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The Pulitzer Air Races: American Aviation and Speed Supremacy, 1920-1925
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As the others chugged along, engines quit at the most awkward moments, airframes broke on hard landings, and pilots got lost and sometimes landed in the wrong country. He and all the other starters learned valuable lessons about the need for pre-race preparation, practice, and a qualified ground crew. The race was held July at Eastchurch, England, and provided the closest finish in any race to date, along with the first race-modified airplane seen.

He failed to complete his first pylon turn, slamming into the ground and demolishing his airplane, while escaping with no serious injuries. The surprise winner was Charles Weymann, an American born in Haiti, whose Clean hp Nieuport completed the 25 laps of the 6-km. Third was Edward Nieuport in one of his own airplanes in The formula for long-term success in air racing was taking shape: more horsepower and less aerodynamic drag.

The Circuit of Britain Race. Half of them were British aeroplanes, flown by British pilots. Only one Britisher finished, with the winner being Lt. Conneau in a Bleriot, who completed the course in 22 hours, 28 minutes to average 45 mph. Emile Vedrines was second in a new type, the Deperdussin monoplane, as was third-placer James Valentine.

The top British finisher was Samuel Cody in one of his own biplanes. With this, the superiority of the monoplane was well on the way to becoming established. The winners of all three races flew them, as did two of the runners-up. The First Handicap Air Race.

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Hendon Aerodrome, now the site of the RAF Museum, north of London, was the scene on April 14th of the first organized rather than impromptu handicap race. Many hundreds of such races have been held in England right up to the present, in which the greatly varying speeds of the airplanes are balanced out by handicapped starting times. This permits a wide variety of airplanes to be raced.

This kind of racing stresses piloting skill, and traditionally produces very close finishes. Coupe Deutsch de la Muerthe Race. The first of three separate series of races sponsored by Henri Deutsch de la Muerthe, a French newspaper tycoon, was for a single mile km. The winner was Emmanuel Helen, in a 70 hp Nieuport, who covered the course in 1 hour, 36 minutes, averaging The first in another series of major races was run on June 8 at Hendon Aerodrome. It consisted of a single lap of 81 miles. The winner, in a field of six monoplanes and one biplane, was T. Sopwith in a two-seat Bleriot in for a speed of Second was Gustave Hamel in an identical airplane, and third was W.

Rhodes-Morehouse in Radley-Morehouse, which resembled a Bleriot, but had a fully enclosed fuselage. The race was for 30 laps of the 4. A small crowd was on hand, due in part to the poor location, and to advance publicity which predicted a runaway win by the French.

The French completed the expected Clean sweep. First was Jules Vedrines, in a slick Deperdussin monoplane, in for a record speed of Maurice Prevost was second in an identical airplane, in for Andre Frey, flying a Hanriot monoplane, dropped out late in the race while averaging 94 mph. Speed flying was fast becoming the preserve of the French, who held most of the important world records and trophies. The First Schneider Cup Race. Jacques Schneider was a great supporter of water-borne aircraft, even though the first seaplane had flown barely two years before.

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His new Schneider Cup Race series was aimed at stimulating technical progress in seaplanes by offering cash prizes and a trophy which would soon achieve great stature in aviation. The first race was held over the Mediterranean Sea, just offshore at Monaco, on April Of six seaplanes at the site, four were ready to start the lap race around a km.

One, Roland Garros in a Morane-Saulnier, was delayed in starting. Prevost was timed at for He originally finished while on the water, then had to take off again and complete a flying finish.

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Garros eventually finished but was not timed. Competitively, it was not much of a race, but it lit a fire which soon blazed throughout aviation. Eleven of the original 15 entries started the race, with the winner being Gustave Hamel in another severely clipped-wing Morane-Saulnier. In second was R. Barnwell, flying a Martin-Handasyde at The race was held on September 29 at Reims, site of the historic first race in Eight of the nine entries flew monoplanes, and only Henri Crombez, a Belgian, interrupted what would have been an all-French field after Great Britain, Germany and the USA had withdrawn.

The race consisted of 20 laps of the km. The cylinder, hp Gnome-powered Deperdussins dominated a very close race, with Maurice Prevost winning at a record Barely a minute behind him at the finish was Emile Vedrines, the brother of Jules, in a Ponnier at Just as close behind him was Eugene Gilbert in a second Deperdussin at Bringing up the rear was Crombez in a third Deperdussin, at The superiority of this type of wonderfully streamlined monoplane was proven beyond question.

The final race in the first series of Coupe Deutsch Races was held October 27 on a course around Paris.

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The winner was Eugene Gilbert in a Deperdussin Monocoque at an average speed of This was the last gasp for the highly successful make of racers, as manufacturer Armand Deperdussin was imprisoned for having established his company with embezzled money. His company then became part of S.

The Second Schneider Cup Race. The second race in this series was held April 20 at the same place as the first, and conducted over the same course and for the same number of laps. At least 11 seaplanes were entered, while five started and just two finished.

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All the entries were standard types, many of them landplanes with pontoons added. His speed of almost 87 mph was almost double the race record, and could not be approached by any known seaplane. The only other finisher was Ernest Burri, of Switzerland, in an F. He finished more than an hour later, due in part to the need to land and re-fuel.