Acknowlegements : Gib Dickerhoof for the english version.
Jacques Schneider was a French industrial manager, licensed plane and
balloon pilot, and, for a long time, held the balloon altitude record
(10.081 m, 33,074 ft.).
Deprived of flying due to a serious accident, he
supported various competitions and aero clubs financially.
As race referee at the Monaco meeting in 1912, he noticed that seaplane
design was lagging far behind other aircraft. Since seaplanes promised
to be the best solution for long-range passenger service, Mr. Schneider
thought that a seaplane race would allow these aircraft to improve more
On December 5th, 1912, at the Aéro-Club de France, he offered a trophy
for a seaplane race and proposed a course of at least 150 nautical
This competition was known under various names: Schneider Trophy,
Schneider Cup, and Flying Flirt. The official name, in French, was
"Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider". The trophy was a work of
art costing 25,000 francs (about 67.000 euros 2001). The aero club winning 3 races in 5 years
would retain the cup and the winning pilot would receive 75,000 francs.
Each edition of the race was to be hosted by the previous winning
country. The races were to be supervised by the Fédération Aéronautique
Internationale and the Aero Club in the hosting country.
Each club would be permitted to enter up to three competitors with an
equal number of alternates. In 1921 the course was increased to 212
nautical miles, with only one authorized take off, after a 2,5 nautical
mile water navigation contest.
After 1921, an additional new requirement was added: the seaplane had to remain moored to a buoy for six hours without crew aid.
Crowds in excess of 250,000 spectators gathered to watch the Schneider Cup races, proving a keen public interest in this type of competition.
||Supermarine Sea Lion II
Aeronautical development has sometimes lead to fatal accidents. The
Schneider Trophy never experienced any casualties during competition,
but several pilots were killed training for the races.
U.S. citizens Harmon J. Norton in 1923 in a Curtiss CR-3 and Franck Connaut in 1926. Frenchman Georges Bougault in a Bernard H.V.120, in 1931. Sam Kinkhead in 1928 and Jerry Brinton in 1931 in a Supermarine S.5, from
Great-Britain. Italy had five casualties: Vittorio Centurione in 1926 in
a Macchi M-39; Giuseppe Motta in 1929 in a Macchi M-67; Tomasso Dal
Molin in 1930 in a Savoia S.65; Giovani Monti and Stanislao Bellini in
1931 in a Macchi MC-72.
If you are interested in float planes, visit the
Musée Historique de l'Hydraviation
332, rue Louis Bréguet 40600 Biscarrosse, France
+(33) 5 58 78 00 65