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Curtiss Model H

The Curtiss Model H was a family of classes of early long-range flying boats, the first two of which were developed directly on commission in the United States in response to the £10,000 prize challenge issued in 1913 by the London newspaper, the Daily Mail, for the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic.

As the first aircraft having transatlantic range and cargo-carrying capacity, it became the grandfather development leading to early international commercial air travel, and by extension, to the modern world of commercial aviation.

The last widely produced class, the Model H-12, was retrospectively designated Model 6 by Curtiss’ company in the 1930s, and various classes have variants with suffixed letters indicating differences.

With the RNAS, H-12s and H-16s operated from flying boat stations on the coast in long-range anti-submarine and anti-Zeppelin patrols over the North Sea.

A total of 71 H-12s and 75 H-16s were received by the RNAS, commencing patrols in April 1917, with 18 H-12s and 30 H-16s remaining in service in October 1918.

U.S. Navy H-12s were kept at home and did not see foreign service but ran anti-submarine patrols from their own naval stations.

Twenty aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Navy.

Some of the H-16s, however, arrived at bases in the UK in time to see limited service just before the cessation of hostilities.


Model H-1 / Model 6

Original America intended for transatlantic crossing (two prototypes built)

Model H-2

 (One built)

Model H-4

Similar to H-1 for RNAS (62 built)

Model H-7

Super America

Model H-8

Enlarged version of the H-4 (one prototype built)

Model H-12 / Model 6A

Production version of H-8 with Curtiss V-X-X engines (104 built)

Model H-12A / Model 6B

RNAS version re-engined with Rolls-Royce Eagle I

Model H-12B / Model 6D

RNAS version re-engined with Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII

Model H-12L

USN version re-engined with Liberty engine

Model H-16 / Model 6C

Enlarged version of H-12 (334 built by Curtiss and Naval Aircraft Factory)

Model H-16-1

Model 16 fitted with pusher engines (one built)

Model H-16-2

Model 16 fitted with pusher engines and revised wing cellule (one built)


Model H-12A




46 ft 6 in (14.17 m)


92 ft 8.5 in (28.258 m)


16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)

Wing area

1,216 sq ft (113.0 m2)



Empty weight

7,293 lb (3,308 kg)

Gross weight

10,650 lb (4,831 kg)


2 × Rolls-Royce Eagle I V-12 water-cooled piston engines,

275 hp (205 kW) each


345 hp (257 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VII


375 hp (280 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII


4-bladed fixed-pitch propellers


Maximum speed

85 mph (137 km/h, 74 kn) at 2,000 ft (610 m)


6 hours

Service ceiling

10,800 ft (3,300 m)

Rate of climb

336 ft/min (1.71 m/s)

Time to altitude

2,000 ft (610 m) in 3 minutes 18 seconds

10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 29 minutes 48 seconds



4 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis guns on flexible mounts


4 × 100 lb (45 kg)


2 × 230 lb (100 kg) bombs below the wings.

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