Project Description





Travel Air 4000

Role:  Biplane aircraft

National Origin: United States

Manufacturer: Travel air, Curtiss-Wright

First Flight: 1925

Primary User: Private Owners, aerial sightseeing businesses

Number Built: 1300

The Travel Air 2000/3000/4000 (originally, the Model A, Model B and Model BH and later marketed as a Curtiss-Wright product under the names CW-14, Speedwing, Sportsman and Osprey), were open-cockpit biplane aircraft produced in the United States in the late 1920s by the Travel Air Manufacturing Company. During the period from 1924–1929, Travel Air produced more aircraft than any other American manufacturer, including over 1,000 biplanes (some estimates range from 1,200 to nearly 2,000).

Travel Air biplanes were widely used in 1920s/1930s war movies, particularly to represent the airplanes they were patterned after: Germany’s Fokker D-VII fighter, the top fighter of World War I. In the motion picture industry, they were known as “Wichita Fokkers.” In fact, Hollywood’s demand for Travel Air biplanes was so intense that Travel Air’s California salesman, Fred Hoyt, coaxed Travel Air co-founder and principal airplane designer, Lloyd Stearman, to come to Venice, California in 1926 to exploit the movie industry demand for his aircraft by starting a short-lived independent Stearman Aircraft Company (re-opened back in Wichita in 1927).

Some of the many movies using Travel Air biplanes (2000 and 4000, in particular) included:

  • Wings (1927) (Lauded for its technical accuracy, it won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Picture)
  • Flying Fool (1929) (Pathè film, one of the early leading roles for William Boyd, later famous as “Hopalong Cassidy”)
  • Hell’s Angels (1930) (Howard Hughes’ extravagant war epic)
  • The Dawn Patrol (1930)
  • Heartbreak (1931)
  • Ace Of Aces (1933) featured five Travel Air Model Bs, and numerous other planes.
  • Hell in the Heavens (1933)
  • Flying Devils (1933)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 2 passengers
  • Length: 23 ft 7 in (7.19 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 0 in (9.45 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
  • Wing area: 248.0 sq ft (23.04 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,772 lb (804 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,870 lb (1,302 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 58 US gal (48 imp gal; 220 L)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming R-670, 22hp


  • Maximum speed: 155 mph (249 km/h; 135 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 132 mph (212 km/h; 115 kn)
  • Stall speed: 56 mph (90 km/h; 49 kn)
  • Range: 530 mi (461 nmi; 853 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)