U.S. Air Service




Curtiss H-12
Flying Boat

Development and Operation

Up until the entry of the United States into the war the sole domestic aircraft designer and manufacturer who had a routine business with the Allied powers was the Curtiss Company. The H-12 design of late 1916 was a significantly scaled-up version of earlier H-boat designs. Initially intended to be powered by two 160 hp Curtiss V-X-X engines, these were deemed unsatisfactory by the British, who substituted 275 hp Rolls Royce Eagle engines in the aircraft which they purchased.

As U.S. participation in the war became imminent the U.S. Navy was finally able to purchase these twin-engined flying boats. The first of 20 H-12's were delivered in March 1917. Engines were the 200 Curtiss V-2-3 type which were later replaced by Liberty engines. The serial numbers of these aircraft were A152 and A765-A783.

While the H-12 served in the RNAS in England, the U.S. Navy opted not to assign the machine to foreign duty. Therefore, active service by the Nay was limited to anti-submarine patrol duty at domestic naval air stations.


Aircraft and Flight Characteristics

Curtiss H-12 Patrol-Bomber Flying Boat with Two 360 hp Liberty engines




92 ft 8 1/2 inches


46 ft. 6 inches


16 ft. 6 inches




7293 lbs.


10,650 lbs.


Four flexible 0.303 in Lewis Machine Guns and four 100 lb. or two 230 lb. bombs


  1. Bowers, Peter, Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947
  2. Photo from the author.

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