Gordon Bennett Trophy (aeroplanes)

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The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy
La coupe Gordon-Benett.jpg
The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy, awarded by and in honor of James Gordon Bennett, Jr.
Awarded forFastest time over a measured distance (time trial)
Presented byJames Gordon Bennett, Jr.
First awarded1909
Last awarded1920
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The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy
La coupe Gordon-Benett.jpg
The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy, awarded by and in honor of James Gordon Bennett, Jr.
Awarded forFastest time over a measured distance (time trial)
Presented byJames Gordon Bennett, Jr.
First awarded1909
Last awarded1920

The Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy was an international airplane racing trophy awarded by and in honor of James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the American owner and publisher of the New York Herald newspaper. The trophy is one of the three Gordon Bennett Cups, in which Bennett was also the sponsor of an automobile race and a ballooning competition.[1][2]

The terms of the trophy competition were the same as those of the Schneider Trophy: each race was hosted by the nation which had won the preceding race, and the trophy would be won outright by the nation whose team won the race three times in succession. Accordingly, after Joseph Sadi-Lecointe's victory in 1920 the Trophy became the permanent possession of the Aero Club de France.[1]


Glenn Curtiss, the American aviation pioneer who won the 1909 competion in Reims, France, in his Curtiss No. 2 aircraft.

In 1909, the French city of Reims and the French vintners of the Champagne region decided to sponsor a week of aviation exhibition and competition, the most prestigious being the International Aviation Cup, known as the Gordon Bennett Trophy, after its sponsor, James Gordon Bennett, the American publisher of the New York Herald and the Paris Herald. The meet attracted the cream of the European society to the Betheny Plain outside Reims from 22 to 29 August 1909. The 1909 competition was held as part of the Grande Semaine d'Aviation held at Reims in France, and consisted of 2 laps of the 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) circuit. The competition was not held as a race, with competitors starting at the same time, but was rather a series of time trials.[1][2]

The major French manufacturers including Louis Blériot, Gabriel Voisin, Antoinette, and Henri , entered various events, . The Wrights themselves had passed on an invitation to race at Reims, though it seemed awkward since the Gordon Bennett Trophy was crowned with a large replica of a Wright Flyer. The Aero Club of America, which had sponsored the Scientific American trophy won by Curtiss a year earlier, turned to him. His aircraft was not as well developed as the Wright machines and while it was more maneuverable than the European planes, it was not nearly as fast. Despite this disadvantage, Curtiss won at 15 minutes and 50.4 seconds. Blériot finished second place with a time of 15 minutes and 56.2 seconds, 5.8 sec­onds longer than Curtiss.[1][2]

The last competition was held in 1920 in the French communes of Orléans and Étampes. Unlike those held before the First World War which were over short courses marked by pylons, the competition was held between two points 50 km (31 mi) apart because of the growing speed of aircraft. Joseph Sadi-Lecointe won in a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 17.2 seconds, while fellow French aviator Bernard de Roumanet finished second in a time of 1 hour, 39 minutes and 6.9 seconds.[3]

Competition winners[edit]

LocationWinning pilotAircraft typeDistanceTimeSpeed
1909Reims, FranceGlenn Curtiss[4]Curtiss No. 220 km (12 mi)15 min 50.6 s75.27 km/h (46.77 mph)
1910Belmont Park, New YorkClaude Grahame-WhiteBlériot XI100 km (62 mi)1 h 1 min 4.74 s[5]98.23 km/h (61.04 mph)
1911Eastchurch, EnglandCharles Weymann[6]Nieuport II150 km (93 mi)1 h 11 min 36.2 s125.69 km/h (78.10 mph)
1912Clearing, Illinois, USJules VédrinesDeperdussin Monocoque200 km (120 mi)1 h 10 min 56 s[7]169.37 km/h (105.24 mph)
1913Reims, FranceMaurice Prevost[8]Deperdussin Monocoque200 km (120 mi)59min 45.6 s200.8 km/h (124.8 mph)
1920Orléans/Étampes[9]Joseph Sadi-Lecointe .[10]Nieuport 29300 km (190 mi)1 h 6 min 17.2 s271.55 km/h (168.73 mph)

The 1914 race was to have been held at Reims between 19 September and 28 September,[11] but was cancelled due to the outbreak of the First World War. There was no contest in 1919 [12]


