts and highlight their capability to provide aircraft quickly to European countries, and to the United States military and naval services.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-5 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, ordered by the U.S. Navy Dec. 5, 1914.
Delivered in April, 1915 Acceptance at Pensacola was delayed due to performance problems resulting according to Navy’s own admission that “the original specifications were unduly severe for the state of the art”.
Two Place, side by side seating,, crew nacelle, no bustle at apex of either wing, Curtiss OXX V-8 100hp. engine, Price; $5,000. W/o engine, Built: 1
Specifications required a complete complement of aeronautical instruments and tools.
BD-5 AH-10 piloted by Lt. Bellinger on April 23, 1915 set the altitude record for seaplanes at 10,000 feet over Pensacola, FL
This aircraft was used to spot for U.S. Army Coast Artillery at Fort Munroe, VA on August 5, 1915. Special equipment: Benet-Mercie machine gun installed -- First U.S.N. aircraft armed with an automatic weapon (January 8, 1917) and bomb racks (in March 1916).
This BD was used for operational aerial gunnery and bomb tests. This aircraft was damaged in a collision with a schooner off Mobile. AL on March 7, 1916 and was rebuilt and returned to service on August 22, 1916.
U.S.N. Serial # AH-10
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-6 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, three ordered by the U.S. Navy, May 1915, Built: 3
Two Place, Tandem, Powered by Sturtevant 5A 140hp. V-8 engine, (550lbs.) Span: 45’ Wing Area: 477 sq.ft., Length: Overall: 20’2” Fuselage: 16’9”.
Weight: 2,900lbs., Max Speed: 80mph., Climb: 250fpm, Endurance: Four hours, Price: $11,500.ea.First flight: Dec.1915, to Pensacola-Spring 1916
Flight testing at Pensacola by Cliff Webster determined that these three aircraft although well streamlined and the most attractive Burgess-Dunnes ever built, were unfortunately longitudinally unstable. They were particularly difficult to control in a dive. The Navy returned the three aircraft to the Burgess Company for modifications. Problems were identified after wind tunnel testing at MIT. Burgess rebuilt the A- 55 re-positioning and re-shaping of the wing surfaces, the center of gravity was shifted, which fixed the fore and aft stability problem. However the expense to fix the other two was too costly for the Navy. The end result was the cancellation of the order at less than the cost incurred by the Burgess Company.
The final disposition of two cancelled aircraft is unknown.
U.S. Navy Serial # A- 55 was accepted. A54 and A- 56 were not accepted and the contract funding for the required modifications was cancelled.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-7 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane with a flying boat hull, ordered by Vincent Astor in March 1915. Built: 2. Astor’s original BD order was built and being flight tested when on May 5, 1915 it hit the Marblehead causeway seawall while attempting to land in Marblehead Harbor. The pilot Clifford Webster and the mechanic on board Richard Korman survived without serious injuries. The Astor Burgess-Dunne was demolished.
The work to build the replacement Burgess-Dunne began immediately with a more traditional design with a central float replacing the flying boat hull.
First flight of the new BD was on August 13, 1915, it was delivered to Astor on August 19, 1915 at Marblehead, Price: $14,000
Two place, Side by Side, Sturtevant V-8 140hp. engine, Unique four section wings, swept back at a compound angle of 30 degrees, single float seaplane with wingtip floats, Span: 46’6” Length: 31” Live Load 350lbs. Minimum Speed: 40mph, Maximum Speed: 70mph. Endurance: four hours
Burgess Company also built a custom floating hangar for Astor that could be towed behind his yacht “Noma” to house and service the Burgess Dunne.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-8 -Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, Ordered: Summer of 1915 by Harry Payne Whitney, Built: 1
Delivered: Fall 1915, 30 degree sweptback wing without the four section wings and compound sweptback angle otherwise the same as Astor’s BD.
Two place, side by side, Curtiss OXX V-8 100hp. engine Span: 48’2”, Wing Area: 494 Sq.ft. Height: 10’3”, Length: 24’8” Weight: empty: 1750 Gross: 2317, Min. Speed: 48.3 mph. Max. Speed: 75.2, Climb Rate: 300fpm.
