The Curtiss CR was a racing aircraft designed for the United States Navy in 1921. It was a conventional single-seater biplane with a monocoque fuselage and staggered single-bay wings of equal span braced with N-struts. Two essentially similar landplane versions were built as the CR-1 and CR-2, which were both eventually converted to seaplanes as the CR-3 in 1923 and CR-4 in 1924. A refined version was developed for the US Army Air Service under the designation R-6. These latter two aircraft featured refined aerodynamics included surface-mounted radiators.
The Curtiss CRs enjoyed successful racing careers. Their first major win was at the 1921 Pulitzer Trophy race, where piloted by Bert Acosta
the CR-1 took first place with an average speed of 176.75 mph
(283.49 km/h), nearly two minutes ahead of its closest rival. The
following year, this aircraft was modified and redesignated CR-2 and
joined in the Pulitzer race by a second aircraft built to the same new
standard, plus two R-6s flown by Army pilots. These Curtiss aircraft
took first through fourth place, the two R-6s followed by the two CR-2s.
The race was won by Lt. Russell Maughan with an average speed of 205.856 mph (330,172 km/h) with Lt. Lester Maitland
in second place (198.850 mph/318.936 km/h). Maughan's effort
incidentally broke every closed-circuit airspeed record up to 124 mi
(200 km). The CR-2s took third and fourth places piloted by Lt Harold Brow (average speed 193.695 mph/310.667 km/h) and Lt Jg Al Williams (average speed 187.996 mph/301.527 km/h).
The Army built upon this success with the R-6s by using the aircraft
to break the world airspeed record before 1922 was out, Gen William Mitchell
flying one to 224.28 mph (359.72 km/h) on 18 October. In March the
following year, an R-6 flown by Lt. Maughan lifted the record to
236.587 mph (380.74 km/h). The R-6 design was developed in 1923 into the
longed-winged XPW-8, the prototype of the PW-8 fighter.
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