At the end of 1912 Jacques Schneider announced his intention of presenting an annual trophy for an international seaplane contest. There were only twelve Schneider contests but they were major international events with the major rivals being Britain and Italy, followed by France and the US. Biplane seaplanes and flying-boats predominated the early contests and some very advanced twin-float biplanes were among the winners as late as 1925. However, it was the monoplane which was to become the symbol of Schneider Trophy, with Supermarine and Macchi designs reaching the peak of racing seaplane performance. The final winning combination of Supermarine airframe and Rolls-Royce engine was to make a vital contribution to Britain's defence in 1940 in the form of the Rolls-Royce powered Hurricane and Spitfire. This book records the contests and, in considerable detail, the design, development and achievements of the participating aircraft; those which failed to take part; and the projects, some of which embodied very advanced ideas even if they were proved to be unrealistic.
A Gloster Aircraft Company engineering apprenticeship began Derek James' lifetime service to aviation in the ATC, Royal Observer Corps, Royal Navy and RAF, the SBAC and the Dowty Group. He is the author of nineteen aviation books and has participated in many television and radio programmes and in the 1980's and 1990's was the voice at many air shows throughout the country.