In this day of aircraft speeds of well over 600 m.p.h. and with some experimental airplanes attaining speeds of over 1,000 m.p.h., we are inclined to think of anything around 200 m.p.h. as being pretty slow. In a like manner we are becoming rather blasé about the airplane itself, whether it be naval or civilian, and news notes regarding speed records are likely to be read after the ball scores and the comics.
There was a time—just thirty-odd years ago—when speeds of 300 m.p.h. were news of international interest and major powers were officially sponsoring racing aircraft, using them as flying laboratories to test and develop new ideas.
The most famous of the aerial speed contests was the international competition known as the Schneider Cup Races. The United States Government entered the annual event three times, in 1923, 1925, and 1926. During this participation the U.S. Navy won first and second place in the 1923 contest, the U.S. Army won first place in the 1925 event, while this country, represented solely by the U.S. Navy, won second and fourth places in the 1926 competition.