WW1 Planes
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types


The first licenced manufacturer (1910-1918)

Greely Curtis in France at Reims Aviation exhibition Burgess Company and Curtis, Incorporated started in 1910 after W. Starling Burgess and Greely S. Curtis (which later funded his own affair), co-founders, and Frank Henry Russell (Former manager of the Wright Company's Dayton factory) funded it in 1910. An offshoot of the earlier W. Starling Burgess Shipyard (Marblehead, Massachusetts), the company was simply known as "Burgess". It became the first licensed aircraft manufacturer in the United States starting in February 1911 with Wright, charged licensing fees of $1000 per aircraft, $100 per exhibition flight. The 1912 Burgess/Wright Model F had pontoons in violation of the Wright's license agreement, which was terminated by mutual consent in January 1914. The manufacturer became the Burgess Company short, to avoid confusion with the new Curtiss Company. However the latter continued as Treasurer and major shareholder of Burgess. W. Starling Burgess designed (and flight tested) many of his new models out of Marblehead plant while Curtis acted as financial and engineering adviser and Frank Henry Russell was the head of production operations. Soon after, the Burgess Company was acquired by Curtiss and from there, operated as a manufacturing subsidiary. Burgess therefore concentrated from 1916 on Curtiss's naval training aircrafts under the Burgess name; It was not bankruptcy but fire that destroyed all the factory assets on November 8, 1918, ended the story.

Burgess-Dune BD-9
The Burgess-Dune BD-9 floatplane over the SS Asbury Park: A very unusual delta biplane configuration, which left an excellent frontal view


Burgess concentrated on military seaplanes and other models. The Burgess H (S.C. No. 9) in August 1912 became the first military tractor. The Model F seaplane (Wright Model B design with pontoons) started in in September 1913, was used by the Signal Corps in the Philippines-based flying school. In December 1914, one of these (S.C. No. 17) tested a two-way air-to-ground radio communications. Outside the Curtiss N-9 which production started in 1916 (681 for the Navy) Burgess also manufactured the Herring-Burgess A which controls were designed by Augustus Herring, the Model B trainer, the model D or "Curtiss pusher" (1 built), the Model E, a Grahame-White Baby licenced copy (1 built), and the Burgess Model H (6 or 7 depending on sources). The Burgess Model G was only a blueprint of a modified Wright Model B, while one Burgess HT-2 Speed Scout was tested by the navy and one Burgess HT-1 Scout by the Army in the Philippines, the Burgess Model I was a seaplane also used by the Army in the same area, the Burgess J Scout (1 built) was a modified Wright Type C. The Burgess Type O Gunbus was a successful pusher fighter biplane only delivered to the british RNAS, the Burgess Model S was a navy flying boat and the Burgess Model U, an army one, both seeing a small production. Another model was a collaborative effort: The Burgess-Dunne was a licenced production, Canada's first military aircraft. it was a tailless biplane designed by J. W. Dunne in UK with central floats. it was also tested by the U.S. Navy in 1914, a derivative named Burgess-Dunne AH-7 in 1914, while the Army purchased a single one as a replacement in 1913. Here follows true production models of the Company.

Burgess D
A single Burgess model D was tested by the Army.

Burgess HT-2
A single HT-2/HT-B "Speed Scout" was used by the Navy, but here a model H is shown.

Burgess HT-B
Blueprint of the 1916 Burgess HT-B (aviastar.org)

Burgess Gunbus
Burgess Gunbus for the RNAS (aviadejavu.ru)
  • Burgess Model B (1910): (?) Biplane pusher
  • Burgess Model H (1912): (6-7) Biplane tractor
  • Burgess Type O Gunbus (36)
  • Burgess Model S/U (12) floatplane
  • Burgess-Dune D.8 (4) Delta-wing biplane

Burgess B

To Come

Burgess H

Burgess H
The Burgess H was used by the 1st Aero Squadron, North Island (later Rockwell Field), San Diego, California.

To Come

Burgess-Dunne D.8

Dunne D.8
Also called Dunne D.8 this was a rare, but successful V-wing biplane, here shown at Farnborough, 11 March 1914.

The Burgess-Dunne was the result of acquiring the licence for producing the remarkable D.8, mostly as single-float planes, and called Burgess-Dunne BDI. First flown in March 1914 piloted by Clifford Webster this plane had wingtip floats but for the rest was a faithful copy of the v-shaped biplane D8, however with a fuselage fitted with a nacelle containing a more enclosed cockpit. This single-seater called Burgess-Dunne BD had a more powerful 100 hp (75 kW) Curtiss OXX2 water-cooled engine. For stability and balance it was moved forwards, while the fuselage was shortened and the radiator moved between the engine and pilot (this was a pusher). The central float was 5.38 m long, of flat-bottomed and single step design.

Two prototypes were built and tested, but on the second, BDH, a second seat was added in place of the single radiator (now two, moved elsewhere). The Canadian government acquired it for its new Aviation Corps (The first Canadian military plane) which was to participate in World War I, but was badly damaged in transit and eventually never repaired. The third prototype was a two-seater powered by a Salmson M-9 radial engine (135 hp) used by the US Signal Corps, while two more were ordered by the US Navy (Type AH-7 and AH-10). They had a lighter 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss engine and 100 hp Curtiss engine respectively, setting the American altitude record (10,000 ft, 3,050 m) on April 1915. The Burgess-Dunne BDF was another prototype, a three-seater flying boat with a span increased to 53 ft (16 m).


Wingspan: 46 ft 0 in (14.02 m), 545 sq ft (50.6 m2) area.
Weight: 1,400 lb (635 kg) empty, 1,900 lb (862 kg) loaded.
Engine: Gnome 7-cylinder rotary, 80 hp (60 kW), top speed: 56 mph (90 km/h; 49 kn), climb in 500 ft/min (2.5 m/s)

Burgess Type O "Gunbus"

To come

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