March 28, 11AM
Michael Gough, a volunteer at the National Air and Space Museum, is writing a book about the Pulitzer Trophy Air Races, which were held in the United States in 1920 through 25. He will discuss the first chapter of that book, which describes the James Gordon Bennett Air races of the 1910s, which led up to the Pulitzers.
One hundred years ago this coming August, wealthy Champagne vintners hosted the Great Aviation Week, which culminated in the first Gordon Bennett. Glenn Curtiss, flying an airplane he designed and built, won. After Curtiss, all winning airplanes were French, but an English pilot won in 1910, an American in 1911, and Frenchmen in 1912 and 13. Following World War I, a Frenchman won the 1920 race, giving his country three straight victories and permanent possession of the trophy.
The Gordon Bennetts saw major improvements; the length of the race increased from 20 to 300 km and speeds from 47 to 169 mph. After describing the designers and pilots that triumphed in the Gordon Bennetts, Mr. Gough will highlight U.S. efforts in the 1920 race, which, ending in abject defeat, laid the groundwork for America’s record-breaking racers of the 1920s.
Event included with museum admission