Burgess BD-9 right front
Burgess BD-9 Type For Astor
Burgess BD-9 Sportsmans Seaplane
Burgess BD-9 Type for Whitney
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-9 - Sportsman Seaplane Type- Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, Built: 6,
Two place, tandem powered by a Sturtevant Model 5, V-8 140hp. water-cooled engine, Span: 46’, Length: 23’ Live Load:670lbs. Endurance: Four hours
First ordered by G.L. Cabot in 1915. Cabot’s Burgess-Dunne, named the “Lark” was the 13th BD built. In 1916 Clifford Webster and Cabot flew the Burgess-Dunne patrolling over Massachusetts Bay prior to Cabot leaving for Pensacola for formal Navy Flight Training in 1917. In late 1915 Cabot had formed the Independent Aviation Corps which in 1916 became the Massachusetts Naval Militia. This first formal State aviation militia unit had a training and patrol base with a maintenance hangar on Great Misery Island in outer Salem Harbor. The unit operated three privately owned Burgess-Dunnes, a loaned Burgess-Dunne from the Burgess Company and a Burgess Model U of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The unit became part of the U.S. Navy in April 1917 and was assigned coastal patrol duties along the New England Coast. In addition to Cabot’s BD, BD-9 types were also sold to Naval Militia members: Norman Cabot BD-9 #14 and Eben Draper BD-9 #17. Two BD-9s were delivered to the N.Y. State Naval Militia, and one BD-9 to the N.J. Naval Militia.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BD-10 –Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, Ordered by U.S. Army September 27, 1916, Price quoted: $14,000. Special BD Model planned to be used for remote controlled torpedo experiments developed by John Hays Hammond of Gloucester. The contract price included state of the art radio sending and receiving equipment to be installed in the aircraft. Two place, Side by Side, powered by a Sturtevant Model 5 V-8 140hp. engine, Span: 46” Chord: 5’, Gap: 6’6”, 2.5’ forward stagger of the upper wing. Length: 27”, Weight: Equipment: 200lbs., Gross 2,220 lbs. Order cancelled on June 18, 1917. The mission was eventually accomplished by the assignment of an Army Curtiss R-4.
U.S. Army Serial # 136
Burgess Company - Burgess-Dunne - Model BDH-11 -Reconnaissance Type Swept wing tailless pusher biplane, for military requirements. Built: 1
Two Place, Side by Side, powered by a Curtiss OXX2 100hp. engine or Sturtevant Model 5 V-8 140hp. water cooled engine. Designed in the spring of 1916. Torpedo like fuselage with a central float built in the summer of 1916. Span: 46’6” Length: 31’ Live Load: 350lbs. Minimum 40mph. Maximum Speed: 70mph. Endurance: 4 hours. No record of any sale of this model BD.
Burgess Company – Burgess-Dunne - Model BDF-12 - Flying Boat Type Swept wing tailless pusher biplane Built: 1
A Curtiss flying boat hull mated to Burgess Dunne wings. Designed: Summer 1916, Completed: Fall 1916.
Sweptback wings of 30 degrees, Dihedral of 0, Three place, Span: 53’, Length: 25’2”, powered by a Curtiss OXX2 100hp. engine, Min. Speed: 42mph, Max. 68mph. Live Load: 560lbs. Endurance: three hours. No record of any sale of this model BD.
Burgess Army Tractor Trainer
Burgess Company – Army Tractor Trainer –Tractor biplane designed by Grover Loening and Lt. DeWitt Milling of the Army Aviation School at San Diego, CA built by Burgess Company to U.S. Army design specifications. Ordered: Jan. 9, 1915 Delivered: March 3.1915, Number built: 1.
Price: $5,357(aircraft $3,500, engine $1,857), Two place, tandem biplane powered by a Curtiss S V-6-cyl. 60 hp. engine.
