$7,795
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40
backers
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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 8 2016 10:52 PM UTC +00:00
Friends of JennyBy Friends of Jenny
First created
Friends of JennyBy Friends of Jenny
First created
$7,795
pledged of $60,000pledged of $60,000 goal
40
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, June 8 2016 10:52 PM UTC +00:00

About

Friends and Supporters, we cannot forget, we will not forget.  Thank you for your support.  More to come!
Friends and Supporters, we cannot forget, we will not forget. Thank you for your support. More to come!

 

 

50th Aero Squadron stands at the ready in France, 1918
50th Aero Squadron stands at the ready in France, 1918

About this Project...

When America rallied to support the allied cause in 1917, it had no Air Force.Congress responded with the largest appropriation in its history, 640 million dollars to change all that. And America did what it does best, it brought innovation, engineering, creativity, business acumen and hard work to create America's first warplane, the DH-4 "Liberty Plane". We propose to reconstruct the only, as delivered to the military, DH4 to flying status in N. America to not only commemorate those who flew her in World War 1, but also all military aviators who have served over the last 100 years.

About the World War 1 Centennial

More Americans gave their lives during World War 1 than during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts combined. It was a war that profoundly shaped the rest of 'the American century'. The DH4 Liberty Plane project has been endorsed by The United States WW1 Centennial Commission. The Centennial is a timely and essential opportunity to educate our country's citizens about the causes, courses, and consequences of this war, to honor the heroism and sacrifice of those Americans who served, and to commemorate through public programs and initiatives the centennial of this global event. With the acquisition and restoration of the DH-4 Liberty Plane, it will be a symbol of the ingenuity, hard work, and sacrifice that Americans made both at home and in Europe.

Congressional Medal of Honor that Lieutenants Goettler and Bleckley of the 50th Aero Sqdrn. received
Congressional Medal of Honor that Lieutenants Goettler and Bleckley of the 50th Aero Sqdrn. received

During the course of the War, air crews were awarded 8 Congressional Medals of Honor, four of them to DH-4 crews.  In fact we plan to represent the 50th Aero Squadron's  #6 in our reconstruction. 

About the DH-4 Liberty Plane

DH4 of the 50th "Dutch Girl" Squadron
DH4 of the 50th "Dutch Girl" Squadron

We have located what is believed to be the last known DH-4 airframe in America.  It, and the accompanying parts, will be used to reconstruct the aircraft to flying status.

DH4 air frame
DH4 air frame

 

DH4 air frame today
DH4 air frame today

Once complete, this will be a full sized, flying version of the original DH-4 "Liberty Plane" as delivered to the U. S. military. Completed with a new V12 engine primarily built by Ford, this airplane was protecting the skies over France by August of 1918. Armed  with 4 machine guns and bomb racks, during the course of its service in WW1, it served 13 Army Aero Squadrons and 4 Navy/Marine Squadrons.

U.S. Marine DH4 on a mission over Belgium, 1918. Painting by Russell Smith
U.S. Marine DH4 on a mission over Belgium, 1918. Painting by Russell Smith

But the Liberty Plane's story did not end with the war, its large and powerful engine, speed and ruggedness made it perfect to carry the U. S. Air Mail, creating the first transcontinental Air Mail routes. The U.S. Army continued to use the Liberty Plane when it won the first transcontinental Air Race and became the first aircraft to utilize Air to Air refueling.

Because of its powerful engine and availability after the War, the DH4 was reconfigured to carry the U.S. Air Mail.
Because of its powerful engine and availability after the War, the DH4 was reconfigured to carry the U.S. Air Mail.

The DH-4 Liberty Plane was the cornerstone and foundation for the development of commercial aviation today. This airplane, with an accompanying traveling educational exhibit, will join the only flying cross country WW1 Curtiss JN4 ' Jenny' to tell the significant story of early aviation to millions of Americans.The flying DH-4 will celebrate 3 important Centennials.+ 2017-18 WW1 Centennial + 2019 Centenary of the first transcontinental air race+ 2020 Centenary of the first transcontinental air mail run.

About the Builders

Reconstructing a large, century-old wooden airplane to flying status while meeting stringent FAA safety guidelines requires a very special brand of skills, patience and determination.In 2013, after working together on the 14 month reconstruction of a 1917 Curtiss JN4 Jenny, the 5 principal builders, 3 of which are licensed FAA mechanics, and two licensed FAA Aircraft Inspectors, formed the nonprofit 501c3 educational corporation Friends of Jenny (FOJ).

FOJ's all wood Curtiss JN4 "Jenny" in flight
FOJ's all wood Curtiss JN4 "Jenny" in flight

This group maintains and flies the Jenny they reconstructed from the ground up.To date, this JN4 has appeared before 1.5 million spectators, flown to 11 states, is the subject of a PBS one hour documentary, a Warbird calendar, 3 national magazine feature stories and countless newspaper articles.The public has welcomed this flying Jenny and the story she tells with open arms.The FOJ builders stand at the ready to reconstruct the DH-4 Liberty Plane in time to celebrate the summer of 2017.

The Time Frame

We believe that the DH4 can be built in 12 months, adding an additional 2 months for flight testing for a total of 14 months from a green light. FOJ would like to acquire the fuselage airframe as soon as possible in 2016. (The FOJ reconstructed the same era Curtiss JN4, comparable in size and construction, in 14 months.)

Lt. Bleckley prepares for his last fllight to rescue the doughboys of the "Lost Battalion"
Lt. Bleckley prepares for his last fllight to rescue the doughboys of the "Lost Battalion"

Your support in bringing the flying DH-4 Liberty Plane to life will honor the memory of the Americans who built her, who flew in her, and who died in her.  It will also honor all the men and women aviators who have served our nation over the past 100 years in a manner that is fitting for the service and sacrifice.  Duty, Honor, Country.

Risks and challenges

Unless we are able to acquire the only available parts to an authentic DH4 in time for the Centennial of America's involvement in World War 1, this important part of our military story runs the risk of being lost during this critical period of time. Restoring and rebuilding an historic aircraft to FAA flying standards is a daunting and risky business, however, our skilled team has the proven knowledge, talent and experience to bring the Liberty Plane back to the skies in time for the World War 1 Centennial of America's involvement. But we can't do it without your help.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive regular project updates, plus a 8x10 full color post card of artist John Shaw's depiction of the Medal of Honor Mission of the 50th Aero Squadron, titled 'The Highest Possible Courage'.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Receive all the items above, plus a Saving Liberty DH4 baseball cap.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Receive all the items above, plus a Saving Liberty DH4 T-shirt and 50th Aero Squadron "Dutch Girl" pin

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Receive all the items above, plus a Collectors DVD of the 1918 film, "How to make a DH4"

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Receive all the items above, plus a quality 13x19 print of famed Aviation Artist Russell Smith's painting of the DH4 #6 on its last run. This was commissioned for this project.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Receive all the items above, plus a the just published and signed by the author Steven Ruffin, his book on "The Lafayette Escadrille".

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Receive all the items above, plus a framed 17x22 photo print of our Curtiss JN4 with a piece of fabric from its first test flight.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Receive all the items above, plus a flight in an antique bi-plane at one of six centrally located regions OR your name or family or friend inscribed on a recognition plaque that will be permanently mounted in the rear cockpit of the DH4 when completed.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Receive all the items above, plus an invitation to travel with the Flying Jenny Centennial Air Tour team on one cross country leg.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Receive all the items above, plus personal tour of the restoration process and an honorary membership to the Saving Liberty DH4 restoration team.

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Funding period

- (30 days)