The King's Cup Race is an annual British handicapped cross-country air race, is run by the Royal Aero Club Records Racing and Rally Association and was first contested on 8 September 1922. The event was open to Commonwealth pilots only.
The event was established by King George V as an incentive to the development of light aircraft and engine design. The first race was an 810-mile contest from Croydon Aerodrome, south of London, to Glasgow, Scotland and back again after an overnight stop. The winner of the first race was Frank L. Barnard, chief pilot of the Instone Air Line, in a passenger-carrying Airco DH.4A.
There were no races during World War II (1939–45), and the contest did not resume until 1949. The race was abandoned in 1951, due to bad weather. In 1953 a crowd of 10.000 watching the King's Cup Air Race meeting at Southend-on-Sea Essex, saw a mid-air collision in which John Crowther, a hotelier from the Marine Hotel, Tankerton, Kent, was killed.
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