Shipped to the Army Aviation School at San Diego it was accepted on March 31, 1915. Its flight testing determined that it had ample power, the climb rate and range were good, and it was stable directionally. The Curtiss Model S engine however was troublesome and the aircraft tests had identified a number of negative characteristics: poor lateral control, the rudder was too sensitive, and it was tail heavy with power on and nosed into a dive with power off. The trainer was ultimately condemned and sold on September 18, 1916 a year and a half after it was accepted.
U.S. Army Serial #40
Burgess Company –Model O-Gunbus –Pusher observation biplane. Designed by W. Starling Burgess for the Royal Navy Air Service.
Number built: 36, Ordered May 23, 1915, Price: $11,500 ea., Delivery to RNAS Hendon began on July 28, 1915. First Flight: June 1915 at Squantum by Frank Coffyn with Cmdr. Harry Busteed RNAS. Royal Navy officers had visited Marblehead to give their aircraft specifications, requirement and timeframe for delivery to Burgess and Greely Curtis. After some discussion in regards to current Burgess aeroplanes specifically the Burgess Dunne Reconnaissance type; Burgess agreed to design an aircraft to their custom specifications. The Model O Gunbus was then completely designed and the first aircraft built within 21 days from their initial meeting.
Two place, tandem, land planes, powered by a Sturtevant D-5 V-8 140 hp. engine. Span: 45’ Length: 31’6” Live Load: 920lbs. Min. Speed 47mph.,
Max Speed: 85mph. Endurance: Four hours, Ailerons on the upper wings. First Gunbus assembled at RNAS Hendon July 28, 1915. First Flight: August 26, 1915, The Model O was not assigned to squadron service, some Gunbuses were sent to Isle of Grain, and to 4 Wing at Eastchurch.
Placed in storage at Central Stores Depot, White City, London and then condemned in May 1916. (Note: A single complete Model O Gunbus did get shipped to Australia from storage in 1917 and was used in an Air Force technical training school there until 1919 when it was surveyed.)
Royal Navy Serial #s 3657 / 3681 and 8258 / 8268
Model S Navy School Trainer
Burgess Company –Model S Navy School Trainer –Tractor hydro biplane, Designed by Burgess, Ordered Dec. 1915, First Flight March 6, 1916.
Number built: 6, A-70 was delivered to Pensacola in March 1916 for acceptance testing. The five remaining aircraft had new engines installed and other modifications as a result of A-70 tests which were made at the factory and were shipped in Oct -Nov 1916 and in Feb - March 1917 for flight training assignments. Equipped with Deperdussin controls.
Two place, tandem, Factory installed Curtiss OOX V-8 100hp. engines were replaced by the higher performance Hall-Scott A-5 6 cyl. 120hp.
Span: 46’6”, Length: 30’ Equipped with two floats Min. Speed: 41mph. Max. Speed: 73mph. Rate of Climb: 400fpm, Live Load: 750lbs. Gross weight: 2,500lbs. Endurance: Four hours. By March 1919 all six Model S tractors were stricken from the Navy list
U.S. Navy Serial #s AH-25 changed to: A-70, next five accepted were assigned: A-71 / A-75
Model U Naval Scout
Burgess Company –Model U Naval Scout –Tractor hydro biplane, Designed by Burgess, Ordered: Mid 1916, Delivered November 8, 1916
Price: $8,000. Ordered by Godfrey L. Cabot and the Aero Club of New England for presentation to the Massachusetts Naval Militia. Built: 1
Two place, tandem, single float seaplane powered by a Curtiss V-8 OXX2 100hp. engine, Span: 46’9”, Height: 11’2”, Length: 30’ 6”, Chord: 6’3”
Min. Speed: 40mph. Max Speed: 70mph. Rate of Climb: 210fpm. Endurance: four hours, Weight: Empty: 1,798lbs. Gross: 2,438lbs. Live Load: 640lbs. Deposition; Served with the Naval Militia at Misery Island in outer Salem Harbor and was active in training and coastal patrol work.
No Record after April 1917 in U.S. Navy.
Model BP Trainer
Burgess Company –Model BP Trainer –Tractor biplane primary trainer. Ordered by the U.S. Army-Nov. 1, 1916, Designed by Burgess. Built: 6
Flight testing at the Saugus Racetrack airfield. First Flight: Feb.1917, Delivered: May 1917-Oct.1917 to Mineola, NY. Price: $8,000ea.
