Race planes of the 1930s' - The Brown B-2 Racer

By Willie Bodenstein





Designed by Lawrence W. Brown, the Brown B-2 single-seat touring monoplane was an American-built small monoplane racing aircraft built in 1934 by the
Brown Aircraft Company. The B-2, of which only one was built, had its first flight in 1934.

Dubbed "Miss Los Angeles" the B-2, a development from the B-1 was designed with a minimal cross-section to reduce drag. It had an open, single-person cockpit and a fixed tail-skid undercarriage and was powered by a Menasco B-6 160 hp (120 kW) in-line engine that enabled it to reach a top speed of 230.465 mph (370.897 km/h).



Looking superb in a distinctive scarlet paint with lettering and accents in gold leaf, she made her debut at the 1934 National Air Races. Entered in the inaugural three-race Greve Trophy competition and flown by Roy Minor, she took first place in speed with 213.257 mph.

The National Air Races (also known as Pulitzer Trophy Races) are a series of pylon and cross-country races that have taken place in the United States since 1920. The science of aviation and the speed and reliability of aircraft and engines grew rapidly during this period. The National Air Races were both a proving ground and showcase for this.



Starting in 1929, the races ran for around 10 days, usually from late August to early September. They ran until 1939 and went on a hiatus because of WWII. The races included a variety of events, including cross-country races. The more popular events were the Thompson Trophy Races which started in 1929; a closed-course race where aviators raced their planes around pylons and the Bendix Trophy Race across most of the USA, starting in 1931.

In 1935, 36 and 37, she was flown by Marion McKeen again in the Greve Trophy Class finishing fifth each time. She was absent in 1938 but was back in 1939 flown by pilot Lee Williams who experienced an engine failure while turning after which she stalled and crashed fatally.

A replica built by Ed Marquart for Bill Turner, renowned replicator of Golden Age racers, is currently part of the collection at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida.






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