The National Air Races
were a series of pylon
and cross-country races
that took place in the United States
from 1920 to 1949. The science of aviation, and the speed and reliability of aircraft and engines grew rapidly during this period; the National Air Races were both a proving ground and showcase for this.
In 1920 publisher Ralph Pulitzer
sponsored the Pulitzer Trophy Race for military airplanes at Roosevelt Field
, Long Island
, New York
, in an effort to publicize aviation and his newspaper. The races eventually moved to Cleveland
and then they were known as the Cleveland National Air Races. They drew the best flyers of the time, including James Doolittle
, Wiley Post
, Frank Hawks
, Jimmie Wedell
, Roscoe Turner
, and others from the pioneer age of aviation. These air races helped to inspire Donald Blakeslee
as a young boy.
The races usually ran for up to 10 days, usually at the end of August. During World War II
the races were on hiatus.
The races included a variety of events, including cross-country races that ended in Cleveland, landing contests, glider demonstrations, airship flights, and parachute-jumping contests. The most popular event was the Thompson Trophy Race
, a closed-course race where aviators raced their planes around pylons, and the Bendix Trophy Race
across most of the USA.
In 1929 California to Cleveland were the start and end for the first Women's Air Derby
, which developed into the All Women's......