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Air­mail turns 100: The first U.S. mail flight oc­curred on May 15, 1918.

Flying - - CONTENTS -

The first air­mail flight took place on May 15, 1918, along a route that linked Wash­ing­ton, Philadelphia and New York. The dis­tance of the route was 218 miles, and one round trip per day was made every day ex­cept Sun­day. Army Air Ser­vice pi­lots flew the route un­til August 10, 1918, when the Post Of­fice De­part­ment took over the op­er­a­tion with its own air­planes and pi­lots. Col. E.A. Deeds, head of the Avi­a­tion Sec­tion of the Sig­nal Corps, of­fered to op­er­ate the postal route with mil­i­tary planes and pi­lots be­cause of a re­quest from Europe in World War I that pi­lots gain more cross-coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore be­ing sent over­seas. Above is a mod­i­fied de Hav­il­land DH-4 that could carry 1,000 pounds of mail (twice as much as a reg­u­lar de Hav­il­land mail plane). Postal of­fi­cials nick­named it the “preg­nant cow.”

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