6 April 1940: Flying her Seversky AP-7A, NX1384, Jackie Cochran set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and National Aeronautic Association speed record over a 2,000 kilometer (1,242.742 miles) course from Mount Wilson, California (northeast of Los Angeles) to Mesa Giganta, New Mexico (west of Albuquerque) with an average speed of 533.845 kilometers per hour (331.716 miles per hour).¹
The Seversky AP-7 was an improved civil version of the Seversky P-35 fighter, which was the first U.S. Army Air Corps single engine airplane to feature all-metal construction, an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. It was designed by Major Alexander Nikolaievich Prokofiev de Seversky, a World War I Russian fighter ace.
Cochran’s AP-7A was a specially-built racer, modified from the original AP-7 with a new, thinner, wing and different landing gear arrangement. It was powered by a an air-cooled, supercharged, 1,829.39-cubic-inch-displacement (29.978 liter) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1B3-G (R-1830-11) two-row 14-cylinder radial engine rated at 850 horsepower at 2,450 r.p.m. at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), and 1,000 horsepower at 2,600 r.p.m. for take off. The engine turned a three-bladed Hamilton-Standard controllable-pitch propeller through a 3:2 gear reduction. The R-1830-11 was 4 feet, 8.66 inches (1.439 meters) long with a diameter of 4 feet, 0.00 inches (1.219 meters), and weighed 1,320 pounds (599 kilograms).
This is the same airplane in which Jackie Cochran won the 1938 Bendix Trophy Race.
¹ FAI Record File Number 12025.
© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes
2 thoughts on “6 April 1940”
I wonder what route was taken. Did she fly Mount Wilson to Mesa Giganta and back to Mount Wilson? Or to a third intermediate point for a total of 2000 km? Maybe a return trip was required by the rules in order to average out the wind, similar to speed records requiring multiple trips in opposite directions to average out the wind. I checked the distance from Mount Wilson to Albuquerque and it was 665 miles which would agree with a there and back flight. I wonder if that was the case, some of the shorter distance records up to a certain distance required there and back for wind averaging. Then longer trips would be classified as eastbound/westbound since a round trip wouldn’t be possible without refueling.
I hadn’t thought about it before. I thought they were all point to point for distance records.
That’s an interesting question, Steve, but I don’t know the answer. I presumed that it was point to point. She set a 1,000 kilometer record flying the same airplane from Burbank to San Mateo and return, 15 September 1939.
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