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceLouis BlériotBlériot XIISecond15 min 56.2 s75.31 km/h (46.80 mph)
FranceHubert LathamAntoinette VIIThird17 min 32 s68.44 km/h (42.53 mph)
FranceEugène LefebvreWright Model AFourth20 min 47.6 s57.71 km/h (35.86 mph)
United KingdomGeorge Bertram CockburnFarman IIIDid not finish course
United StatesGlenn CurtissCurtiss No. 2First15 min 50.4 s75.74 km/h (47.06 mph)


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceAlfred LeblancBlériot XICrashed on last lap
FranceHubert LathamAntoinette5 h 48 min 53 s
United KingdomClaude Grahame-White[13]Blériot XIFirst1 h 1 min 4.74 s98.23 km/h (61.04 mph)
United KingdomAlexander OgilvieWright Model RThird2 h 6 min 36 s,Time includes a 54-minute stop due to a spark plug blowing out
United StatesWalter BrookinsWright "Baby Grand"Crashed during practice before race[14]
United StatesJohn DrexelRetired after seven laps
United StatesJohn MoisantBlériot XIThird1 h 57 min 44.85 s


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceAlfred LeblancBlériot XXIIISecond73 min 40.2 s122.17 km/h (75.91 mph)
FranceEdouard NieuportNieuport IIThird74 37.2120.61 km/h (74.94 mph)
United KingdomGustav HamelBleriot XXIIICrashed during race
United KingdomAlexander OgilvieWright BabyFourth109 min 10.4 s82.44 km/h (51.23 mph)
United StatesC.T. WeymannNieuport IIFirst71min 3.2 s126.67 km/h (78.71 mph)


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceJules VédrinesDeperdussin MonocoqueFirst70 min 56 s170 km/h (110 mph)
FranceMaurice PrévostDeperdussin MonocoqueSecond72 min 55120.61 km/h (74.94 mph)
FranceAndré FreyHanriotRetired due to engine overheating after completing 22 laps at an average speed of 150 km/h (93 mph)[15]


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceMaurice PrévostDeperdussin MonocoqueFirst59 min 45.6 s200.4 km/h (124.5 mph)
FranceEmile VédrinesPonnier D.IIISecond60 min 51.4 s198 km/h (123 mph)
FranceEugène GilbertDeperdussin MonocoqueThird62 min 55 s192.3 km/h (119.5 mph)
BelgiumHenri CrombezDeperdussin MonocoqueFourth69 min 52 s172.0 km/h (106.9 mph)


NationalityPilotAircraft TypePositionTimeSpeedNotes
FranceJoseph Sadi-LecointeNieuport-Delage NiD 29First1 hr 6 min 17.2 s266.3 km/h (165.5 mph)
FranceBernard de RoumanetSPAD S.20Second1 hr 39 min 6.9 s182.7 km/h (113.5 mph)Finished course after making a stop due to engine trouble: his flying time over the course was 266.3 km/h (165.5 mph)
United KingdomF. P. RaynhamMartinsyde SemiquaverRetired due to oil pump failure
U.S.A.Howard RinehartDayton-Wright RacerRetired due to broken elevator control cable
U.S.A.SchroederVerville-Packard R-1Did not finish due to engine overheating

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Air Racing History". ESPA Racing. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Reims Air Race". Century of Flight. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Gordon Bennett Trophy (1920)". Scribd. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Tabulated Performances of Rheims Meeting"Flight 4 September 1909
  5. ^ "The American International Meeting"Flight 5 November 1910
  6. ^ "Gordon Bennett Race- Table of Cumulative Lap Times"Flight 8 July 11
  7. ^ "The Gordon Bennett Cup"Flight 21 September 1912
  8. ^ "The Gordon Bennett Race"Flight 4 October 1913
  9. ^ "The Schneider and the Gordon-Bennett"Flight 2 September 1920
  10. ^ "The Gordon Bennett RaceFlight 30 September 1920
  11. ^ "The Gordon Bennett Aviation Race"Flight 11 April 1914
  12. ^ "No Gordon Bennett Contests This Year"Flight 9 May 1919
  13. ^ "1913 Newspaper - The Gordon Bennett Trophy 1910". Flightglobal. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Howard, F., Wilbur and Orville. London: Robert Hale,1988 ISBN 0-7090-3244-7 p.358.
  15. ^ Villard 1987 p.166.


External links[edit]