If I understand the documentation correctly, the year for this picture of Jimmy Doolittle standing on the Curtiss R3C-2 racer is 1928. Hello? Can you really believe that it was just 25 years earlier that the Wright Brothers first flew their kind-of-awkward Wright Flyer? It was even a few years earlier than this picture was taken that this same Jimmy Doolittle won the 1925 Schneider Trophy race with this little piece of aviation perfection, being pulled thru the air by that cool prop at a speed of 232.57 mph. This stellar Curtiss airplane was actually the fastest airplane in the world in 1925, tho it was the R3C-1 version, the same airplane but with wheels installed, that set that record of 249.342 mph with Lt. Cyrus Bettis sitting in the cockpit.
Due to the shocking awesomeness of the aircraft that raced in the Schneider thru the 20's (and in the last year of 1931), I'll be doing a lot more coverage of the details relating to these airplanes over time. I've got a book from about 20 years ago that has loads of terrific info in it, and there's no shortage of amazing things to share about these stunning aircraft.
But for right now, I suggest you click this picture so it's nice and big, and then slowly run your eyes all over this thing... just like you were right there, gently laying your fingers on it and carefully tracing its perfect curves. Imagine the smell of a 650+ hp liquid-cooled V-12 engine with still-warm oil leaking out of the joints. Breathe in the burned and unburned fuel smells that create a cloud of aromic perfection. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to sit in that cockpit and push the throttle forward... you are a race pilot!
Please, don't miss the opportunity to experience this amazing airplane in your mind!
And lastly, did you know that this was actually an Army airplane? Both the airplane AND the engine were built by the same people; the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, and this was all done with the support of the military in the effort to promote better, faster airplanes. What an amazing time in the history of aviation.