1936 National Air Races


  1936 Cover.jpg (384261 bytes)

       1936 Official Program Cover
       (Steve Zatroch collection)


            The 1936 Races took several dramatic changes.

          The site was moved to Los Angeles Mines Field due to the Cleveland

           Airport expansion and the need to move the grandstands back. There

           were unexpected events in both the Bendix and the Thompson races.

             With the races at Los Angeles the Bendix was started at Floyd Bennett
        Field, New York. The starting line-up included an impressive list of   
      aircraft-pilot combinations. Benny Howard who won the '35 Bendix

  in  Mr. Mulligan was back, this  time with wife Maxine as co-pilot.
  Joe  Jacobson entered a Northrop Gamma, Lee Miles the QED, 
           Amelia Earhart her new Lockheed Electra, Louise Thaden and co-pilot
    Blanche Noyes flying a Beechcraft Staggerwing, Laura Ingalls in a
  Lockheed Orion, Wm Gulick in a Vultee and George Pomeroy in a

            DC-2. As in most races. We all remember who won, but what  else  do
we  remember?
some  of  the  background  may  be interesting! 
       Turner crashed on the way to New York, Benny & Maxine crashed in
New Mexico,  Joe Jacobson was blown out of the Gamma, Lee Miles was

unable to finish. Laura Ingalls came in second, Gulick was third,

                 Pomeroy was forth and Earhart and Richey were fifth in the new Electra.  
          Paul Mantz who was part of a Hollywood trio of skywriters, would later
          compete in the Bendix races.

                       1936 Logo

                       Bendix Trophy Race





 Race No






  Beech C-17





 Orion 9-D





    Vultee V1A















    Mr Mulligan





    Gamma 2A


      1.Crashed near Crown Point New Mexico 
            2. Aircraft exploded, pilot parachuted to safety



   Louise Thaden and & Blanche Noyes flew this Beechcraft Model C17-R
 to victory in the slowest Bendix ever. The aircraft had been promised to
    Col. William Brooks of Honduras and was sold to his Government. Walter
  Beech pulled it off the line to allow Louise to fly it in the Bendix. After the
         race the Col. appeared looking for his plane. Beech had to prepare another
   in the same color scheme for Louise to fly around the country to promote
   sales of Beechcraft. Many attempts to locate the plane in South America
were unsuccessful.





    Mister Mulligan, the big winner in 1935 was entered in this years Bendix with 
    Benny's wife Maxine as co-pilot. Maxine wanted to become more familiar with the
    airplane as she wanted to try for a  woman's speed record. The pair made their
    scheduled stop at Wichita for food and fuel. While over Crown Point New Mexico,
    the propeller shed a blade which caused the plane to crash on a Indian
    Reservation. Both Benny and Maxine were trapped in the cockpit.


The engine had come back into the cabin and rested on Benny's right foot and Maxine's left foot. They were also setting in a pool of gasoline. It was hours before a young Indian boy came upon the wreckage and went for help. Benny was in bad shape and the Doctor's feared for his life. The best Doctor's in the country were sent to help the pair. While Benny would loose his right foot, both recovered.





Amelia Earhart had flown in many air races prior to the 1936 Bendix. She had only
 recently taken delivery of the new Lockheed Electra 10E from Purdue University as
   her "Flying Laboratory" Her co-pilot for the race was Helen Richey, one of America's
top  women pilots.  Unexpectedly the emergency  cockpit escape hatch blew open
 almost sucking both pilots out,  they were able to secure it with a rag till they landed
   at their Kansas City fuel stop where they  were able to wire it closed. The open hatch
caused  much  lost time. Amelia Earhart was lost on an attempted round- the-world
       flight with  navigator Fred Noonan in the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in this ship
on July 5th 1937.



                                                              This standard  Douglas DC-2 was owned by the Cities Service Gas and
                                                        Oil Company and was piloted by George Pomeroy and Louis Brewer
                                                             with Irving Picker as mechanic. Finished  fourth after getting stuck in the
mud at Wichita.                                    




    Vultee V1-A Flown by William Gulick and
    William Warner with a navigator and    
    mechanic. Only 25 of this type were built
    and the racer  was later sold to Spain.
    note the photo is not the actual racer but a like 



                                                                                    Laura Ingalls flew this Lockheed Orion
                                                                                  9D Special, Race # 53 painted Black
                                                                                    with red numbers. In 1937 aircraft was
                                                                                 sold to Rudolf Wolfe Inc. exported to
                                                                                  Spanish Republican Air Force. It was
                                                                                  involved in the Spanish Civil War and
                                                                      reported destroyed in a crash.





  Joe Jacobson took a commercial airliner to New York for the start of the Bendix to fly a
  borrowed Northrop Gamma 2-A. Not able to bring his own parachute he was fortunate to
  be able to borrow a brand new one. Joe was off and doing quite well flying at 5,000 feet
  over Stafford, 50 miles north of Wichita, when the plane exploded. Joe found himself in
  mid-air and instinctively pulled the ripcord and landed without serious injury. He appeared
  at the races by car having taken a another commercial   airliner to LA. Joe's bad luck did
  not end there.



Greve Trophy Race

The 1936 Greve Trophy would for the first time be
  one race with a race-horse start like the Thompson.


