Curtiss CR-3

Cheated for the 1923 Schneider Trophy contest, the Curtiss CR-3 proved itself the fastest seaplane racer of its day. In the early 1920s American Glenn Curtiss had developed sleek landplane racers, powered by his outstanding CD-12 in-line engine. The US
Navy converted two of these beauties into floatplanes, which were entered as CR-3s for the Schneider race, held that year in England,
on the Solent off Cowes.
As well as having an exceptional powerplant, the aircraft was superbly streamlined, with wing-surface radiators to minimize drag.
Although it was the first time that the United States had participated in the Schneider event, the US Navy pilots encountered little difficulty in beating their European opponents, who were using ungainly flying boats with large hulls.
The CR-3s took the first two places, winning the trophy for the United States at 1771/2mph. An admiring British observer recorded “the lean, grey form of the Curtiss racer…sliding down to the finishing line”. British designer and manufacturer, Richard Fairey, was so impressed by their performance that he acquired a licence to build the Curtiss engine in Britain, a move that was to herald a revolution in British military aircraft design through the two-seat Fairey Fox bomber.

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