Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This collection consist of Cyrus Bettis' logbook, photographs, and correspondence document the Pulitzer flights as well as Bettis' career as an army air service pursuit pilot.

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aeronautics
  • Airplane racing
  • Curtiss R3C-2 Racer

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Bettis, Cyrus


Pulitzer Trophy Race

Physical description

.05 cubic feet (1 folder)


  • 1924
  • 1924-1926


Cyrus Bettis (1893-1926) was one of the leading Army Air Service pursuit pilots in the early to mid-1920s. Born in Carsonville, Michigan, Bettis entered the Army as a flying cadet in February 1918. He attended the school of Military Aeronautics at the University of Illinois and was sent to Camp Dick, Dallas, Texas in April of that year. He finished his flight training and was commissioned second Lieutenant, Air Service (Aeronautics) on September 11, 1918. On July 1, 1920, Bettis was commissioned in the Regular Army and promoted to First Lieutenant. During the International Air Races in 1924, Lt. Bettis won the John L. Mitchell Trophy Race. Bettis won the October 1925 Pulitzer Trophy competition and established a world record of 249.342 miles per hour, flying the Curtiss R3C-2 Racer in its land plane configuration. Bettis was also the backup pilot for the 1925 Schenider Trophy competition and flew the R3C extensively in its float plane configuration. Bettis, along with Lt. James Doolittle, was awarded the Mackay Trophy for 1925. Bettis died at the Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington DC on September 1, 1926, as a result of injures he received in an aircraft accident on August 23, 1926, when in heavy fog he crashed into a mountainside near Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Cite as

Cyrus Bettis Collection, Accession 2009-0038, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Logs (records)
  • Collection descriptions
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Local number