Come to the Pearson Air Museum at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to view the construction progress on a 1912 Curtiss Pusher airplane replica. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the methods and materials used to recreate this historic aircraft, and talk with National Park Service volunteers and staff about the project.
Over the past year, a skilled crew of National Park Service volunteers have been building a full size replica of Silas Christofferson’s 1912 Curtiss Pusher, utilizing copies of original Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company plans, period articles on airplane construction, and photographs of Christofferson’s 1912 airplane. Christofferson’s Pusher was used on demonstration flights from the Vancouver Barracks Polo Grounds in 1912, and was famously flown off the roof of Portland’s Multnomah Hotel in June 1912 to land at Vancouver Barracks. Materials identical to those used in the construction of the original aircraft—such as Sitka spruce, bamboo, steel tubes, and cotton fabric—are being utilized, along with some period construction techniques. Though the airplane will include an original engine—a Curtiss OX-5 V-8 block—there are no plans to fly the airplane, and it will be a static display.
Pearson Air Museum is located at 405 E. 5th St. in Vancouver. The gate will be open near the northeastern corner of the building. Signs will direct visitors to the parking lot. There’s no admission charge to view the plane.