Thursday, August 04, 2005

GOOD READS - "Flying the Mail"

Earlier this year my sister and I visited the American Philatelic Society's headquarters in Bellefonte (pronunced "bell-font") Pennsylvania. We were royally welcomed and given the grand tour. I didn't realize it at the time, but the town was a philatelic landmark even before the APS arrived.

In the 1982 Time-Life book, Flying the Mail (part of the Epic of Flight Series), Bellefonte is mentioned quite a few a times. It's a wonderful book for airmail enthusists with lots of photos.

Bellefonte's philatelic claim to fame is that when the Post Office decided to establish a airmail service between New York and Cleveland in the summer of 1918, it picked a farmer's field near the town as a refueling stop. Later it became one of the country's first radio-equipped airfields.

Because of its proximity to the Allegheny Mountains and the frequent bad weather conditions, the approach into Bellefonte was nicknamed "Hell Stretch." Several pilots were killed before the airfield was moved in 1925.

For more on Bellefonte airfield, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM