Notes from the Past

Early History of the American Air Mail Service - Part IV

The history of the inaugural flights of the American Air Mail Service has been discussed in previous Notes from the Past:  Early History of the American Air Mail Service - Part I, Part II,  and Part III.  Before we proceed, we should wrap up the history of the first day's flights.

As you may remember the first flight from Washington D.C. flown by Lt. George Boyle ended in a field after only a short flight.  The plane was damaged and the mail was trucked back to town.  This load of mail was flown to Philadelphia the next day, May 16, 1918, by Jim Edgerton who had flown the southbound Philadelphia to Washington leg on the first day.  On the same day a Jenny flown by Walter Miller developed engine trouble after takeoff from Bustleton -- the Philadelphia air terminal.  The mail was returned to Philadelphia and Edgerton volunteered to fly it on to Washington.  Thus, he became the first pilot to fly two legs of the airmail route in the same day.

George Boyle was haunted by bad luck (or poor piloting).  He made a second flight from Washington on May 17, 1918.  Unfortunately, he again ran into trouble and crash-landed near Philadelphia.  It was his last try as he was then moved to other duties.

To be Continued.

 Posted April 3, 2000

Editor's Note:  This series will draw on Donald B. Holmes' Air Mail -- an illustrated history 1793-1981 which is an exceptional piece of philatelic literature and The American Air Mail Catalogue Vol. 1 published by the American Air Mail Society.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

Note:  If the link isn't returned the first try, try again.

Comments? Send me an e-mail
Please include a reference to this item.