Two place, side by side, primary trainer, Curtiss OX V-8 90hp.engine, 7’9” propeller Span: 41’6”, Lower: 34’, Chord: 6’6” Gap: 6’3” used dual Deperdussin controls. Max Speed: 63mph. Climb Rate 190’ fpm. These aircraft did not pass Army acceptance testing and were used as static aircraft for Army mechanics and aviator ground schools. Problems stated were stiff controls and poor visibility for the instructor and student aviator. It was also reported that the Commanding Officer at Mineola didn’t think the Model BP was sturdy enough to be stress tested in the air. Interesting considering the company’s reputation for strongly built and rugged construction and the fact there was no known accident caused by a Burgess’s aircraft structural failure.
U.S. Army Serial #s -SC 271 / 276
Burgess Company –Twin Hydro –Twin engine tractor hydro biplane, ordered: Dec. 4, 1916 by the U.S. Army for coastal reconnaissance duty.
Number ordered: 32 Number built: 1 First Flight: on August 1, 1917, First delivery: August 1917. Price: aircraft-$21,422 with engines-$26,822.
Two place, powered with two Sturtevant 5A V-8 140hp. engines with 8’10” counter-rotating propellers. Span: Upper 72’6”, Lower: 59’9”,
Length: 32’5”, Chord: 7’7”, Rate of Climb: 350 fpm. Gross weight: 5,380lbs. Max. Speed: 78mph. Control system included: Balanced ailerons on upper wing. Original contract specified 16 twin hydros with Sturtevant 140hp. engines and 16 with Wright built Hispano-Suiza 125hp.engines.
First twin hydro was accepted by the U.S. Army in August and as a result of a an ongoing review of the Army aviation the coastal defense mission had changed resulting in the cancellation of the 31 remaining twin hydros. The single aircraft completed was transferred to the U.S. Navy at the submarine base at New London CT where it was used for anti-submarine warfare tests.
U.S. Army Serial #- SC-332 U.S. Navy Serial #-unk
Model HT-1 Speed Scout
Burgess Company –Model HT-1 Speed Scout–Sesquiplane tractor biplane on twin floats, Designed by Burgess, Built: 2, Price: $13,000ea.
Type A & Type B small Speed Scouts seaplane prototypes designed for a U.S.N. specification dated Nov. 17, 1916 requiring: Speed: 50-95mph.,
Endurance: 2.5 hours, Mission: to perform strategic reconnaissance beyond the range of current fleet observation capability, with a minimum patrol range of 100 miles. (The specification also assumed that HT aeroplanes would be equipped with the light weight Gnome 100hp. rotary engine).
Two distinct Speed Scouts models were built: HT-1 Type A and HT-1 Type B. The first flights made by Ellwood “Gink” Doherty: on May 19, 1917. After the analysis of the flight testing was completed two HT-1s were ordered May 22, 1917 using the Type B as the standard. Thus the HT-1 Type A was to be converted to a Type B before delivery to the U.S. Navy. The first modified and complete aircraft A-155 was delivered to the Navy at Squantum on September 11, 1917 and the second A-156 was scheduled to be shipped to Pensacola during October 1917.
Single place, powered by a Curtiss OXX2 V-8 100hp. engine, Span: 28’, Speed Range: 57 -80/85mph., Landing Speed: 50mph, 2 hours fuel capacity, gross weight: 1779lbs. (reduced to 1,652lbs. after modifications) Wing area: 200sq.ft., with foldable wings that could be reduced from 28’ to 22’ for shipboard storage. The Gnome engines could not be obtained and the Burgess designs were thus handicapped in performance. The Navy recognized the fact that weight of the Curtiss vs. the Gnome engine made it impossible to meet the original requirements for a swift and wide ranging “Speed Scout”. Navy contract officers believed that the HT aircraft were good solid designs, would be useful as advanced seaplane trainers and they purchased them for that role.
