Jimmy Doolittle and the GeeBee as raced at the National Air Races in Cleveland around 1932. The aircraft had an 800 HP Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine. Small wings and control surfaces meant that it was very unstable.
The image below is of the same man launching his B-25 bomber off the deck of the USS Hornet on the first US raid on Tokyo During WWII. No catapults here.
USS HORNET, PACIFIC OCEAN 1942 — Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle performs a full-throttle takeoff from the USS Hornet 650 miles from Japan on a secret mission. The Doolittle Raid, U.S. Army Air Force special order #1 of World War II, was a daring one-way mission of 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers with 80 aircrew, commanded by Colonel Doolittle, to carry out America's first offensive attack on Japan. The crews secretly trained for two-weeks and modified the B-25s at Eglin Air Force Base's Wagner Field, Auxiliary Field 1 prior to the mission. (Photo courtesy National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)