Curtiss 18T-2 Wasp

The Curtiss 18T, unofficially known as the Wasp and by the United States Navy as the Kirkham, was an early American triplane fighter aircraft designed by Curtiss for the US Navy. The Curtiss 18T was intended to protect bombing aircraft over France, and a primary requisite for this job was speed. Speed was not the triplane's only salient feature: an 18T-2 set a new altitude record in 1919 of 34,910 ft. The streamlined and very "clean" fuselage contributed to the aircraft's performance. The basic construction was based on cross-laminated strips of wood veneer formed on a mold and attached to the inner structure. The technique was a refinement of that used on the big Curtiss flying boats.

Flown by Roland Rholfs, the 18T achieved a world speed record of 163 mph in August 1918 carrying a full military load of 1,076 lb.

The Model 18T-2 was an improved version of its predecessor, with 50 additional horsepower. The wings of the new model were swept back. It was also 5 ft  longer with a 9 ft larger two-bay wing, though its operational ceiling was 2,000 ft lower.

After World War I, it was employed as a racing plane: an 18T-2 nearly won the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race in 1922 (limited to U.S. Navy pilots), but the pilot, Lt. Sanderson ran out of fuel just before the finish line.