Schneider Trophy Article (Pre-Race)

From Aviation, October 19, 1925.

The Schneider Cup Seaplane Race

Three Nations to Compete for Seaplane Speed Honors

The contest for the Jacques Schneider Maritime Seaplane Trophy, known as the Schnieder Cup Race, will be hed at Bay Shore Park, Maryland, near Baltimore on October 24, 1925. This trophy is now held by the U.S.Navy, having been won from Grat Britain in September 1923 by Lieut. David Rittenhouse, U.S.N. in the contest held at Cowes, England. His winning speed was 177.38 m.p.h. There was no contest for the Trophy in 1924, it being cancelled because of the lack of foreign competition.

The Navy entires in this race will be the Curtiss R3C1 racer flown by Lt. Al. Williams in the Pulitzer Trophy race and the third R3C1 racer, which was used in the preliminary test flights by both Lieutenats Bettis and Williams prior to thePulitzer race. This plane is identical with the Curtiss racers flown in the Pulitzer race itself. These machines are to be converted into float seaplanes. The Navy has also entered the Navy Curtiss R2C2, of 1923, which was converted into a seaplane last year, as a reserve.

In tirals last summer the R2C2, as a seaplane, made a speed of over 220 m.p.h., so that while the wo R3C-1 planes should prove even faster, the R2C2 will be a formidable contender if used. Lt. G.T.Cuddihy, U.S.N., and Lt. R. A. Ofstie, U.S.N. of the Plans Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics, will pilot the two R3C-1 seaplanes. Both of these pilots hold official world's seaplane records made last October at the Naval Air Meet at Bay Shore, Md., Lt. Cuddihy at this Meet, flying a Navy CR-3 racer, set the world's official record fo maximum seaplane speed at 188.82 m.p.h., and Lt. Ofstie, with a similar plane, established seaplane speed records for distances of 100 and 200 km. at 178.25 m.p.h. and for 500 km. at 161.14 m.p.h. If the R2C2 is entered it will be flown by Lt. F.H.Conant, U.S.N., of the Bureau of Aeronautics.

In addition, the Army Air Service has entered the Curtiss racer with which Lt. Cyrus Bettis won the Pulitzer Trophy this year. The plane will be converted to a float seaplane and fitted with twin floats the Army entrant should be identical with the two Navy entrants.

All the contests at Baltimore will be held uner the rules of the National Aeronautice Association and the Federation Aeronatuique Internationale, and all records made will be officially homologated.

The Navy Personnel

Lieut. Comdr. H. C. Wick, U.S.N., Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Anacostia, D.C., the officer in charge of the Navy Racing Detachment for Baltimore Races. Lieut. Comdr. M. A. Mitscher, U.S.N., of the Plans Division, ureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, will represent the Bureuam of Aeronautics in the arrangements. Lieut T.P.Jeter, U.S.N., also a pilot in the Liberty Engine Builders Trophy Race, will act as liason officer for the Racing Detachment and the Bureau.

History of the Schneider Cup

The Schneider Trophy and substantial money prizes were first offered by Jacques Schneider, a Franch aviation enthusisast, in 1913, when the first race for the trophy was held at Monaco. The distance to be flown in the first Schneider race was 150 nautical miles (172.83 land miles), or 278 km. This race was won by the famous French pilot, Prevost, who was flying a Deperdussin monoplane with 150 hp. Gnome engine. Prevosts's time for the 278 km. was 3 hr. 48 min. 28 sec; coresponding to an average speed of 72.6 km./hr. (45.75 m.p.h.) The 1914 Schneider Cup Race was also held at Monaco, and was over a total distance of 280 km. The race was won easily by C.Howard Pixton, who was flying a Sopwith twin-float biplane with 100 hp. Gnome Monosoupape engine. Pixton's time over the 280 km. was 2 hr. 0 min. 13-2/5 sec. corresponding to an average speed of 139.7 km./hr. (86.8 m.p.h.).

Owing to the war, no race was held until 1919, when, and English pilot having won the race in 1914, the Schneider Cup Race was held at Bournemouth, England. On the day of the race there was a thick mist over parts of the course at Cournemouth, particularly around the Swanage turning point, and all the competitos gave up, with the exception of the Italian pilot, Janello, falying a Savoia flying-boat biplane. Janello covered the prescribed number of laps, but as he was not seen from the Swanage mark boat, there was considerable discussion as to whether or not he had properly completed the course. Finally it was decided to annul the race, but as a compliment to Janello's pluck in flying round the course despite the adverse weather conditions, it was decided to award the Italian Aero Club the organization of the race for the following year.

The 1920 Schneider Cup Race was, therefore held at Venice, and was won by the Italian pilot Bologna, who on a Savoia flying boat, covered the 375 km. in 2 hr. 10 min. 35 sec., at an average seed of 172.3 km. hr. (107 m.p.h.)

Venice was again chosen as the place for the 1921 Schneider Cup Race, whcih was one of 370.4 km. The race as again won by a Savoia flying boat, piloted by the Italian, De Brianti, whose time was 2 hr. 4 min. 29 sec. corresponding to an average speed of 179.5 km. hr. (111 m.p.h.)

A British machine won the 1922 Schneider Cup. If the race had been won by an Italian pilot, the Schneider trophy would have become the property of Italy, as it wwould then have been won three years in succession. The Supermarine "Sea Lion," however won a fine victory at Naples, piloted by Capt. H.C.Baird, who is piloting the Supermarine at Baltimore this year. The Supermarine boat, which was equipped with a Napier "lion" engine, covered the distance of 370 km. in 1 hr. 34 min. 51 3-5 sec., at and average speed of 234.6 km.hr. (145.7 m.p.h.)

The 1922 race having been won by a British pilot, the 1923 race was held in England, Cowes being chosen fo the race. Only two British defenders had been built for the 11923 race, and one of these, a Blanckburn "Pellet," sank during an attempt to take off in the eliminating trials, leaving only the Supermarine flying boat to defend the cup. The British machine was hopelessly outclassed in point of speed, and the race was easily won by Lieutenant Rittenhouse, on a Curtiss-Navy Racer. Rittenhouse covered the 345 km. at an average speed of 177.38 m.p.h. (285.5 km. hr.)

A British challenger had been built for the 1924 Schneider Cup race by the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company, but this machine was wrecked during a test flight, and as no other entires presented themselves at the race, the Americans declared the 1924 race off.

This year the Schneider Cup race at Baltimore may be expected to result in the greates air races ever held.

In addition to these Curtiss racers, which are going to be fitted with floats, there are two British entires, the Supermarine Napier S4, a float type monoplane, and the Gloster Napier III, a biplane also of the twin float class. Italy will be represented by a flying boat monoplane of somewhat novel features.

A good race is expected, especially as very fine speed performance is anticipated from the British Supermarine S4 and a good contest may be looked forward to between this machine and the Curtiss Racers.

The Curtiss R3C Racer Page