Fairbanks Alaska, The General, and the Mackay Trophy

Posted by on April 16, 2008

The thirties weren’t all bad. It’s easy to slip into the “Depression” mode when thinking of these years, but the truth was (and is) that “life goes on….” With that in mind, let’s talk about Fairbanks Alaska, Hap Arnold, and the Mackay Trophy today…..


Known for his influential role in the buildup of American airpower in the 1930’s-40’s, Henry “Hap” Arnold, is also responsible for winning the Mackay Trophy for his run to Fairbanks Alaska in 1934, in the world’s hottest bomber, the Martin B-10.


Known for its all metal construction, and many advancements over the previous series of bombers known as the “Keystone” series, the National Museum of the USAF states:

“…Powered by two 775-hp Wright R-1820 Cyclone engines, Martin’s advanced design made the B-10 50 percent faster than contemporary biplane bombers and as fast as most of the fighters….”


The run to Fairbanks

In the book, American Airpower Comes of Age, Huston and Arnold talk about the amazing trip. Taking the B-10’s, some of which had been used to carry the mail, they made the trip with little, if any problems. They completed an “aerial mapping mission” and traveled over 1,000 miles back over the ocean, landing in Seattle to a press of celebrities and news media, including personalities such as Clark Gable and Amelia Earhart. Averaging over 800 miles a day, this was a showcase for American airpower as well as the B-10 and Arnold. Although turned down for the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for the trip, he was awarded the coveted Mackay Trophy for the flight.

Try the links below for more details on Arnold and the flight as well as technical information on the B-10, which although not serving much in combat during World War II, played an important role in bringing the United States airpower up to modern times…and in turn paving the way for the bombers of World War II.

Have a great day, see you tomorrow!


Henry “Hap” Arnold Biograph Sheet

American Airpower Comes of Age

Foulois and the U.S. Army Air Corps

Wikipedia: Mackay Trophy

Wikipedia: Martin B-10

United States Air Force Museum Fact Sheet: Martin B-10

Fiddlersgreen paper model: B-10

Centennial of Flight: Hap Arnold


(1)United States Air Force Bio.

(2)Me, visit to United States Air Force Museum, Dayton OH.

(3)Centennial of Flight: B-10

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