A fully restored 1914 Curtis Flying Boat was cleared by the FAA for test flights after it was rebuilt by Pangborn Airport-based Century Aviation. A small group of invited guests watched on as the vintage bi-plane was eased into the water and taxied out onto the lake. Company owners, Mark Smith and Karen Barrow were commissioned to do the restoration by Bill Nutt, a Florida businessman, for the non-profit Collings Foundation. Smith and Barrow started work on the project in 2016. The aircraft reportedly maneuvered well in the water but the first two attempts to lift off were scuttled due to some mechanical issues.
But the third time was the charm thanks to Century Aviation’s team of highly skilled engineers who made the necessary repairs. The plane took off and flew about 50 ft over the water at a distance of about a quarter mile. It landed and then took off two more times before it was removed from the lake. Bill Nutt says the plane will now be transported to New York where it will be reassembled for a second test flight. For Century Aviation its on to the next project, A Curtis “Jenny” biplane similar to one they built for the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon