During the 1920s and 1930s airshows and air races became very popular. Not only did these air races create great interest in aviation, but they also provided the incentive for manufacturers to build better and faster aircraft. Air races were the prime sporting event in this country. The races grew to a ten-day event and large crowds of over a million people were common. Today the National Air Races are held annually at Reno, Nevada.

Pre-war Thompson Trophy Records

Pilot Ship and Motor Prize Money Speed mph
1930
Charles W. Holman, 1st
James G. Haizlip, 2nd
Ben 0. Howard, 3rd
Paul T. Adams, 4th
Capt. Page
Erett Williams
Frank Hawks
 
Laird LC-DW-300 "Solution" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Travelair "R" "Mystery" - Wright R-975
Howard DGA-3 "Pete" - Wright Gipsy
Travelair Speedwing - Wright
Curtiss XF6C-6 - Curtiss D-12
Wedell-Williams "We-Winc"- Wright R-765
Travelair "R" "Mystery" - Wright R-975
 
$5000.00
 3000.00
 2000.00
  . . .  
Out Lap 17
Out Lap  8
Out Lap  3
 
201.91
199.80
162.80
142.64
CRASH
1931
Lowell Bayles, 1st
James R. Wedell, 2nd
Dale Jackson, 3rd
Robert L. Hall, 4th
Ira C. Eaker, 5th
Ben 0. Howard, 6th
William Ong, 7th
James H. Doolittle
 
Gee Bee "Model Z" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Laird LC-DW-300 "Solution" - Wright R-975
Gee Bee "Model Y" - P&W Wasp C
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Howard DGA-3 "Pete" - Wright Gipsy
Laird - Wright Whirlwind
Laird LC-DG-500 "Super Solution" - P&W Wasp Jr.
 
$7500.00
4500.00
3000.00
. . .  
. . .  
. . .  
. . .
Out lap 7
 
236.239
227.992
211.183
201.511
192.821
163.513
153.049
1932
James H. Doolittle, 1st
James R. Wedell, 2nd
Roscoe Turner, 3rd
James G. Haizlip, 4th
Lee Gehlbach, 5th
Robert Hall, 6th
William Ong, 7th
 
Gee Bee "Model R-1" - P&W Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Gee Bee "Model R-2" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Springfield "Bulldog" - P&W Wasp
Howard DGA-5 "Ike" - Menasco Buccaneer
 
$4500.00
2500.00
1500.00
1000.00
500.00
. . .
. . .
 
252.686
242.496
233.042
231.30
222.09
215.570
191.073
1933
James R. Wedell, 1st
Lee Gehlbach, 2nd
Roy Minor, 3rd
George Hague, 4th
Z. D. Granville, 5th
Roscoe Turner
 
Wedell.Williams "44" - P&W Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Howard DGA-4 "Mike" - Menasco Buccaneer
Keith-Rider "R-2" - Menasco Pirate
Gee Bee "Model Y" - P&W Wasp C
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp
 
$3375.00
1875.00
1125.00
750.00
375.00
disqualified
 
237.952
224.947
199.870
183.206
173.079
1934
Roscoe Turner, 1st
Roy T. Minor, 2nd
J. A. Worthen, 3rd
Harold Neumann, 4th
Roger Don Rae, 5th
Art Chester, 6th
Doug Davis
Lee Miles
 
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
Brown Special - Menasco
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp
Howard DGA-4 "Ike" - Menasco Buccaneer
Keith-Rider - Menasco
Chester Special - Menasco
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp
Miles & Atwood Special - Menasco
 
$4500.00
2500.00
1500.00
1000.00
500.00
. . .
Out Lap 8
Out Lap 12
 
248.129
214.929
208.376
207.064
205.358
191.597
CRASH
1935
Harold Neumann, 1st
S. J. Wittman, 2nd
Roger Don Rae, 3rd
Joe Jacobson, 4th
Lee Miles, 5th
Marion McKeen, 6th
Roscoe Turner
 
Howard DGA-6 "Mr. Mulligan" - P&W Wasp
Wittman "Bonzo" - Curtiss D12
Keith-Rider - Menasco
Howard DGA-4 "Mike" - Menasco Buccaneer
Seversky SEV-3 Amphibian - Wright Cyclone
Brown Racer - Menasco
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
 
$6750.00
3750.00
2250.00
1500.00
375.00
375.00
Out 130+ miles
 
220.194
218.686
213.942
209.103
193.594
188.859
1936
Michel Detroyat, 1st
Earl Ortman, 2nd
Roger Don Rae, 3rd
Harold Neumann, 4th
Marion McKeen, 5th
Harry Crosby, 6th
Leon Atwood
 
Caudron Special C-460 - Renault
Keith-Rider - P&W Wasp
Rider Racer - Menasco
Folkerts Special - Menasco
Brown B2 - Menasco
Crosby Special - Menasco
GMD R-6H "Q.E.D." - P&W Hornet
 
$9500.00
4375.00
2450.00
1575.00
1225.00
875.00
Out lap 11
 
264.261
248.04
236.55
233.07
230.55
226.07
1937
R. A. Kling, 1st
Earl Ortman, 2nd
Roscoe Turner, 3rd
F. Sinclair, 4th
S. J. Wittman, 5th
Ray Moore, 6th
C. H. Gotch, 7th
Joe Mackey
Marion McKeen
 
Kling SK-3."Jupiter" - Menasco
Marcoux-Bromberg R-3 - P&W Tw. Wasp Jr.
Laird-Turner LTR-14 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Seversky P-35 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Wittman "Bonzo" - Curtiss D12
Seversky P-35 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Schoen-Rider - Menasco
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
"Miss Los Angeles" - Menasco
 
$9000.00
5000.00
3000.00
2000.00
1000.00
300.00
250.00
out lap 17
out lap 13
 
256.910
256.858
253.802
252.360
250.108
238.411
217.810
1938
Roscoe Turner, 1st
Earl Ortman, 2nd
S. J. Wittman, 3rd
Leigh Wade, 4th
Joe Mackey, 5th
Joe Jacobson, 6th
Harry Crosby
Art Chester
 
Laird-Turner LTR-14 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Marcoux-Bromberg - P&W Tw. Wasp Jr.
Wittman "Bonzo" - Curtiss D-12
Military Aircraft HM-1 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
Keith-Rider R-6 - Menasco
Crosby CR-4 - Menasco
"The Goon"- Menasco
 
$22000.00
9000.00
4500.00
2500.00
1800.00
1400.00
out lap 10
. . .
 
283.419
269.718
259.187
249.842
249.628
214.570
1939
Roscoe Turner, 1st
Tony LeVier, 2nd
Earl Ortman, 3rd
Harry Crosby, 4th
S. J. Wittman, 5th
Joe Mackey, 6th
Art Chester
 
Laird-Turner LTR-14 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Schoenfeldt "Firecracker" - Menasco
Marcoux-Bromberg - P&W Tw. Wasp
Crosby CR-4 - Menasco
Wittman "Bonzo" - Curtiss D-12
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
"The Goon"- Menasco
 
$16000.00
8000.00
4000.00
2500.00
1500.00
1000.00
out lap 17
 
282.536
272.538
254.435
244.522
241.361
232.926
Pre-war Bendix Trophy Records

Pre-war Bendix Trophy Records

Pilot Ship and Motor Prize Money Aver.
Speed mph Time
 1931 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
J. H. Doolittle, 1st
H. S. Johnson, 2nd
Beeler Blevins, 3rd
Ira C. Eaker, 4th
Arthur Goebel, 5th
James G. Hall, 6th
 
Laird "Super Solution" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
 
$7500.00*
4500.00  
3000.00  
 
233.058   9:10:21
199.816   9;10:14:22
188.992   10:49:33
188.070   10:59:45
171.500   11:55:48
159.187   12:51:16
1931 Burbank to Newark - Doolittle continued on to Newark, NJ to make it in 11:16:10 with three stops
which beat Frank Hawks' August 13, 1931 record of 12:24 in his Texaco No.13 Travel Air Model R
which in turn beat the Lindbergh's April 21, 1930 record of 14:45 in their Lockheed Sirius
1932 - Burbank to Cleveland
James G. Haizlip, 1st
James R. Wedell, 2nd
Roscoe Turner, 3rd
Lee Gehlbach, 4th
Claire Vance
 
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Willlams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Gee Bee "Model R-2" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Viking
 
$6750.00*
3750.00  
2250.00  
1500.00  
. . .  
 
245.   8:19:45
8:47:31
9:02:25
9:41:39
1932 Burbank to NYC - Haizlip continued on to NYC to make it in 10:19 with two stops as did Roscoe Turner in 10:58
both beating Doolittle's 1931 record of 11:16
1933 - New York to Los Angeles
Roscoe Turner, 1st
J. R. Wedell, 2nd
Lee Gehlbach
Amelia Earhart
Russell Boardman
Russell Thaw
 
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Lockheed Vega -
Gee Bee "Model R-1" - P&W Hornet
Gee Bee "Model R-2" - P&W Wasp
 
$5050.00*
2250.00  
. . .  
. . .  
crash
withdrew
 
214.78   11:30:00
209.23   11:58:18
1933 NYC to Burbank - The 1933 Bendix was an east-west transcontinental race
Turner set a new record of 11:30 and Wedell at 11:58 also beat Turner's own 1932 record of 12:33
which beat Frank Hawks' 1930 record of 14:50 in his Texaco No.13 Travel Air Model R
1933 -- not in the Bendix, on June 2, 1933, Captain Frank Hawks flying his Northrop Gamma, Texaco No.11 "Sky Chief", flew non-stop from from Los Angeles to Newark in 13:27 averaging 181 mph
1934 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
Doug Davis, 1st
J. A. Worthen, 2nd
Lee Gehlbach, 3rd
 
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "45" - P&W Wasp
GMD "Model R-6H" "Q.E.D." - P&W Hornet
 
