From Pilot Training to Barnstorming: the History of the Jenny
But it wasn’t until the war ended that the Jenny saw widespread popularity. The government sold hundreds of surplus JN-4s for $300 (roughly $4,130 today), flooding the market. Thousands of pilots learned to fly in a Jenny, including Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. The nimble Jennys gave birth to barnstorming, a form of entertainment in which stunt pilots performed tricks, both individually and in groups called flying circuses. Pilots toured the country, performing tricks or offering rides to paying customers, making the Jenny the first plane many Americans ever saw.
The Jenny was famous for firsts. It was the first plane to carry mail for the US Postal Service, and was also the first plane to successfully communicate plane-to-plane and ground-to-plane via radiotelephony. The removable deck behind the cockpits allowed for conversion to a stretcher, helping the Jenny to become the first aerial ambulance.