 Place            Pilot   Race No         Aircraft         Speed
     1  Michel Detroyat      100    Caudron        247.300
     2  Harold Neumann        1    Folkerts        225.858
     3  Art Chester        3    Chester Sp.        224.682
     4  Rudy King       70    Keith Rider        215.331
     5  Joe Jacobson       38    DGA-4        214.426
     6  Roger Don Rae      131    Rider R-1        212.325


Amelia Earhart Trophy Race

Woman's A.T.C. Handicap -- 800cu. in. disp.


 Place             Pilot   Race No         Aircraft          Time
     1  Betty Browning       ---     Cessna          15.58
     2  Gladys O'Donnell       ---     Ryan          16.10
     3  Genevieve Savage         ---      Ryan          16.27
     4  Jeannette Lempke       ---     Davis D1-W          16.30
     5   Nancy Love       ---     Beechcraft          16.44


 Shell Trophy Race

  Free-For-All 375 Cubic In. Displacement


 Place            Pilot     Race No          Aircraft       Speed
     1     Harold Neumann         1         Folkerts      231.344
     2     Art Chester         3         Chester Sp.      230.479
     3     Joe Jacobson        37         Howard      147.565


Thompson Trophy Race

Free-For-All Unlimited

 Place            Pilot   Race No          Aircraft        Speed
     1     Michel Detroyat     100        Caudron       264.261
     2     Earl Ortman       4        Rider R-3       248.042
     3     Roger Don Rae      70        Rider R-4       236.559
     4     Harold Neumann       1        Folkerts       233.074
     5      Marion McKeen      33        Brown B-2       230.465
     6      Harry Crosby      52        Crosby CR-3       226.075


      Michel Detroyat the only foreign pilot to win
        the Thompson Trophy Race


                  (Bob Likovetz collection)

          Michael Detroyat who won both the Greve and the Thompson Trophy
        Race was no stranger to the  National  Air  Races,  having performed
       aerobatics  at  several NAR's. There  was a lot of complaining  about
         the French sponsored airplane, especially by Roscoe Turner. However
            the original deed of gift from Charles E. Thompson invited foreign nations
         to enter the competition. 1936 was the first and only year that a foreign
    aircraft  and  pilot  were  entered  in  the  Thompson  Trophy  Race. 
      France, and especially the Caudron Aircraft Co. had campaigned and
    won  many  races  in Europe. The  racer  was  equipped  with  a  air
       operated  retractable  landing  gear  system  and  a  two  position  air
 operated Ratier propeller which gave Detroyat a great advantage.
    The aircraft arrived with two engines, a 330 hp. engine for the Greve
           Race and a 380 hp engine for the Thompson Trophy Race. After winning
             the Greve, a decision was made not to change engines. Michael Detroyat
        (sometimes call "Detroit" by Americans) returned to France with some
        14,850 American dollars, a large chunk of money for 1936.  Color was
                        overall dark glossy blue with a red/white stripe on fuselage. and white lettering.    



  The Keith Rider R-3 piloted by Earl Ortman to second place was originally built for the
  1934 MacRobertson Race from London to Melbourne, Australia. A fatal accident while 
   taxing during early tests kept the racer out.  Hal Marcoux of the Douglas Aircraft Co.
   purchased the racer and had it completely rebuilt to Douglas standards. This example
   of the Keith Rider line featured the only  radial engine aircraft in the Thompson race.
   Powered by a Pratt Whitney Wasp S1D1 with a newly designed cowl. Color scheme
   was yellow with black wings and black numbers.

                                      (Susan Brender's collection)





                                                          The second and newest Keith Rider design
                                                          known as the Rider Special also featured a
                                                         cantilever wing with retractable landing gear.
                                                         This landing gear however would completely
                                                         fit into the lower side of the wing.  Power was
                                                         supplied by a 6 cylinder Menasco  C-6S.
                                                         Color scheme was bright yellow with red and
                                                         maroon numbers.





        The Folkerts Special Sk-2 "Toots" built for Harold Neumann  by Clayton Folkerts carried the race
        number 1. Neumann won the Greve and the  Thompson Trophy Race in 1935 in two of Benny
        Howard's race planes and figured it was time he  had his own. Powered by a 4 cylinder Menasco
        C-4S. A hand-cranked retractable landing gear   folded into the fuselage under the pilot's seat.
        Lever operated wing flaps were also used. Color  was yellow fuselage and brown wings.




                                                    Brown B-2 built for Roy Miner by Lawrence Brown of L.A. in 1934 named "Miss Los Angeles"
                                                    Power plant is a Menasco C-6-S "Buccaneer"   A similar version was built for testing a small
                                                    fighter for the United States Army Air Corps. Special attention was given to the bullet-like
                                                    spinner covering the Hamilton Standard hub and special Story steel 6' 6" metal blades.
                                                    Color was maroon with gold lettering.




       Harry Crosby who was returning home a banana boat from a job flying in Guatemala
      observed many flying fish, Harry had long wanted to build a racer. The boat was
       bucking strong winds and heavy sea's when Harry noticed the flying fish were not
       hampered by the storm. Harry decided to build a  race plane on the shape of the
       flying fish. The C6R3 was built with the help of Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute.
       Powered by a Menasco 6 cylinder engine the racer was equipped  with a retractable
       landing gear and split wing flaps. During the Thompson the racer was doing well when
       the oil  breather pipe broke and oil covered the windshield, Harry had to settle for 6th.



Photo's are from the Hansen collection unless otherwise noted.





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