Featured Links

Plan Your Visit
E-newsletter Sign-up
Explore Museum Exhibits
Browse Photos
Visit Press Room
Become a Volunteer
Air Force Museum Foundation

1962 Bendix Trophy

On March 5, 1962, Capts. Robert G. Sowers (pilot), Robert MacDonald (navigator) and John T. Walton (defensive systems operator) flew from Los Angeles to New York City in the B-58A on display at the museum in only 2 hours 56.8 seconds, an average speed of 1,214.17 miles per hour. For this, they were awarded the Bendix Trophy for 1962 and each received the Distinguished Flying Cross. They broke two other speed records on the return flight -- New York to Los Angeles and for the roundtrip.

Twenty-eight years later on March 6, 1990, an Air Force crew flew an SR-71 Blackbird from Los Angeles to the east coast (Washington, D.C.) in just under 68 minutes, at an average speed of 2,124.5 mph.

The Bendix Trophy cross-country races, sponsored by the Bendix Corp., began in 1931. The award was established to encourage aviation progress. The winner of the first such race was Maj. James H. Doolittle, who flew from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Ohio, at an average speed of 223 miles per hour. The actual Bendix Trophy is nearly three feet tall and weighs approximately 100 pounds. Winners receive a smaller replica such as the one pictured at left and displayed near the B-58 in the museum.

Click here to return to the Cold War Gallery.


Find Out More
Related Fact Sheets
Convair B-58A Hustler
Lockheed SR-71A
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.