The identity and purpose of the new racer were kept secret, being built behind closed doors and away from the main production line, the craftsmen involved in its construction being sworn to secrecy. It was because of this cloak of secrecy that it was dubbed the Mystery Ship by the press, a name that stuck, though it was officially designated the Travel Air Type R, or just the R.
The Type R “Mystery Ships” were a series of wire-braced, low-wing racing airplanes built by the Travel Air company in the late 1920s and early 1930s. They were so called, because the first three aircraft of the series (R614K, R613K, B11D) were built entirely in secrecy.
In total, five Type Rs were built and flown by some of the most notable flyers of the day, including Jimmy Doolittle, Doug Davis, Frank Hawks, and Pancho Barnes, not only in races but also at air shows across the United States, and most notably, by Hawks in Europe.
The Model R series set numerous speed records for both pylon racing and cross country flying, and were the most advanced aircraft of the day, by far outpacing anything that even the military could offer. On September 2, 1929, Doug Davis entered the “Mystery Ship” in the Thompson Cup Race. Davis won at a speed of 194.9 mph (one lap flown at 208.69 mph), beating the military entries, even re-circling one of the pylons. This was the first time in the history of air racing that a civilian racer had outperformed a military aircraft.
Crew: One pilot
Length: 20 ft 2 in (6.15 m)
Wingspan: 27 (29) ft 8 (2) in (8.43 (8.89) m)
Height: 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Empty weight: 1,475 lb (669.05 kg)
Gross weight: 1,940 lb (879.97 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-6-9, 300/400/425 hp (224 kW)
Maximum speed: 235 mph (394.29 km/h)
UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2019/09/27/travel-air-type-r-mystery-ship/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.