The Schneider Trophy
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 quickly.
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 miles.
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.


Année Lieu Pilote Appareil Vitesse
moyenne (km/h)
1913Monaco M.Prévost France Deperdussin Monocoque 72.600
1914Monaco C.H.Pixton UK Sopwith 'Tabloid' 139.660
1919 Bournemouth Canceled
1920Venezia L.Bologna Italie SIAI S.12 172.561
1921Venezia G.De Briganti Italie Macchi M-7bis 189.677
1922Napoli H.C.Biard UK Supermarine Sea Lion II 234.516
1923Cowes D.Rittenhouse USA Curtiss C.R.3 285.457
1925Baltimore J.Doolittle USA Curtiss R3C-2 374.247
1926Hampton Roads Bernardi Italie Macchi M-39 396.612
1927Venezia S.N.Webster UK Supermarine S.5 453.282
1929Calshot H.R.D.Waghorn UK Supermarine S.6 528,867
1931Calshot J.N.Boothman UK Supermarine S.6B 547.633

In memoriam

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.


Les Ailes
El Trofeo Schneider. Julio Toledo, Salvador Rello. Ed. Flaps
L'hydravion à la conquête des records. Marie-Paule Vié-Klaze, Jean-Marie Geneste. Ed. Signes du Monde

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