Tuesday, November 16, 2010

100th Anniversary of First U.S. Air Mail Flight

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of air mail in the United States.

According to the AirMailPioneers.org website, "In the year 1911 demonstrations of airplane mail service were made in India, England and the United States. The first air mail service in the United States, however, was conducted at the aviation meeting at Nassau Boulevard, Long Island, N. Y., during the week of September 23 to 30, 1911.

"Earle L. Ovington with his 'Queen' monoplane, was duly appointed an air mail carrier and covered a set route between the temporary post office established at the flying field and the post office at Mineola, N. Y., dropping the pouches at the latter point for the postmaster to pick up. This service, performed without expense to the Department, was flown at regular intervals during the period, a total of 32,415 post cards, 3,993 letters and 1,062 circulars being carried. It was quite satisfactory on the whole, and very promising."

An entry on Wikipedia points out, "Ovington took off on September 23, 1911 with a load of 640 letters and 1,280 postcards in a mail bag tucked between his legs - the first airplane carry of United States mail authorized by postal authorities. Ovington flew to Mineola, about three miles away, where, as agreed, he dropped the bag in a prearranged spot to waiting postal officials. The drop landed on time and on target, but unfortunately the bag broke on impact with the ground, scattering the mail hither and yon. After a scramble, all the letters and cards were retrieved and sent on the way via regular postal channels, all of them bearing the cancellation 'Aeroplane Station No.1 - Garden City Estates, N.Y.' For this feat Ovington was awarded the title "Air Mail Pilot No.1."

Shown above, Pilot Earle Ovington receiving the first pouch of air mail letters ever flown in the US, September 23, 1911 from a Post Office official.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on the first to fly the mail, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM