The Curtiss "Pusher"

Curtiss Pusher
The Curtiss Pusher replica and model on display at Pearson Air Museum.

NPS Photo

The Curtiss "Pusher" was the first mass produced airplane, and is a hallmark of early aviation during the 1911-1914 time period. It was designed by Glenn H. Curtiss, and built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Hammondsport, New York.

The Pusher got its name from the rearward facing motor and propellor, which "pushed" the aircraft through the air. It set many world aviation firsts, including the first flight from a ship and the first landing on a ship.

During the summers of 1911-1913, the US Army at Vancouver Barracks hosted an "Aviation Camp" on the Polo Grounds located west of where Fort Vancouver stands today, and Curtiss Pushers were a common sight flying in the area. Early pilots such as Charles Walsh, Silas Christofferson, and Walter Edwards all piloted Curtiss Pushers from this field.

Today, Pearson Air Museum at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is home to a full-scale replica of Silas Christofferson's 1912 Curtiss Pusher. This replica was built by National Park Service volunteers from 2016 to 2018, and is now part of the national historic site's museum collection. It replicates the plane Christofferson flew from the rooftop of the Multnomah Hotel to Vancouver Barracks in 1912.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Last updated: April 14, 2023