The 1930 National Air Races
were moved to Chicago, IL. The site would be the the Curtiss-Reynolds
Airport, race dates August 23rd to September 1st. The first Thompson
Trophy Race would take place in Chicago.
Aerial view of the Air Race site at Curtiss Field
Granville Bros. side by-side two seat biplane on display at the Expo
1930 Race official describing the current event to
After the embarrassing defeat of the
Nation's finest pursuit ships in the 1929 races at Cleveland, the military
was out for revenge. This time the Navy would attempt to put the civilian
aircraft manufacturers in their place. This year was sure to be different!
The Navy had a plan; take the Curtiss Hawk
Seaplane F6C-3 that won the 11th and final Curtiss Marine Trophy Race at
Anacosta Navel Air Station on May 31st. and have Curtiss modify it to Navy
The lower wing was removed and part of the
upper wing was covered with coolant radiators. Seaplane floats were
replaced with a set of streamlined landing gears with special wheel pants.
The stock Curtiss D-12 engine was replaced with a 700hp supercharged
Curtiss Conqueror with a new cowling.
The modified Hawk had a
top speed potential of 250mph at it's best altitude and a projected
average speed of 220mph in the race.
Jimmy Haizlap with the Shell Travel Air entry
The Travel Air R that won the Thompson Cup
was now owned by Curtiss-Wright and was on tour for the Company. Several
more Travel Air R’s were produced; one was purchased by the Shell Oil Co.,
the other by Texaco.
Lee Schoenhair, chief pilot of the B.F.
Goodrich Company and second place winner of the 1929 cross-country race
called "Matty" Laird president of the E.M. Laird Aircraft Company of
Chicago and asked him to build a racer for the 1st Thompson Trophy Race.
There was a little over three weeks time to complete the plane, but Laird
agreed it could be done.
"Matty" Laird, "Speed" Holman and Lee Schoenhair standing (L-R) in
front of the just completed racer. A last minute decision put "Speed"
Holman in the pilot' seat due to his Laird racing experience.
Capt. Mcready crashed during one of the smaller cubic inch races.
Miraculously, he escaped with only a broken nose.
U.S. Marine Corps fighters on display
Starting line-up for the Thompson Trophy Race
Wiley Post"s Lockheed Vega would later become the Winnie Mae
The men's non-stop cross country derby (
Los Angeles to Chicago) attracted no less than four Lockheed Vega's and
one air express.
1st place Wiley Post
2nd place Art Goebel
3rd place Lee
4th place William
5th place Roscoe
Turner (Air Express)
Women's Class A Pacific Derby from Long Beach CA to Chicago IL
1st place Gladys
O'Donnell in a Waco
2nd place Mildred
Morgan in a Travel Air
3rd place Jean
LaRene in a American Eagle
Women's class B Dixie Race from Washington DC to Chicago IL
1st place Phoebe
Omlie in a Monocoupe
2nd place Marty Bowman
in a Fleet
3rd place Laura
Ingalls in a DH Moth
With 44 scheduled events, the first
Thompson Trophy Race would be the big attraction of the meet. As
expected the revamped Curtiss Hawk flown by Capt. Arthur Page of
the United States Marine Corps. took an early lead and
after several laps, passed or lapped the entire field. The race now
concentrated on second place with Speed Holman and Jim Haizlip virtually
side by side. As Page approached home pylon for lap seven, he suddenly
pulled up and out of the race and than slid off on the left wing and nosed
down and into the ground and crashed. Captain Page died of his
injures later that day. "Speed" Holman won by a very narrow margin
over Jim Haizlip. The Laird would be the only biplane to win the
Thompson Trophy Race.
The Thompson Trophy Race entries
| 1 st
| Speed Holman
| Jim Haizlip
| Ben Howard
| Paul Adams
| Frank Hawks
| Out 3rd lap
| Out 8th lap
| Capt. Page
The Laird "Solution" changed hands a number of times and was modified to
attain greater speed. It never again became a challenger and was finally
acquired by the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks (Bradley Field)
Connecticut and was restored to it's original form where It is currently
In 1930 the Cleveland Municipal Airport would
be host to the Gordon Bennett
International Balloon Race and Aerial
Carnival, August 31st and September 1st. The Army sent a Pursuit, Bomber
and an Observation Squadron. The Navy and Marine squadrons would also
participate. Well-known fliers, Frank Hawks and "Jimmie" Doolittle were
scheduled to pay a visit.
The City of Cleveland balloon about to be launched