Capt. Kenneth Chandler, Bendix Trophy Winner, O’Hare Field to Andrews AFB, 1957

Bendix - Planning the RaceUntitled-8

5 responses

  1. Air Reservist (volume 1957)
    Capt. Kenneth D. Chandler, of ADCs Central Air Defense Force, set a record in winning the Bendix Trophy Race by flying his F-102 Delta Dagger from Chicago in less than 55 minutes at an average speed of 679 mph. This distance covered was 619 miles. Capt. Chandler is a flight leader with the 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Duluth, Minn.
    Presentation of the Bendix Trophytook place at the air show.

    WASHINGTON—Captain Kenneth D. Chandler, a 33-year-old jet ace of the Korean war, set a new Bendix air race record of 679 miles an hour today.

    Captain Chandler flew a Convair F-102 delta-wing interceptor 620 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Field to nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in 54 minutes, 45 seconds. Five other Air Force pilots also made the race.

    June 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

  2. It is an interesting story, even if it is over 50 years late in the telling.
    This original full size trophy resided in my home for over 4 years (I was a
    child at the time.) Feel free to use any of the pictures or text I am
    providing. In case anyone is interested, I have many more pictures and
    newspaper articles along with the first place trophy.

    In 1957 the last competitive air race for the Bendix trophy was flown using
    the current state-of-the-art production aircraft, the F-102 Delta Dagger.
    The race was won by Capt. Kenneth Chandler, beating out his commanding
    officer by 31.3 seconds. No pleasing the boss here. The first, second and
    third place winner’s trophies (smaller reproductions of the original trophy)
    were gold, silver and bronze respectively. Capt. Kenneth Chandler died in
    an air craft crash in 1958. There was no race for the Bendix trophy for
    several years. The Bendix air race trophy was originally intended to
    stimulate competition for man and machine to improve and excel in flying
    machines. Because military aircraft were the fastest planes, the race for
    the trophy was loosing its original objective. The jet engine version of
    the Bendix race had become a race between identical production aircraft and
    subsequently largely about the flying skill of the pilots. Trying to
    protect the integrity of the Bendix air race, his surviving wife stubbornly
    held on to the full size trophy for years, insisting on another “race”
    before surrendering it. Finally, the Bendix air race officials chose to
    call new speed records a “race” for the Bendix trophy and she reluctantly
    surrendered the full size trophy. The Bendix trophy was retired after being
    awarded in 1962 for the cross country speed record set by the B-58 and its
    crew. The trophy now resides in the National Air and Space Museum in
    Washington DC as a tribute to all the men, women and supporting teams that
    flew for the Bendix. (The third plaque ring of race winners has been
    removed from the trophy so all the winner’s plaques are no longer on the

    Keith Chandler, Colonel, USAF, BSC, Retired

    June 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

  3. Rome News Tribune – Jul 29, 1957

    Jet Ace Kenneth D. Chandler won the Bendix Air Rase yesterday with a record speed performance – but he almost ran out of fuel at the end.
    Piloting a Convair F102 intercepter, Air Force Capt. Chandler averaged 679 miles an hour in flying the 620 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Field to Andrews Air Force Base in nearby Maryland. Elapsed time of the flight was 54 minutes 451/2 seconds.
    Chandler bested five other Air Force pilots, all of whom flew delta-wing F102s.
    Chandler’s record was 13 miles an hour faster than the former mark set last year by Maj. Manuel (Pete) Fernandez.
    Chandler, a 33 year old Korean War veteran from Compton, Calif., and Duluth, Minn., took on a minimum fuel supply to hold down his plane’s weight.
    “My engine flamed out for lack of fuel as I taxied down the runway after the landing,” he said.
    The Bendix race was one of the first events of a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force.

    June 4, 2014 at 8:33 pm

  4. Michael Andrew Chandler

    I remember seeing this trophy at my grandmothers house during the dispute over holding another race. It seems that the air force sent MPs to my aunts house (just down the road) to retrieve the trophy! It seems to me that this was a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. At the time I was about as tall as the Bendix trophy. My father, Andrew T. Chandler, is (uncle) Kenny’s older brother. My father told me the story of the race, how uncle Kenny ran out of fuel taxing off the runway. My father told me of several other stories uncle Kenny told him about his time in the ETO flying P-47s, Korea flying F-86s, and flying as Chuck Yeager’s wing man while making a movie for Howard Hughes called Jet Pilot. My father told me back in the 60’s that uncle Kenny fought Mig 15’s that had Russian pilots. My dad said kenny could allways tell when russians were flying the Migs, the Migs were much better at combat, and he could hear them talking russian over the radio! One story in particular, about uncle Kenny participating is a secret army/navy reenactment of the Pearl Harbor raid around 1946-7. Kenny’s P-47 and a navy pilot’s plane had engine trouble and both of them had to bail out over the ocean. The reenactment was called off to do a search for these two pilots. Any one ever hear of this incident? I have searched for references to this and could not find anything.

    September 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    • Bill Manos

      My father flew P-47s with Yeager during WW2 as well.

      April 6, 2016 at 8:39 pm

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