The HT-1 A-155 wrecked beyond repair at Squantum on Oct. 4, 1917. HT-1 A-156, for unstated reasons remained incomplete and was eventually sent to the MIT Ground School and written off the Navy List on Jan.4, 1919. Perhaps the completion of the HT-2 production models (below) in November 1917 pre-empted the need to spend money rebuilding the second HT-1 to the new specifications.
U.S. Navy Serial #s-A-155, A-156
Model HT-2 Speed Scout
Burgess Company –Model HT-2 Speed Scout –Sesquiplane tractor biplane on twin floats, HT-1B Type design with modifications and improvements
Ordered: May 22, 1917. Number Built: 6, Flight testing by Elwood “Gink” Doherty August through October 1917, Delivered to the U.S.N. Nov.1917,
Single Place, Powered by a Curtiss OXX2 V-8 100hp. engine with a 7’9” propeller, Price: $13,000ea.
Span: Upper 34’4”, Lower 21’6”, Height 10’, Length: 22’3”, Chord: 3’6” Gap: 4’6”, No dihedral, no sweepback, no stagger on wings,
Control System: Deperdussin, Min. Speed: 50mph landing speed, Max. Speed: 95mph. Endurance 2.5 hours. Last left Navy service in May 1921
U.S. Navy Serial #s- A374 / 379
Model U-2 School Trainer
Burgess Company –Model U-2 School Trainer–Tractor biplane with a central float, Ordered by the U.S. Navy in July 1917, Burgess design, Number built: 6, Two place tandem, powered by a Hall Scott 4 cyl 100hp. engine Span: 46’9”, No dihedral on wings, Height: 11’2”, Length: 30’5”, Weight: Empty 1800lbs. Live Load: 600lbs. Min. Speed: 48.3mph.,Max. Speed: 72.2 mph. Rate of Climb: 300 fpm. Model U-2 based on the Model U design of 1916 but with better performance due to the Hall-Scott engine. The U-2 can be identified by the two distinctive rectangular skid fins on upper wing, tail section modifications and an over engine exhaust stack extending up over center of the leading edge of the wing.
Model U-2s were sent to Pensacola and to North Island, San Diego. A-381, A-382 and A-383 were written off after accidents and the remaining three aircraft were stricken from Navy list by April 1921.
U.S. Navy Serial #s- A-380 / 385
Model N-9 /N-9H Navy Trainer
Burgess Company –Model N-9 /N-9H Navy Trainer –Tractor biplane trainer, ordered by U.S. Navy as its primary training aircraft during World War One. Designed by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company with modifications and production by the Burgess Company at Marblehead.
Two place, tandem, Span: 53’3.3”, Lower: 43’1”, Wing Area: 496 sq.ft., Length: 30’10”, Height 10’8.5”, Min. Speed: 45mph, Max Speed: 70-77mph., Climb Rate: 200 /324fpm., Range: 480miles. Weight: Empty: 1900 / 2140, Gross: 2140 / 2765 lbs. (Two entries reflect where the N-9 / N-9H differ ) Deliveries to the U.S. Navy started in 1917 with 110 N-9s built by Curtiss, followed in 1918 by 460 by N-9 /N-9H aircraft built by Burgess at Marblehead. First 120 N-9s were powered by Curtiss OXX V-8 100hp. engine; Last 340 on this contract were powered by Wright built Model A Hispano-Suiza 150hp. engines. Deliveries: in June 1918 the company produced 70 N-9s: overall 1918 production averaged 15 aircraft per week.
With the end of the World War One the Navy cancelled an order for an additional 1200 Burgess N-9s.
U.S. Navy Serial #s-A-409/438, A-999/1028, A-2351/2650
Model C Control Cars
Burgess Company –Model C Control Cars –Airship control cars for U.S.N. Model C type airships. Ordered from the Burgess Company early in 1918. The contract was for 10 cars to be shipped to other locations upon completion for final assembly with the Goodyear and Goodrich airship envelopes. Number built: 10, Airship Control Cars: Length; 40’, Height: 5’ Width: 15’ two Wright built Model-A Hispano-Suiza 150hp. engines.
