View Full Version : What type is the landing plane?

26th May 2018, 00:35


26th May 2018, 06:13
I don' think it's landing. I think it's a jocular fly by.

26th May 2018, 06:51
French, obviously. The tail looks typically Nieuport, but it doesn't appear to be a sesquiplane.

I give up. :O

26th May 2018, 08:48
I don' think it's landing. I think it's a jocular fly by.

Not too funny for the fourth man from right!

26th May 2018, 13:47
The other aircraft are of course Sopwith Snipes in post WW1 schemes. If ,and it's a long shot, the 7 on the hangar roof is part of the Squadron number then it would be for 70 or 71 Squadron indicating the base to be either Bickendorff or possibly more likely, Spitalgate.
That aeroplane in flight just doesn't look right to me.

26th May 2018, 15:29
I would agree with Jenkins.. Is the registration on the aircraft E1723 which could be from a batch of 300 Avro 504J/K (E1901 to E1900)? There certainly is some distortion in the photograph as the tail looks bent upwards. Also the guys in the photograph look American ie jodhpurs and pointed dough-boy hats.

26th May 2018, 15:45
Hello Mel.

Didn't the 504 have a central skid ?

26th May 2018, 16:12
Hello Dook.. Yes, the 504K did have a central skid, that is another thing that threw me. The other thing that is odd is that the fin and rudder look larger than normal on a 504. This one is certainly a mystery..

26th May 2018, 16:14
I don't think it is a 504.Several reasons, but one structural one is the distance between the fore and aft wing struts being a significantly greater percentage of the gap than a 504.In fact the rearmost strut doesn't leave much space for an aileron if it were an Avro. The balanced rudder is enormous although possibly touched up. Although there were several variations evident in 504 u/c design, it seems to me to be too squat, especially for a 504 in flight.
Although not a decider, the open spoked wheels(i.e. uncovered) are an oddity for a British Service 504 ( But a type from from another nation e.g.the U.S.A.?).
I would like to know if the O.P. would let us have the source for this image.

26th May 2018, 19:21
But a type from from another nation e.g. the U.S.A.?

The wooden hangar looks a bit like one of Albert Kahn's standard WWI designs, if that's any help in identifying the location.

26th May 2018, 19:53
The undercarriage looks similar to some models of the Curtiss Jenny...

26th May 2018, 21:04
The whole aeroplane looks like a collection of parts from several.

I've taken it into Photoshop (with which I've done a lot of professional work) and I can't detect any signs of doctoring.

I'll shoot for American.

26th May 2018, 22:08
Is there any chance it could be a Curtiss JN-2? Some pictures show them with the 'Avro' style ruďer although the one in the picture looks out of proportion as previously mentioned.


India Four Two
26th May 2018, 22:44
This certainly is a mystery. The scale of the fuselage is too small compared to the pilot, to be a 504 and as others have pointed out, there are many features that are inconsistent with a Avro. On the other hand, it appears to have a rotary engine with bulged cowlings like a 504J.

The shades of the roundel indicate French.

27th May 2018, 02:46
Aside from the fin it has many of the features of the Sopwith 1Ĺ Strutter, which was also used by the USA and France.

27th May 2018, 07:22
I went along the distorted 1 1/2 Strutter route a bit as well megan including looking at the centre section strutting which looked at first glance as it could fit. I think in fact it is part of the tree behind and that the struts are raked, which also mitigates against a 504. The big "no no'" in that regard is of course the peculiar wing struttery on this beast ( Curtiss?)
The uniforms and the hangar (no idea of type but a wooden Kahn makes sense as indicated by DaveReid UK) made me wonder if in fact, these could,conceivably, have been Canadian Snipes, which lingered on a bit post WW1. However I can't find any evidence of them in post WW1 markings -which isn't to say that they never wore them.
That "7" on the roof looks a bit of a fancy serif font for the U.K. and possibly also therefore American or Canadian.
Also, that undercarriage is very reminiscent of a Jenny(thanks Treadigraph !) as is the wing gap/stagger and strut proportions
Some modified early pre JN-3/4 Curtiss type comes as a possibility, bearing in mind Curtiss JN types were built in Canada during WW1 , including those with modified vertical tail surfaces, as pointed out by drawbarz.
Perhaps some form of local Canadian "bitsa" using a rotary?

