The Gee Bee R-1
The Gee Bee R1 and R2 have to be two of the most unusual aircraft of the 20th century! Designed by the Granville Brothers (hence the name Gee Bee) in the early 1930's, these tubby little aircraft took the aviation world by storm.
The R1 had an 800-Horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp Senior engine installed.
On 5th September 1932, in the hands of Jimmy Doolittle, the Gee Bee smashed the World Air Speed record with a blazing 294.38 mph (474 km/h). Doolittle then went on to win the 1932 Thomson Trophy Race in front of 50,000 screaming fans. The short wings helped this aircraft maintain such high speeds due to significantly reduced drag.
But these little aircraft had an awesome reputation in other ways. Some pilots could not handle these twitchy fast flying machines, and several pilots died in spectacular crashes.
The proposed C-8 transport model was never completed due to lack of funding.