DAN SHUMAKER COLLECTION
No. 9142. Wright NW-2 (A-6544) US Navy
Photograph from Reid Photo Studio

Wright NW-2

07/31/2009. In the early 1920s, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation developed the T-series of Wright Tornado engines, the T-2 began ground test-running during May 1922. The USN was impressed by its performance and funded the construction of two aircraft, while acting as flying test beds, these aircraft would enter the 1922 Pulitzer Trophy Race.

Drawings for the NW-1 (Navy-Wright 1) were produced by Commander J. Hunsaker, of the USNs Bureau of Aeronautics, the aircraft received the BuNo. A-6543 and A-6544, and the first was flown on October 11, 1922. Built up from welded steel tube, the wings were plywood covered while the trailing-edge and ailerons. The T-2 Tornado twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled V-engine delivered 600 hp, its radiators were carried on the N-struts of the lower wing, which also supported the main landing gear.

Three day after the first flight, the aircraft entered the Pulitzer race on October 14, flown by USMC 2nd Lieutenant Lawson "Al" H. Sanderson, and recorded a speed of 209 mph (336.34 kmh). Due to engine failure the NW-1 crashed into Lake St Clair, Michigan, Sanderson escaped serious injuries.

The second NW-1, BuNo. A-6544, was flown in December 1922 and after a series of engine test flights from Mitchel Field, Long Island, the aircraft was returned to Wright for conversion to float-biplane with equal-span wings that were fitted with surface radiators to cool the upgraded 750 hp T-2 Tornado. Designated NW-2, the aircraft was shipped to the UK in September as an USN entrant in the 1923 Schneider Trophy.

USN Lieutenant Adolphus W. Gorton flew one practice run over the course, however, estimated to run for five hours, the T-2 blew up some 20 min after takeoff and A-6544 crashed off coast near Cowes, Gorton escaped injuries.

Created July 31, 2009