Schneider Trophy Seaplanes and Flying Boats

Victors, Vanquished and Visions by Ralph Pegram

Established in 1912, the Schneider Trophy air race, named after financier, balloonist and aviation enthusiast Jacque Schneider was designed to encourage technical advances in civil aviation. It did achieve this to some degree but it also quickly evolved into a pure speed race over a triangular course 280kms long (later 350km). These races were hugely popular with the general public and as the technology advanced, the competition became fiercer and the spoils, a cash prize and an impressive trophy, always remained with the winning team until the following year’s race. When a team won the trophy for three years in a row the trophy was won outright and this is what happened in 1931 when Britain won. Year on year the performance of the aircraft involved rapidly rose and future designs such as the Spitfire, P-51 Mustang and C.202 Folgore were heavily influenced by the Schneider Trophy contenders.

This is a substantial book by Ralph Pegram simply broken down into 21 chapters, the bulk of them covering each year’s event; 1912 to 1914 and 1919 to 1931. Each race has a map of the course and lovely 1/72 line three view line drawings (there are over 120 in total) of some of the entrants plus period black and white photography (271 in total). There is a hell of a lot of text crammed into this book and that’s where my only criticism lies; to encompass all the text the double column layout pushes very close to the edge of the page which is OK at the outer point, but closer to the spine can be a problem. I appreciate a more spaced out layout would have incurred a considerable number of extra pages.     

Very well-researched book, packed to the gunnels with information about this famous race, its aircraft and the effect it had on the aircraft industry at the time. Thanks very much to Jay at Fonthill Media for our review copy.


ISBN: 978-1-78155-179-0

Price: £40.00

Pages: 352

Format: hardback – 280 x 225mm

Publisher: Fonthill Media