Type C airship: Length: 192”, Diameter: 42’, Envelope Volume 181,000 cu.ft. The first airship control car was successfully flight tested with Model C airship on September 30, 1918. The Navy project manager for the Model C pressure airship was Lt.Cdr. W. Starling Burgess. It was his last project as a naval officer and his last aviation related challenge as he returned to civilian life in early 1919 and returned to his yacht design practice.
(A few days before the fire in Plant #2 (see below) the USN issued an additional order for five additional Model C pressure airship control cars for delivery in 1919. It is not known whether that order was eventually cancelled or transferred to another supplier as a result of the Burgess Co. fire.)
U.S. Navy Serial #s- C-1 / C-10
Production Notes: The Burgess Company also built and tested a number of custom aircraft other than those listed here, for private individuals and for its own use. For example: In 1910 they built a Burgess glider to use for training purposes at Plum Island, they repaired and rebuilt it regularly and added to their displays at aviation exhibitions in Boston and New York.
Burgess designed, built and sold catamaran floats for the Wright Model B and other contemporary aircraft. They built a glider for Albert A. Merrill an Instructor for Aeronautics at MIT and later at Caltech. Burgess also built Merrill a swept wing tractor biplane in 1914 that was flight tested by H. Roy Waite and Chauncey Redding at the Saugus Racetrack Airfield. The same aircraft on floats was tested by Burgess aviators in Marblehead Harbor. There were other types and kinds of non-Burgess aircraft in and out of his shops since Starling Burgess as a designer - builder enjoyed and was open to creative aeronautical challenges and business opportunities that came his way.
As a typical example, Burgess Company in 1918 received a Sopwith Schnieder seaplane in U.S. Navy markings. It was sent to Marblehead for evaluation, a few photos of that aircraft have surfaced recently and raised questions, but it was there on a regular Navy contract.
The Final Chapter
The Burgess Company in April 1916 set up production for a large number of Curtiss Company’s Model HS-2 aircraft flying boat hulls at Plant #2 at Little Harbor. The plant also produced specialized Curtiss aircraft parts which were shipped to other plants for final assembly. All production at Plant #2 ended on November 7, 1918 as the result of a disastrous fire which completely destroyed that facility. Plant #1 at Redstone Lane completed most of Burgess’ war time contracts and early in 1919 that plant was closed, The 500 remaining employees received their last paychecks and the Burgess Company, a division of the Curtiss Company was history.
Sources and Credit:
This data was researched from published sources including: the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society, WW1 Aero-The Journal of the Early Aeroplane, Robert Casari’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Military Aircraft 1908-1919, local Massachusetts and national newspapers, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army Signal Corps and Air Service records. The Marblehead Historical Society and Museum and the Marblehead Historical Commission both have extensive Burgess Company photo collections as does the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society. The direct information on the Burgess Company activities 1909-1919 was obtained from correspondence, transcripts and audio tape interviews with the people who were there at the time W. Starling Burgess’ primary records reviewed include his business correspondence, his sworn testimony in the Herring vs. Curtiss litigation and material in his unpublished and incomplete autobiography.
We have Bartlett Gould of Newburyport aviation historian and writer, to thank for collecting and documenting nearly all the files, audiotapes and the personal photograph collections on the Burgess Company. Bart with the help of his family spent over 30 years researching the Burgess Company and Massachusetts aviation history. His personal interviews with the Burgess Company aviators and other key employees of the company and their families were very important to his recording, preserving and publishing this chapter of early aviation in Massachusetts.
The Burgess Company official records are perhaps in an archive or warehouse somewhere, but they have not surfaced since 1919. It is often said that the records were destroyed in the factory fire in 1918 but the Burgess Company office and its records were in the old Plant #1 area at Redstone Lane nearly a mile from the “new” 1916 plant that was destroyed. So we have hope, that somewhere out there, these records will surface in the future and give us the “rest of the story”. In the meantime we welcome updates, corrections, new photos, questions on all the aviation history we publish please contact us though our website contact page, our e-mail address, or by mail or telephone.
Wm. J. Deane