Laird-Turner Meteor LTR-14

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Meteor LTR-14
Laird Turner Special.jpg
Role Racing aircraft
National origin America
Manufacturer Lawrence Brown Aircraft Company
Designer Roscoe Turner, Professor Howard Barlow
Introduction 1936
Number built 1

The Laird-Turner RT-14 Meteor, also called the Turner TR-14, Ring Free Meteor, PESCO Special, Miss Champion, Turner Special and the Turner Meteor was the winning aircraft of the 1938 and 1939 Thompson Trophy races.[1]

Design and development[edit]

The aircraft was commissioned and designed by Roscoe Turner in 1936.[2] The Meteor would be the last of the Matty Laird race planes as well as the last race plane flown by Roscoe Turner.[3]

The aircraft is a conventional geared mid-wing monoplane with a radial engine built in California. It was modified in 1936 by Mattie Laird at the E. M. Laird Airplane Company in Chicago with three-foot longer wings, wing flaps, a longer fuselage and a 50 U.S. gallons (190 L; 42 imp gal) fuel tank.[4] In 1938 wheel pants were added for the Oakland races.

Operational history[edit]

On display at the National Air and Space Museum

The aircraft was known by many names. Initially the RT-14 for "Roscoe-Turner 14 cylinder".[5] The air commerce bureau labed it the Model No. LTR-14, Serial No. 11, Type 1 POLM.[6] The first sponsor was the Ring-Free Oil company, naming the aircraft the Ring-Free Meteor.[7] The 1938 sponsor, Pump Engineering Service Corp renamed the aircraft "The PESCO SPECIAL". In 1939, the Champion Spark Plug Co borrowed the name from its 1931 Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro, giving the aircraft the name "Miss Champion".

  • 1937 National Air Races - Turner placed third after missing a pylon in the sun at 253.802 mph (408 km/h). A fire from a leaking fuel tank prevented Turner from racing in the Bendix Trophy race and required the fabric to be recovered before competing.
  • 1938 National Air Races - Turner won the Thompson Trophy Race at 283.416 mph (456 km/h)
  • 1938 Oakland Air Race - Second place[8]

The original aircraft was put into storage at Weir Cook Airport for 29 years until it was restored, then donated to the Frederick G. Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.[9] In December 1972 the plane along with many of Roscoe Turner's trophies were transferred to the Smithsonian.[10] The aircraft retired with less than 30 hours flying time.[11]

The Cook Islands minted a $2 Coin in 2008 featuring the Laird-Turner Meteor LTR-14 as part of its 1930s Air Racing Collection[12]


  • In 2003, Tom Wathen built a replica of the LTR-14, demonstrating it at the 2003 EAA Airventure airshow.[13]

Specifications (Laird-Turner RT-14 Meteor)[edit]

Data from Smithsonian

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 304 kn; 563 km/h (350 mph)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carroll V. Glines. Roscoe Turner: aviation's master showman. p. 328.
  2. ^ "Turner RT-14 Meteor". Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Good and Spooky Replica LTR-14". Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  4. ^ Skyways. October 2001. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Eric F. Long; Mark A. Avino; John Travolta; Dana Bell. In the Cockpit: Inside 50 History-Making Aircraft.
  6. ^ "The Roscoe Turner Museum". Sport Aviation. April 1971.
  7. ^ Skyways. October 2001. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Skyways: 55. October 2001. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "The Roscoe Turner Museum". Sport Aviation. April 1971.
  10. ^ "CORINTH INFORMATION DATABASE VERSION 1.3". Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  11. ^ "Good and Spooky Replica LTR-14". Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  12. ^ George S. Čuhaj; Thomas Michael. 2012 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001 to Date.
  13. ^ "Good and Spooky Replica LTR-14". Retrieved 14 November 2011.