27th May 2018, 07:50
Trying to land or take off? :D the fourth guy (right) is not finding it funny

27th May 2018, 09:45
There are plenty of films from the 20s and 30s about the First World War, so a bitsa for a crash scene, possibly hanging from a crane, is where my money would be. The question is which film? Given the Snipes are in post-WW1 colour schemes, I'm inclined to think UK-made...
Here's a Wiki list to use as a starting point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:World_War_I_aviation_films

El Bunto
27th May 2018, 15:08
It was a JN-4 modified to act as a 504 for filming, courtesy of Howard Hughes' money:

Hell's Angels - The Internet Movie Plane Database (http://www.impdb.org/index.php?title=Hell%27s_Angels)

The pair of Snipes rang a small memory-bell somewhere in the back of my brain.

27th May 2018, 15:21
(Doffs cap and curtsies) Excellent, well done Mr Bunto!

27th May 2018, 15:46

27th May 2018, 16:29
Likewise! :ok:

I've just found this, which describes how Reginald Denny, film actor and founder of the Dennyplane/Radioplane aerial target company imported three Sopwith Snipes to the USA for film work, so that explains them being on that side of the pond.
Reginald Denny (1891-1967) - Aviation Pioneer (http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/denny_ww1.html)

India Four Two
27th May 2018, 16:57
The Jenny 504 pictures donít seem to show any king posts. I wonder what they did to strengthen the wings.

27th May 2018, 17:04
El Bunto What a star!, Game, Set and Match,
Thank you so much for cracking this one, hands down!
I'll sleep easy tonight.

27th May 2018, 18:00
Great detective work, chaps !

Now all that remains is to identify the location where the flying training sequences were filmed. I'm assuming that the Kahn hangars were genuine and not mocked up for the film, but I'm prepared to be proved wrong.

27th May 2018, 19:20
Caddo Field, near Van Nuys, California.

Howard Hughes purchased a large tract of land here in order to film his sweeping WWI-era movie called Hell's Angels, the aviation of which is regularly noted by enthusiasts for its quality and authenticity. Released in 1930, the movie starred an 18-year-old Jean Harlow in her first credited movie plus Ben Lyon and James Hall. Over 50 WWI planes were purchased for use in the film.

El Bunto
27th May 2018, 19:27
Well it was a team effort, all the little clues added up in the end.

I remember Hell's Angels being on TV a very, very long time ago. I think it was around when an atrocious adaption of Biggles was in the cinema, which the Interwebs tells me was 1986.

28th May 2018, 02:09
WOW, El Bunto, just WOW !! Great work sniffing this one out. Thank you!


28th May 2018, 06:29
Caddo Field, near Van Nuys, California.

If that's where the scenes with the hangars were filmed, then it would imply that the hangars themselves were fake and built for the film.

Caddo Field was, as your quote states, not a pre-existing airfield but just a tract of land bought for the film (Caddo was the name of Hughes's production company).

28th May 2018, 10:50
It was a JN-4 modified to act as a 504 for filming, courtesy of Howard Hughes' money:

Hell's Angels - The Internet Movie Plane Database (http://www.impdb.org/index.php?title=Hell%27s_Angels)

The pair of Snipes rang a small memory-bell somewhere in the back of my brain.
Thanks for clearing up the mystery.

28th May 2018, 18:07
You certainly aced it Bunto. :ok:


29th May 2018, 07:11
Looks like there was more than one.

El Bunto
29th May 2018, 10:06
Airfields of California:

Caddo Field Reseda [34-13-10 118-31-12]
(P) SW of Roscoe Blvd & White Oak Ave, WNW of Metropolitan (Van Nuys).
Established by Howard Hughes as base of operations for filming "Hells Angels" and named after his father's oil fields in Texas.

29th May 2018, 11:51
It seems odd that it was necessary to build a fake 504 - there must have been plenty of real ones around in 1930 - they were still being built.

29th May 2018, 11:54
Go to 22:40

El Bunto
29th May 2018, 13:34
This page has lots of info about the location of Caddo Field, which was a pasture very close to the location of the current Van Nuys airport.

Sikorsky and Me ? The Blue Max Project (http://www.thebluemaxproject.org/new-blog/2017/10/21/sikorsky-and-me)

Ignore the fact that it says Blue Max in the URL!

30th May 2018, 10:29
Just a thought,I wonder why it was necessary to modify a Curtiss JN-4 to act as a 504 for filming? Surely there were a number of surplus Avrro 504K on the market that could have been used?

30th May 2018, 11:23
Perhaps not in the States, though perhaps Canada could have been a source?