Schneider Trophy special: Cowes, 1929
American government interest in the Trophy had pretty much vanished after the 1926 defeat at Hampton Roads. It was left to Navy Lt-Cdr Alford “Al” Williams to try and carry the torch for the US. He planned to enter (and fly) a biplane in the 1927 competition, but engine and float problems forced his private backers to withdraw, as a victory could not be guaranteed.
A similar sequence of events happened in 1929. His pretty mean looking Mercury floatplane, was designed and built in secret by the US Navy, who agreed to provide the transport and crew if the aircraft could beat the world speed record at that time. Unfortunately, it could barely even get off the ground. This was the final roll of the dice for America.
(art from Speedbirds. thanks)