horsepower 8-cylinder Curtiss "0" engine, but the gyro mechanism subtracted part of the effective power; and the single float added weight and head resistance which would
introduce more new control factors for pilot Goodier. The test began as a routine practice flight until the engine started to fail and with a 20 mile-per-hour wind coming from the
Pacific, the ocean was too rough to land on and the lieutenant attempted to make a low level turn. In making a turn, it was necessary to nose down thereby adding the force of
gravity to the engine power. Lieutenant Goodier did not neglect that essential maneuver, but while turning, one wing-tip touched the water and the plane cartwheeled into Spanish
Bight with distressing complications for the unfortunate pilot. From the front of the boat to the engine support, there was no strut or brace; consequently upon striking the water it
broke into two parts, just rear of the pilot, folding back with Lieutenant Goodier pinned between the control wheel and the engine. He was knocked completely unconscious and
received a compound fracture of the skull, but fortunately, in water so shallow that his head stayed above the water line. Although badly hurt, he recovered and later returned to
duty. The plane was completely wrecked.
Goodier's crash and the wreck of S.C. No. 15 very shortly after it was placed in service brought further testing by the Army of Mr. Sperry's automatic stabilizer to a temporary halt. S.C. No. 15 was returned to the Curtiss North Island facility to be repaired. Lieutenant Geiger then suggested that a "two-place" flying boat such as one seen at the New York air show the previous year, be shipped to San Diego, as a substitute machine, but the Army would not have purchased another machine in this manner. Finally, on March 10, 1913, the parts needed to repair S.C. No. 15 arrived from the Curtiss factory in Hammondsport and reconstruction of the airplane was begun.
By now, accidents and fatalities had been increasing at such an appalling rate, that Congress passed a law on March 2, 1913 establishing the first "flight pay" for military aviators—a stipend that would amount to an additional 35% of base pay, but one had to survive in order to collect it.
During reconstruction, S.C. No. 15 was modified to prevent injuries similar to those sustained by Lieutenant Goodier. A post extending from the X-bracing under the engine bearers to the bow of the boat forward of the cockpit was added, to prevent the hull from jackknifing and collapsing into the engine during a rough landing, or a crash. This bow-strut became a standard feature of all subsequent Model Fs built by Curtiss and was known as the "Goodier Strut."
During the week of March 22nd, the rebuilt and modified machine was returned to the school and Lieutenant Geiger put it back in commission, saying "We have a two-place boat which will add about 24 pounds to the machine. This boat was on exhibition at the Aero Show in New York and it presents a very handsome appearance." This vague reference to a two-place seaplane that had been on display in New York appears to be to its hull design and this more advanced type of hull was presumably fitted to S.C. No. 15 when it was repaired. The rebuilt machine now had a hull with a rounded nose of wood veneer replacing the former cloth covering, but retained fabric enclosures at the sides of the cockpit. In this new form Lieutenant Geiger test flew S.C. No. 15 and wrote, "This machine seems to have much more power and arises from the water in a very short time, both with and against the wind." With its increased performance, the flying boat was reassigned for flight training duties and further testing of the Sperry Automatic Pilot.