Collection Item Summary:
The Conqueror developed from a history of Curtiss engines beginning in the early twentieth century. It was the last of Curtiss liquid cooled engines. The U.S. Navy purchased this engine in 1930 and installed it in the Curtiss XF6C-6 Hawk, a biplane converted to a monoplane racer. On September 1, 1930, U.S. Marine Corps pilot Capt. Arthur H. Page Jr., flew the aircraft in the Thompson Trophy Air Race in Chicago. While leading the field, the aircraft lost power, and Page died during the resulting forced landing.
To determine what happened, the Navy's Aeronautical Engine Laboratory disassembled and inspected the engine. They determined that the magneto drive shaft bushing and housing failed, which most likely retarded the magneto timing enough to cause a loss of power and engine failure. While historians have speculated that Page was overcome by fumes and crashed, the official Navy report indicated otherwise.