Travel by Way of a 1917 Flying Boat

Calling all airplane history buffs: an upcoming auction will be offering a 1917 Curtiss MF Seagull Flying Boat in Manhattan on April 13.

Bonhams, a privately owned auction house, is calling dibs on being the first to auction a vintage plane in the Big Apple. The antique beauty was taken from the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio and the sale of the flying boat is expected to garner between $300,000 and $500,000.

The classic aircraft was designed by leading pioneer of American aviation and the Wright Brothers’ archenemy, Glenn H. Curtiss. If you remember your history well, you know that the Wright Brothers flew first, but Curtiss is called a pioneer for a reason – he was the one that flew the first-ever public flight.

This particular pricey Seagull was built in Philly dockyards and was the 61st built in a batch of 80. The aircraft was first developed in 1917, from the original F model. And the “MF” part of its name comes from the phrase: modernized F-boat.

The vintage plane/boat was usually used as a naval trainer in Pensacola or Atlantic City, and throughout its years of flying experience, it only knew one owner – William H. Long, who made constant trips to Cedar Point Amusement Park.

Around 1945, right at the end of the Second World War, Long decided to give his beauty an upgrade and re-finished the entire aircraft. He then donated the Seagull to Cleveland’s Frederick C. Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.

It was on display at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, but it retired from public exhibition in recent times. Now, it’s your turn to own it.