Curtiss-Wright CW-12

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CW-12 Sport Trainer and CW-16 Light Sport
Curtiss travel air cw-12q g-aaok arp.jpg
Curtiss-Wright Travel Air CW-12W (built 2009)
Role Civil trainer
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright
First flight 1931
Status Some airworthy in 2009
Primary user Private owners
Number built 63

The Curtiss-Wright CW-12 Sport Trainer and CW-16 Light Sport (also marketed under the Travel Air brand that Curtiss-Wright had recently acquired) were high-performance training aircraft designed by Herbert Rawdon and Ted Wells and built in the United States in the early 1930s.


The CW-12 and CW-16 shared the same basic design as conventional single-bay biplanes with staggered wings braced with N-struts. The pilot and instructor sat in tandem, open cockpits, the forward cockpit of the CW-12 having a single seat, while the CW-16's forward cockpit could seat two passengers side-by-side. Both versions of the aircraft were available in a variety of engine choices, and some CW-16s were exported as trainers to the air forces of Bolivia and Ecuador.


Curtiss Travel Air 16E at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum
  • CW-16E - version powered by Wright J-6 Whirlwind 5 engine (10 built)
  • CW-16K - version powered by Kinner B-5 engine (11 built)
  • CW-16W - version powered by Warner Scarab engine (1 built)


Civil owners in USA and United Kingdom

  • Argentine Navy purchased 15 CW-16Es in 1935, with 13 more possibly being built from 1938. The type remained in use until 1949.[1]
  • Brazilian Air Force received 15 CW-16Ws, with 125 hp (93 kW) Warner Scarab engines in 1935, the type remaining in service until 1940.[2]
  • Ecuadorian Air Force purchased six CW-16Es in 1935, with three more CW-16s following in 1936. Three remained in use until 1944.[3]

Specifications (CW-12Q)[edit]

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two, pilot and instructor
  • Length: 21 ft 5 in (6.52 m)
  • Wingspan: 28 ft 10 in (8.78 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
  • Wing area: 206 ft2 (19.1 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,017 lb (486 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,725 lb (782 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss-Wright licence-built de Havilland Gipsy, 90 hp (67 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 105 mph (169 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 88 mph (142 km/h)
  • Range: 390 miles (628 km)
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,660 m)
  • Rate of climb: 600 ft/min (3.0 m/s)


  1. ^ Hagedorn Air Enthusiast March to May 1992, p. 76.
  2. ^ a b c Hagedorn Air Enthusiast March to May 1992, p. 75.
  3. ^ Hagedorn Air Enthusiast March to May 1992, pp. 75–76.
  4. ^ Bowers 1979, p.403.
  • Bowers, Peter M. (1979). Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10029-8. 
  • Hagedorn, Dan (March–May 1992). "Curtiss Types In Latin America". Air Enthusiast. No. Forty-five. pp. 61–77. ISSN 0143-5450. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 288. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 891 Sheet 54. 

See also[edit]