Martin TT and Curtiss JN-4, Mexico, January 1917

Martin TT and Curtiss JN-4, Mexico, January 1917

Here we see a Martin TT and a Curtiss JN-4 at Black Butte camp in Lower California, Mexico, during a hunt for Lt. W.A. Robertson and Lt Colonel H.G. Bishop, who had gone missing in the area early in 1917.

The aircraft on the left can easily be identified as Martin TT no.50, but the aircraft on the right is awkwardly placed so we can't make out its serial number. The original caption has it as an JN-2, but the tail is wrong. The JN-3 had a similar tail to the one partly seen here, but only two went to the US Army and both were gone by the time this picture was taken. The level wings suggests that this is an early JN-4, which were very similar to the JN-3.

The picture was also incorrectly dated, to November 1916. The incident in question actually took place in January 1917. On 10 January 1917 Lt W. A. Robertson took off in Training Aircraft 62 (possibly a Curtiss N-8 if that is the serial number) to fly from North Island, San Diego, to fly to Yuma, Arizona, carrying Lt. Col. H.G. Bishop of the Field Officers School as a passenger. After a couple of hours they ran out of fuel and made a forced landing. It soon became clear that they had been blown some way off course, and instead of being in southern California were actually over the border in Mexico near the Sonora Desert. A large rescue effort was mounted, from a temporary camp at Black Butte, 18 miles south of the border. However none of the aircraft actually found the missing men, who eventually reached safety under their own steam, after Robertson found two Mexicans who were out searching for him.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 May 2020), Martin TT and Curtiss JN-4, Mexico, January 1917 ,

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