Flight Commemorates 100 Years Of Airmail
Pilots Addison Pemberton, Jeff Hamilton, and Ben Scott are marking the centennial anniversary of the U.S. airmail service by flying three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes along Contract Air Mail Route 8 from San Diego to Seattle. The airplanes, all of which were built in the early 1930s, are three of only seven Speedmails still flying. The group started out from Sand Diego’s Gillespie Field (SEE) on May 13 and is on schedule to arrive at Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, Washington, on May 18. Time in the air is expected to be around 12 hours and they’re keeping a record of the commemorative journey with live flight tracking and photos.
The U.S. airmail service was officially established on May 15, 1918. The first routes linked New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. They were flown by U.S. Army pilots in Curtiss JN-4H Jennys carrying a little over 100 pounds of mail each. The airmail service was operated by the Post Office Department until 1927, after which it was turned over to private contractors. The U.S. Postal Service is also dedicating two United States Air Mail Forever stamps to commemorate the beginning of the service.