$4500.00
2500.00
 
216.237   9:26:41
203.213   10:03:00
1935 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
Ben O. Howard, 1st
Roscoe Turner, 2nd
Russell Thaw, 3rd
Roy O. Hunt, 4th
Amelia Earhart, 5th
Earl Ortman
Jacckie Cochran
Royal Leonard
Cecil Allen
 
Howard DGA-6 "Mr. Mulligan" - P&W Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
Northrop Gamma - Wright Cyclone
Lockheed Orion - P&W Wasp
Lockheed Vega - P&W Wasp
Northrop Gamma - P&W Tw. Wasp Jr.
Keith Rider R-3 - P&W Wasp
GMD "Model R-6H" "Q.E.D." - P&W Hornet
Spirit of Right - P&W Hornet
 
$4500.00
2500.00
1500.00
1000.00
500.00
. . .  
. . .  
. . .  
crash at start
 
238.704   8:33:16
238.522   8:33:39
201.928   10:06:45
174.766   11:41:03
149.578   13:47:06
1936 -- not in the Bendix, on January 14, 1936, Howard Hughes broke the transcontinental U.S. speed record in Jackie Cochran's Northrop Gamma which he leased, rebuilt and outfitted with an 800 hp Wright G Cyclone. The 2,490-mile flight from Burbank to Newark took him 9:27:10 averaging 259.111 mph
1936 - New York to Los Angeles
Louise Thaden, 1st
Laura Ingalls, 2nd
William Gullck, 3rd
Geo. C. Pomeroy, 4th
Amelia Earhart, 5th
Joseph Jacobson
Ben O. Howard
Roscoe Turner
 
Beechcraft - Wright 420
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Vultee - Wright
Douglas - Wright
Lockheed - P&W Wasp
Northrop Gamma - Wright
Howard DGA-6 "Mr. Mulligan" - P&W Wasp
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
 
$7000.00
2500.00
1500.00
1000.00
500.00
exploded
crash
crash before start
 
166.060   14:55:00
15:39:38
15:45:25
16:16:51
16:34:53
1937 -- not in the Bendix, on January 19, 1937, Howard Hughes broke the transcontinental U.S. speed record in his H-l racer. The 2,490-mile flight from Los Angeles to Newark took him 7:28:25 averaging 332 mph
1937 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
Frank Fuller, 1st
Earl Ortman, 2nd
Jacqueline Cochran, 3rd
Frank Sinclair, 4th
Milo Burcham, 5th
Joe Mackey
 
Seversky SEV-S2 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Keith-Rider R-3 - P&W Tw. Wasp Jr.
Beechcraft D-17W - P&W Wasp
Seversky SEV-S - P&W Tw. Wasp
Lockheed - P&W Wasp Jr.
Wedell-Williams "44" - P&W Hornet
 
$13,000.00*
5,000.00  
5,500.00  
2,000.00  
1,000.00  
. . .
 
258.242   7:54:26
224.833   9:49:21
194.740   10:29:08
184.92   11:02:33
184.52   11:03:58
1937 Los Angeles to Bendix, NJ - Frank Fuller - 9:35 - a new record
1938 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
Jacqueline Cochran, 1st
Frank Fuller, Jr., 2nd
Paul Mantz, 3rd
Max Constant, 4th
Ross Hadley
John Hinchey
George Armistead
 
Seversky SEV-S - P&W Tw. Wasp
Seversky SEV-S2 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Lockheed Orion - Wright Cyclone
Beechcraft D-17S - P&W Wasp Jr.
Beechcraft D-17 - P&W Wasp Jr.
Spartan Executive - P&W Wasp Jr.
GMD "Model R-6H" "Q.E.D." - P&W Hornet
 
$12,500.00*
5,800.00  
3,000.00  
2,000.00  
. . .  
. . .  
. . .  
 
249.744   8:10:31
238.604   8:33:29
206.579   9:36:25
199.330   10:14:39
181.842   11:13:46
177.449   11:30:27
1938 Los Angeles to Bendix, NJ - Jacqueline Cochran - 10:07:01 - a new Women's Record
1939 - Los Angeles to Cleveland
Frank Fuller, Jr., 1st
Arthur Bussy, 2nd
Paul Mantz, 3rd
Max Constant, 4th
 
Seversky SEV-S2 - P&W Tw. Wasp
Bellanca 2892 - 1 Ranger-2 Menasco
Lockheed Orion - Wright Cyclone
Beechcraft D-17W - P&W Wasp Jr.
 
$15,000.00*
5,800.00  
3,000.00  
2,700.00  
 
282.098   7:14:19
244.486   8:21:08
234.875   8:41:38
231.366   8:49:33
1939 Los Angeles to Bendix, NJ - Frank Fuller - 8:58:8 - a new record
* includes additional purse for breaking record

Two of the Bendix races were won by women. 1936, Louise Thaden flew a Beechcraft with a 420 hp Wright to win the Bendix, New York to Los Angeles, at an average speed of 166.060 mph. In 1938 Jacqueline Cochran averaged 249.744 mph in a Seversky.

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