Curtiss Eagle

Curtiss Eagle
Role Airliner
Manufacturer Curtiss
Designer William Gilmore
First flight August 1919
Number built ca. 24

The Curtiss Eagle (retrospectively designated the Model 19 by Curtiss some years later) was an airliner produced in small numbers in the United States shortly after World War I. The aircraft was a conventional biplane with three-bay, unstaggered wings of equal span. The fuselage was a very advanced design for its day, incorporating careful streamlining of its monocoque structure, and offering the crew as well as the passengers a fully enclosed cabin. The Eagle is sometimes named as the first American tri-motor aircraft; however Curtiss' own Model H flying boat flew with three engines for a time in 1914 before being converted back to twin-engine configuration.



Curtiss had developed the Eagle in preparation for an anticipated post-war boom in civil aviation. In fact, this boom was far smaller than Curtiss had been hoping for, and practically all of the demand for passenger aircraft was met by the conversion of war-surplus military aircraft that could be purchased extremely cheaply. As such, only around 20 machines were built. The original trimotor Eagle design was followed by a single example of the Eagle II, with twin engines, and by three Eagle IIIs with only one engine. These latter aircraft were purchased by the US Army, which used them as staff transports and converted one example into an air ambulance.


Curtiss Eagle
Three-engined passenger airliner, accommodating two pilots and eight passengers, powered by three 150-hp (112-kW) Curtiss K-9 piston engines.
Eagle II
Twin-engined version, powered by two 400-hp (298-kW) Curtiss C-12 engines; one built.
Eagle III
Single-engined version, powered by a 400-hp (298-kW) Liberty engine; three built.


 United States

Specifications (Eagle I)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two pilots
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m)
  • Wingspan: 61 ft 4 in (18.69 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
  • Wing area: 900 ft2 (83.6 m2)
  • Empty weight: 5,130 lb (2,327 kg)
  • Gross weight: 7,450 lb (3,379 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 × Curtiss K-6, 150 hp (112 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 107 mph (172 km/h)
  • Range: 764 miles (475 km)
  • Rate of climb: 413 ft/min (2.1 m/s)

See also


  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. pp. 278. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 819 Sheet 45. 

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