1923 Archive Recording an Aviation World Speed Record Overseen by Orville Wright
ArchiveArchive of documenting a new flight speed records directed by aviation pioneer Orville Wright. Very scarce archive of 14 total pages. Documents are in English and French. Comes with two photographs further documenting the event, photos black and white measuring 4.5" x 3.75" and 6.5" x 4.5" inches. One document addressed to the National Aeronautic Association reports of speed records set at 500 and 1000 kilometers at McCook Field and Wilbur Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio on March 29th, 1923. Aviation pioneer Orville Wright was the directing official of this speed trial, with Odis A. Porter as the chief timer and and Orville's brother Lorin as an assistant observer. Water tower "pylons" were set up at Wilbur Wright Field, McCook field, and at a station in New Carlisle, Ohio, to mark the turning points for the voyage. One photo depicts the Wilbur Wright Field with the pylons and plane in the air. Another photo depicts , Odis A. Porter, the official timer keeping watch of the the Curtiss R-6 Racer as it completed the 1 km course. There are also different officials in attendance, though Orville and Lorin Wright were present at all trials. This report was submitted to the FAI, the Federation Aeronautique International, the world governing body for air sports based in Switzerland. The FAI uses French as its main language of communication, which is the reason why some of the documents in the archive have French counterparts. One major difference between the French and English versions of the speed trial report is that the French document measured the speed record for a one kilometer journey, while the English report measured the speed records for the 500 km and 1000 km trials.
Other documents in English include a copy of a brief dated February 20th, 1923 that recorded the survey and marking of the 1 km and 3 km straightaway course at Wilbur Wright Field. There is also a list of "Homologated National Records Established on March 29, 1923 Submitted to the FAI for Homologation as World's Records." The records set were for the trials at 1 km, 500 km, and 100km. The "Maximum Speed over One Kilometer Straightaway" record was set by Lt. R.L. Maughan, U.S.A.S in a Curtiss R-6 Racer with a 465 horsepower Curtiss 6-12 motor that reached 380.751 kilometers per hour. The "Speed Over 500 Kilometers" record was set by Lt. Alex Pearson, U.S.A.S. in a Verville Sperry with a 350 horsepower Wright motor that achieved 270.06 kilometers per hour, completing the journey in 1 hour and 51 minutes. Lastly, the "Speed over 1000 Kilometers" record was set by Lts. H.R. Harris and R. Lockwood, U.S.A.S in a DH-4-L with a 400 horsepower Liberty motor that traveled at 205 kilometers per hour over 4 hours 52 minutes to set the world record. Also included is the Official Timer's Sheet for pilot "Lt. L.J. Maitland" that records average speeds achieved during attempts of the 1 km trial.
Additional documents in French include a letter addressed to the Secretary General of FA.I., Paul Tissandier, submitting the report on the new record of the speed trials held at Wilbur Wright Field. In addition, there is a 2 page from the Bureau of Standards Certificate for Chronometer. This document includes a chart issued by the War Department's Air Service that measures the effect of daily temperature on the chronometer.
This archive is a record of a new world record and also shows how in early aviation it became evident that the fierce competition to set records necessitated standardized record keeping and the careful certification of timers. The procedures and rules were established by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and administered and overseen by the local organization in each county. Wright participated in some of the more important record attempts, especially as many took place in the Dayton area, at Wilbur Wright field. All pieces are in very good condition and very scarce.
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