Wright F-2W

Wright F-2W

For the 1923 Pulitzer Race Wright wanted to smash the supremacy of Curtiss in the field of racing aircraft, so Wright designed the TX with the same and clean lines as the R-6 racers of Curtiss. The small wooden biplane had a monocoque structure and the Wright T-3 racing engine had a 200 hp advantage over the Curtiss engines. Second Lieutenant Lawson H. “Sandy” Sanderson took the TX A-6743 for its maiden flight from Curtiss Field, Garden City, NY, on 27 August 1923.

The biplane had a fuel capacity of 31.7 US gallons (120 l), barely the needed quantity for the 124 ml (200 km) race. Wing surface radiators (hence the dark wing area) cooled the engine that drove a two-blade wooden propeller. During construction the second TX (A-6744) had the fuel quantity increased to 60 US gallons (227 l) and a Hamilton three-blade duralumin propeller was fitted, later this sort of propeller was also fitted to the first aircraft.

On 16 September 1923 the TX flown by Sanderson established an average of 247.7 mph (398.5 kmh), very promising for the Pulitzer Race. The TX was redesignated F2W-1 and on 6 October 1923 Sanderson flew in his red Number 8 (A-6743) the first and fastest lap at 240.3 mph (386.6 kmh) and finished after four laps at an average of 230.06 mph (370.17 kmh). Running out of fuel Sanderson crash-landed the aircraft and it was completely wrecked, but “Sandy” escaped serious injuries.

Lieutenant Steve Calloway flew Number 7 (A-6744) to an averaged speed of 230 mph (370 kmh) precisely, but the Curtiss R2C made an average of 243.68 mph (392.08 kmh), so again Wright was not able to defeat Curtiss.

A-6744 was extensively modified by Wright and fitted with floats it turned into a seaplane racer. In this form the aircraft was known as the F2W-2, but not for long as early in 1924 it crashed during testing and was damaged beyond repair.