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Curtiss Model 32 / R2C

The Curtiss R2C was a racing aircraft designed for the United States Navy in 1923 by Curtiss.

It was a single-seat biplane with a monocoque fuselage and staggered single-bay wings of unequal span braced with I-struts.

The aircraft’s advanced streamlining featured a top wing mounted directly to the top of the fuselage and surface-mounted radiators for cooling the engine.

The aircraft was originally designed and built as a landplane under the Navy designation R2C-1, of which two examples were produced.

One was converted into a seaplane version known as the R2C-2 the following year.

The R2C-1s were entered in the 1923 Pulitzer Trophy race and took first and second places piloted by Lt Jg Al Williams and Lt Harold Brow at average speeds of 243.67 and 241.78 mph (392.15 and 389.11 km/h).

Later in the year, Brow took one of the R2C-1s to 259.16 mph (417.08 km/h) and set a new world airspeed record.

On 4 November 1923, Lieutenant Alford J Williams Jr, U.S. Navy, set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a 3-Kilometer Course of 429.03 kilometres per hour (266.59 miles per hour).

The second aircraft was sold shortly thereafter to the US Army for the token sum of $1.

The Army designated it the R-8 and intended to race the aircraft against the Navy in the 1924 Pulitzer Trophy Race in Fairfield, Ohio, but it was destroyed in a crash during training shortly before the competition killing the pilot, First Lieutenant Alexander Pearson, Jr.

The remaining R2C had its wheeled undercarriage replaced by pontoons during 1924 in preparation for that year’s Schneider Trophy race, but the event was cancelled due to a lack of competitors.

As it was, the aircraft won that year’s Pulitzer Trophy in the seaplane class with an average speed of 227.5 mph (366.1 km/h).

The aircraft ended its days training pilots for the 1925 and 1926 Schneider Trophy races.



Landplane racer, two built (A6691 and A6692).


Floatplane racer, one converted from A6692.






19 ft 8.5 in (6.007 m)


22 ft 0 in (6.71 m)


6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)

Wing area

148 sq ft (13.7 m2)


Curtiss C-62

Empty weight

1,877 lb (851 kg)

Gross weight

2,071 lb (939 kg)


1 × Curtiss D-12A V-12 water-cooled piston engine,

507 hp (378 kW)


2-bladed Curtiss-Reed


Maximum speed

266 mph (428 km/h, 231 kn) at sea level


173 mi (278 km, 150 nmi) at full throttle

430 mi (370 nmi; 690 km) cruising

Service ceiling

31,800 ft (9,700 m)

Time to altitude

10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 3 minutes 36 seconds

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