b'newsreels, and the radio. The U.S. National Airand military organizations Races began in the mid-1920s and peaked duringbegan staging theirthe Great Depression of the 1930s. At a timeown events. when many people were unemployed and destitute,According to the the National Air Races proved extremely popular.International CouncilCleveland hosted most of the yearly contests,of Air Shows, as ofwith Los Angeles staging the others. Thanks toJuly 2002, somewhere extensive national media coverage, fans couldfrom 15 to 18 million learn about the contests from sources thatspectators attendincluded newspapers, newsreels, and the radio. North American airSpeed was the main focus of these races shows annually. where competitors flew against each otherSignificantly and not around a pylon-marked course. surprisingly, one of theU.S Air Force PhotoLike the early exhibition contests and most active promoters of barnstorming shows, the National Air Races modern air shows has been the military. saw their share of fatalities. Two of the most popular and famousDuring the 1930 National Air Races, two pilotsmilitary air show groups have been the U.S. died in crashes. In subsequent years, the deathNavys Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Forces toll would climb, especially in such controversialThunderbirds. Both units are high-precisionaircraft as the Gee Bees. Nevertheless, due toflight teams that perform breathtaking stuntsthe fans desire for speed, the pilots continued toat top speeds. push their limits and the limits of their aircraft. Modern air shows do not differ much from their After World War II, when airplanes were nohistoric predecessors. Although aircraft have longer a novelty. Crowds were less socially andgotten faster, spectators still go to see the basics, culturally diverse than they once had been. Thestunts, speed, and to watch pilots flirt with death. majority of spectators now tended to be sportThroughout the 20th century, air shows were a enthusiasts and military plane buffs. constant source of entertainment, and there is During the post-war period, air shows sprang every reason to believe that they will continue to up worldwide. Many cities, aircraft societies, remain so in the 21st century. JGranville Brothers Aircraft Gee Bees came to be regarded as totally treacherous U.S Air Force Photoaircraft, certain to kill whoever flew them. Granville Brothers Aircraft manufacturer the Gee BeeMost often the result of inadequately prepared pilots classic airplane from 1929 until its bankruptcy in 1934. attempting to fly the Bee Gee aircraft understands its Located at the Springfield Airport in Springfield,characteristics.Massachusetts, the R-1 and R-2, were built for theIn recent years a replica of the famed Granville 1932 air-racing season. The Gee Bee classic airplaneBrothers Gee Bee racer Sportster R-2 was built and was as streamlined as the Granville Brothers couldflown by Delmar Benjamin.make it. The beautiful Gee Bee Model Z, powered by a 535-horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr. engine. Lowell Bayles flew it to victory in the 1931 Thompson Trophy Race at 236.239 miles per hour. Bayles would be killed in the Model Z on December 5, 1931, in an attempton the worlds speed record.Two Gee Bees, the R-1 and R-2, were built for the 1932 air-racing season. Jimmy Doolittle flew the R-1 to a new worlds landDelmar has shown that theplane speed record of 296 mph, then wonGee Bee is a capable aerobatic the Thompson at 252.7 mph. It was the highaircraft in the hands of a pilot who point of Gee Bee history, for only tragedy wouldunderstands the aircraft behavior.follow for the rest of the decade as one Gee Bee Gee Bee, R-3 Super Sportster, designation R-3 (parts from R-1 and R-2 aircraft) crash followed another. Official Nickname: Super Sportster. Photo, San Diego Air and Space Museum ArchiveThank You For Your Service Military Appreciation Resource Magizine 9'