For the 1923 Pulitzer Race Wright wanted to smash the
supremacy of Curtiss in the field of racing aircraft, so Wright designed
the TX with the same and clean lines as the R-6 racers of Curtiss. The
small wooden biplane had a monocoque structure and the Wright T-3 racing
engine had a 200 hp advantage over the Curtiss engines. Second
Lieutenant Lawson H. “Sandy” Sanderson took the TX A-6743 for its maiden
flight from Curtiss Field, Garden City, NY, on 27 August 1923.
The biplane had a fuel capacity of 31.7 US gallons (120 l), barely the
needed quantity for the 124 ml (200 km) race. Wing surface radiators
(hence the dark wing area) cooled the engine that drove a two-blade
wooden propeller. During construction the second TX (A-6744) had the
fuel quantity increased to 60 US gallons (227 l) and a Hamilton
three-blade duralumin propeller was fitted, later this sort of
propeller was also fitted to the first aircraft.
On 16 September 1923 the TX flown by Sanderson established an average of
247.7 mph (398.5 kmh), very promising for the Pulitzer Race. The TX was
redesignated F2W-1 and on 6 October 1923 Sanderson flew in his red
Number 8 (A-6743) the first and fastest lap at 240.3 mph (386.6 kmh) and
finished after four laps at an average of 230.06 mph (370.17 kmh).
Running out of fuel Sanderson crash-landed the aircraft and it was
completely wrecked, but “Sandy” escaped serious injuries.
Lieutenant Steve Calloway flew Number 7 (A-6744) to an averaged speed of
230 mph (370 kmh) precisely, but the Curtiss R2C made an average of
243.68 mph (392.08 kmh), so again Wright was not able to defeat Curtiss.
A-6744 was extensively modified by Wright and fitted with floats it
turned into a seaplane racer. In this form the aircraft was known as the
F2W-2, but not for long as early in 1924 it crashed during testing and
was damaged beyond repair.