Cyrus Bettis
Lt. C. Bettis
Collection of Beverly Kurts, 5-6-05

  Life of Cyrus Bettis Bettis Airfield  

Air Races
Pulitzer Trophy
The Crash

via email from Jo Swanson, 9-30-05
Dear Mr. Cooper:
     My mother (Hope Bettis Meyer) told me when I was 16 that Cyrus Bettis was her uncle. He was her father's younger brother. Clark Bettis was her father's name.
     This came about when at 16 I was cleaning out the attic & came across a photo of two men standing in front of an old bi-plane. In the corner was written "To My Pal Cy....(I don't remember what else) & signed by Jimmie Doolittle. Needless to say, I asked my mother who was this gentleman with Jimmie Doolittle..she told me her uncle who had died years before somewhere out East & there was an airfield named after him somewhere.
     A few years ago, my husband searched the internet & found info on him from the Smithsonian site...WOW..were we surprised! I wish I knew where he was buried & any other personal info on him.
     I would greatly appreciate any info or if you could point me in the right direction on this.
Jo Swanson
Editor's Note: If you can help us with more information on Cyrus Bettis, I will forward your message to Jo. We will all appreciate any help you may be able to give.

     Using the Google search engine on the name "Cyrus Bettis +aviation", (4-5-05), you will find some 128 links. Many of them simply document his winning of the 1925 Pulitzer Trophy in the Curtiss R3C-1 racer. Among the most helpful are the following.

     You will find a brief biography and a photograph of Cyrus on this page of the "A Place in the Sky:" website, A Pictorial and Spoken History of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and Aviation in Western Pennsylvania. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

  Farman Sport  
A Pictorial and Spoken History of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
and Aviation in Western Pennsylvania
ISBN: 1-885851-17-0

Biographies of the Pioneers: (Charles B. "Charlie" Carroll,
James DeWitt Hill, Carl Strickler, Raymond "Pappy" Elder, Lloyd Santmyer, Clyde Hauger, Dave Patterson, Lou Strickler, Russ Brinkley, Frank Fox, Joe Reedy, Earl Metzler, George Allen, Elmer Ashbaugh, Clifford Ball, D. Barr Peat, Ken Scholter, Dr Lytle Adams.
Airports: Longview Flying Field, J.D. Hill Airport, Latrobe Municipal Airport, Latrobe-Westmoreland Airport, Westmoreland County Airport, Bettis Field (Mckeesport, PA), Rodgers Field (Aspinwall, PA), Pittsburgh-Greensburg Airport.
Events: All American Aviation Air Mail Pick-Up, Path of Eagle, Pennsylvania Airlines, Pennsylvania Central Airlines, Founding of the OX5 Pioneers of America.
Format:250 Pages, 8x11, gloss paper, Smythe Bound. 390 Rare photos and documents. Scores of news items spanning ninety years of aviation history.
This website offers two Microsoft Power Point slide shows.
Prepared by Richard Wissolik

1. Lytle Adams, Air Mail Pickup System (25 slides)
2. Early Days, Planes, Pioneers, Barnstormers, Promoters (39 slides)
To visit the site, just click on: Place in the Sky
For imformation, send e-mail to Richard Wissolik

Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Southwestern Pennsyvania
     This page, on the Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields website by Paul Freeman, offers a very comprehensive article on the Bettis Airfield. The field was originally known as the Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport, but was renamed Bettis Field after the death of Lt. Cyrus Bettis. It includes a history of the airfield itself, a biography of Cyrus Bettis, and a number of important photographs. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Selfridge Field
Deborah J. Larsen & Lt. Col. Louis J. Nigro
Product Details
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
(May 24, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 0738540234
Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
List Price: $19.99
Courtesy of Deborah J. Larsen
     A portrait of Cyrus Bettis appears on p.37 of my book, and includes the following caption:
     "Lt. Cyrus K. Bettis (1893-1926) was the winner of the 1924 Mitchell Trophy Race, held at Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio, with an average speed of 175.43 miles per hour. Bettis also won the Pulitzer Trophy the following year and was subsequently killed in an airplane crash in Pennsylvania in 1926. He was one of six unfortunate Mitchell Trophy winner who perished in air crashes."
     The remainder of the chapter in which this entry appears has to do with air racing at Selfridge Field during the golden age of aviation, concentrating particularly on the Mitchell Trophy Race for member of the First Pursuit Group.
More complete information may be found by clicking on:



Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper


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