Turner, Roscoe

Colorful American barnstormer, stunt pilot, air racer, Bendix and Thompson Trophy winner

Price: $25.00

Description:
(1895-1970) American aviator, 3-time winner of the Thompson Trophy. Mississippi born, he was an inveterate tinkerer with automobiles until he discovered aircraft in 1913. When the US entered WW I, he was turned down for pilot training because he did not have a college education. As the need for pilots grew, education requirements were lowered and he was trained to be a balloon observer, and, privately, he received aircraft pilot training. He was discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1919, purchased a surplus aircraft, and spent the 1920s "barnstorming" with other ex-Army fliers to perform shows across the American midwest & south. He became notable for his Nevada Airlines, flying wealthy people to Reno, Nevada, and made a Colonel in the Nevada National Guard by the Governor for his efforts. He also worked for a time as a stunt pilot for the movies. His Sikorsky S-29 stood in for a German bomber in Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels. When the 1920s ended, Turner became involved in air racing. He set the east-west transcontinental airspeed record at 12 hours 33 minutes, from New York to Burbank, California, on Nov. 14, 1930, besting the former mark set by Frank Hawks by 2 hours 17 minutes. He also won the 1933 Bendix Trophy and the Thompson Trophy in 1934, 1938 & 1939. He is probably best known for his endorsement of the Gilmore Oil Company. They provided him with a lion cub named "Gilmore" for publicity; complete with a cub-sized parachute. Turner frequently took "Gilmore" on tour with him. (Gilmore Oil Company was later absorbed by the Socony-Vacuum Company, which later became the Mobil Company). He established a flying school during WW II that trained some 3,000 pilots. He was also associated with the Porterfield Airplane Company of Kansas City, Missouri. Later in life, he founded the Roscoe Turner Aeronautical Corp. in Indianapolis. In 1947, the CAB granted authority to operate Turner Airlines, later renamed Lake Central Airlines. He was an honorary official with the Indianapolis 500 car race for many years. In 1952, Turner was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress for his contributions to aviation, and was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991. The aircraft with which Turner won the 1938 & 1939 Thompson Trophy, the Laird-Turner RT-14 Meteor, is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Annex of the National Air and Space Museum. US 1968 US 10c 50th Anniversary of Air Mail Service stamp (plate block of 4 stamps affixed) cacheted 3 x 6 First Day Cover, postmarked "First Day of Issue", Washington, May 18 1968, and signed at top left.

Condition: Very good
Type:First Day Cover






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