The Schneider Trophy
Air racing became an institutionalized sport in the 1920s, and the Schneider Trophy competition became the world’s most famous air race. French industrialist and aviator Jacques P. Schneider created the event in 1912 to encourage the development of commercial seaplanes. American and European military teams competed in the name of international prestige, interservice rivalry, and the advancement of technology.
By 1925 the contest was the ultimate expression of high-speed flight and state-of-the-art aeronautical technology. Jimmy Doolittle’s Schneider Trophy victory in the R3C-2 captured the imagination of the public on both sides of the Atlantic.
U.S. Navy Lt. David Rittenhouse (center), poses with his Curtiss CR-3 racer in which he won the 1923 Schneider competition at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight in England. The American victory stunned the European aeronautical community. The Curtiss racers represented completely new ideas of streamlining and fuselage design.