Howard Bunce was just a teenager when he first saw airplanes flying above Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, CT in July 1910.
A native of Berlin, CT, Howard Bunce was obsessed with flight. After witnessing the first heavier-than-air aircraft flights in Connecticut in July 1910, Bunce built his own version of the Curtiss Pusher, finishing it two years later in 1912. Howard Bunce was just 17 years old at the time.
Although Bunce’s plane was not known to have made sustained flight, it did make “hop flights.” Unfortunately, Bunce’s aircraft crashed into a telegraph wire over the Berlin Fairgrounds. Bunce was unhurt, but his aircraft was damaged. He went on to build another version, and the wreckage of his first plane was put into his family’s barn.
Howard Bunce died young in the late 1920s from complications with dental surgery, and his wrecked Curtiss Pusher continued to sit in the family barn. It was discovered by members of CAHA in 1962, and brought to the museum for restoration.
The Bunce Curtiss Pusher is believed to be the oldest surviving Connecticut-built airplane in existence. The Bunce is used to teach visitors about the early years of flight, and how many elements of early flight are still used in aircraft today.
Click HERE to learn more about the New England Air Museum's Bunce Curtiss Pusher.