Curtiss Marine Trophy Winner 1929

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The Curtiss XF7C-1 Seahawk with floats. It first flew on 28 February 1927. 16 production aircraft F7C-1 Seahawks were built and served until 1933. (Photo US Navy)

On 25 May 1929, Lieutenant William G. Tomlinson, United States Navy, took first place in the Curtiss Marine Trophy race held at Naval Air Station Anacostia. He  flew the XF7C-1 with an average speed of 162.52 MPH.  He completed the 100-mile race course before his nearest competitor had entered the final twenty miles.

Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, shakes hands with Lieutenant William G. Tomlinson, USN, one of the Navy pilots participating in the 1926 Schneider Cup race. (Photo Naval History and Heritage Command)

Naval aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss established the trophy in 1911 to encourage the development of seaplanes and flying boats. The race took place from 1911 to 1918 and then died of indifference after the world war. No contest took place from 1919 to 1921, but in 1922 the newly created Bureau of Naval Aeronautics and its chief, Rear Admiral William Moffett, helped to reestablish the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race. Races would be held until 1930 when the economic difficulties of the Great Depression ended  air racing for the Navy.  Moffett wrote in an article for Aviation magazine:

We learned more from this contest of value in construction of material and in the training of personnel for duty under conditions approximating those of war than we could have learned in a year of ordinary operations. It shows the need for concentration of our effort in the Navy on the complete and thorough development of its Air Arm…the importance of seaplane racing in the Navy can not be overestimated.

The Curtiss Marine Flying trophy is a massive sterling silver piece resting on an onyx base; the god of the sea Neptune creates a swirling sea with a globe riding upon it; a Curtiss H.10 surmounts the trophy held by a stylized cloud or water-spout; a sea serpent, ocean liner, galleon, submarine, and battleship are caught in Neptune's wake. (Photo NASM)

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