ST. LOUIS MO, 1923
PULITZER TROPHY RACE
LIEUT. A. J. WILLIAMS, U. S. N.
Won first place in the Pulitzer Race with a speed of 243.67 mph.
LIEUT. H. J. BROW
Won second place in the Pulitzer Race with a speed of 241.78 mph.
Speed and Time Chart of the Pulitzer Trophy Race
The following chart tells the story of the Pulitzer Trophy classic in figures, just as it appeared on scoreboards of spectators who listened attentively to the official announcements.
1. Lieut. A. J. Williams, Navy
2. Lieut. H. J. Brow, Navy
3. Lieut. L. H. Sanderson, Marine Corps
4. Lieut. S. W. Callaway, Navy
5. Lieut. Walter Miller, Army
6. Lieut. J. D. Corkille, Army
7. Lieut. Alexander Pearson, Army
Forced Down Before Race
Lieuts. Callaway and Sanderson flew Wright fighter planes with 700-horsepower motors. Lieuts. Williams and Brow flew Curtiss R2C1
planes with 460-horsepower motors. Lieuts. Miller and Corkville flew Curtiss racers with 400-horsepower motors. Lieut Pearson was to
have flown a Verville-Sperry monoplane with 400-horsepower motor and folding landing gear, the only monoplane in the race.
A striking feature shown by the chart is the consistent way in which the pilots maintained speed, even in the case of Lieut. Miller, who had mechanical trouble, which made his plane hard to control. There was a difference in elapsed time of only 3 minutes and 50.89 seconds between the winner and the last man for the full distance of 124.28 miles.
3. Lieut. L. H. Sanderson
4. Lieut S. W. Callaway
6. Lieut. J. D. Corkille
AFTER HIS VICTORY IN SPECTACULAR RACE
Lieut. Al J. Williams, winner of the event, brought his plane to the field when he completed the course and his first question after the roar of his motor had been throttled down was: "What did we do?" When informed that he had shattered all previous speed records he indulged himself in a vigousous "Whoopee, navy" and was swamped under the congratulations of his mechanics and flying mates. He then taxied his plane to the grandstand where he received the congratulations of Admiral Moffett, Chief of the Bureau of Navy Aeronautics, and of thousands of spectators who watched his spectacular sprint.
Lieut. Brow, U.S.N.,who finished second in the race said: "I crowded my plane to the limit and I constantly felt that I should be getting more out of it, but I suppose we should be satisfied. It was a great day for the navy and we are all proud of the record made."
Lieut. S. W. Callaway, U.S.N., finished fourth. His wife was the first to greet him as he stepped from his plane at the hangar. She threw her arms around him and shouted his speed into his ears before any of his eager mates could reach him. Callaway frankly expressed surprise when informed that he had captured fourth place.
"The water heated up," he said, "before I was half way through the race, and had it not been for that, I am sure I could have tacked eight or ten miles an hour additional on to my speed. On the whole, though, it was a great race."
Lieut. Sanderson, U.S.M.C., who flew a navy entry, finished third. He came to grief in a field north of the hangars after he had completed his race and was trying to land. His gasoline gave out while he was close to the earth and with the choice of hitting a tree or a haystack, he chose the latter. His plane was demolished, but he escaped with a cut lower lip and a cut on his left wrist.
Lieut. Sanderson was the first pilot in the race to take off, and the first to land. After reaching the hangar he said:
"She is a great ship, and I gave her the best I had. I am sorry we smashed up, but that kind of a job just won't stay in the air without gasoline. I had no trouble on the course, and it was just a case of misfortune that I did not make the few hundred yards to the landing field."
Lieut. J.D. Corkille, the first army flyer to complete the course, was constantly distracted throughout the race by loose glasses in his goggles. The terrific vibration of the motor shook the glass in the sockets and the reflection of the earth beneath him was completely blurred, he said. "Approaching the pylons," he said, "the earth seemed to be quivering in front of me. As I neared the pylons, the only way I could see them was out of the corner of my eye. On my second lap, I could not see the railroad and was again thrown off my course. Finally, on the third lap, I succeeded in getting my hand to my goggles for a second to readjust them and was more comfortable for the remainder of the race."
Lieut. Corkille's statement is borne out by his speed in his various laps. His first was completed at 210.58 miles an hour, the second at 216.47 miles an hour, the third at 215.01 miles an hour and the last lap was stepped up to 216.45 miles an hour. During the race, the top of Lieut. Corkille's leather helmet was stripped off by the terrific wind.
Lieut. Miller, the only other army flier to complete the course, said he experienced motor trouble throughout the entire race.
"My engine cut out on me at intervals from the very start of the race," he said, "and I knew I was in for a tough job. I could not get the speed out of it, although I did my best. It seems to me that the motor is too fast for the plane. It seemed to be heavy in the nose and I had no little difficulty on that account. I had no other trouble and I know the ship will do better, because I have taken her over faster sprints in trial flights."
Lieut. A. Pearson, flying the only monoplane in the race, the Verville-Sperry racer, took off from the field, dove across the starting line, but turned around half way to the second pylon and returned to the field. Upon landing he said that a flutter developed in the nose of the ship that increased as the speed was stepped up and he thought it best not to attempt the course. A new spinner had been put on the plane and experts expressed the belief that the propellor was out of balance.
Maj. Gen. Mason M. Patrick, Chief of the Army Air Service, congratulated the fliers after the races.
"All of you performed splendidly," he said, "and you got all out of the planes that was in them. We will do better next year."