National Air Races begin in US

The aerial populism of Depression-era America shaped air racing in the 1930s. Self-reliant individuals took readily available technologies and fielded air racers to achieve fame and fortune. The National Air Races found a consistent home at Cleveland, Ohio, but other major American cities also hosted them.

The two marquee events of the National Air Races were the Thompson Trophy closed-course race and the Bendix Trophy transcontinental race. A new generation of daredevil pilots joined Jimmy Doolittle to make air racing and speed an increasingly popular aspect of American culture.


Doolittle flew the unstable and unforgiving Gee Bee in the 1932 Thompson Trophy Race.