Die eerste transkontinentale vlug ooswaarts het vertrek vanaf ...?

Die eerste transkontinentale vlug ooswaarts het vertrek vanaf ...?



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Op 8 Februarie 1912 beland die eerste transkontinentale vlug in die ooste in Jacksonville, FL. Na verskeie Google -soektogte, kan ek niks vind wat sê waar die vlug vandaan gegaan het nie. So waar het dit vandaan gekom?


Die rede waarom u bron nie die beginpunt (Los Angeles) gee nie, is omdat dit hom maande geneem het weens weer en ander vertragings, sodat die aankomsboodskap net die laaste bene ingesluit het:

Die Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac, 1912

Robert G. Fowler (Wright Model B), het vanaf San Francisco na New York begin op 11 September 1911 en bereik Colfax, Cal. 'N Tweede begin is vanaf Los Angeles op 18 Oktober, en op 7 Desember 1911 het Orange, Texas, 'n afstand van 1,679 myl, gemeet in reguit lyne tussen dorpe, 51 dae lank bereik.

Aeronautics Tydskrif
Februarie 1912

FOWLER voltooi TRANS-CONTINENTAL FLlGHT

Robert G. Fowler, die tweede transkontinentale toeris in die lug, het uiteindelik op 17 Februarie by die Atlantiese Oseaan, by San Pablo -strand, Florida, aangekom, nadat hy 122 dae onderweg was. 'N Groot deel van hierdie tyd is opgebruik as gevolg van slegte weer. Die koers wat gevolg is, was suidwaarts, naby die Golf van Mexiko deur die uiterste suidelike state tot by die kus.

Tot 11 Januarie, in Biloxi, Miss, was sy kilometers 2 081, in reguit lyne tussen dorpe. Rodgers se vlug was 3,391 myl. Van toe tot 17 Februarie vlieg hy 436 myl in elf fases. Sy reisplan volg:

16 Januarie, Immergroen, Ala., 84; 17 Januarie, Georgiana, 17; Andalusië, 25; 20 Januarie, Brantley, 22; 25 Januarie, Troy, 23; 6 Februarie, Bainbrldge, Ga., 106; 7 Februarie, Thomasville, 38; 7 Februarie, Qultman, 27; 8 Februarie, Jacksonville, Fla., 82; op 17 Februarie vlieg hy na Pablo Beach, 15 myl.

Fowler is langs die Seaboard Airline Railroad gestuur, dieselfde as 'n passasierstrein; en sy bestuurder Charles L. Young is elke paar oomblikke op hierdie manier geplaas. Sodra aangekondig is dat Fowler binne 27 kilometer van die stad Jacksonville is, lyk dit asof almal hul gedagtes oor sake verloor, en hy het die paar oomblikke gewag dat hy 'n verskyning maak. Toe hy om 4.30 uiteindelik sien, lyk dit asof die skare op die Moncrief -renbaan wild geword het, en Aviator Max Lillie in sy Wright -tweedekker, jaag in sy masjien en vlieg soos 'n gek hom tegemoet. Hy word onmiddellik gevolg deur Harold Kantner in sy Moisant eenvliegtuig. Die twee vlieëniers vlieg na Fowler om hom so goed as moontlik in die lug te groet. omring toe Fowler en begelei hom na die veld. Lillie beland eerste om vir Fowler die pad te wys. Fowler draai toe die veld 3 keer en gee verskeie duike en spiraalduike wat die skare laat opstaan ​​en met alle mag skree. Hy land toe en word gevolg deur Kantner. Fowler was 90 minute lank in die lug, maar dit was 'n baie koue dag en hy was amper bevrore. Nadat hy die regte koninklike ontvangs ontvang het, is hy na 'n motor begelei en na die Seminole -hotel gehaas waar hy as eregas aangewys is. Die aand is deurgebring om Fowler tuis te laat voel, en hy het die sleutel van die stad gekry en gesê hy moet so ver gaan as wat hy wil.


Alexander Pearson, Jr., is gebore op 12 November 1895 in Sterling, Kansas. Aan die begin van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog studeer hy aan die Universiteit van Oregon. Gedurende sy senior jaar het hy by die Amerikaanse weermag aangesluit en 'n opleidingskamp by die Presidio, San Francisco, bygewoon. Hy is op 13 Mei 1917 aangestel as infanterie -offisier in die Reserwe -korps. Hy wou na die Lugvaartafdeling van die Seinkorps oorgaan, maar is geweier, en daarom het Pearson sy kommissie bedank en ingeskryf vir grondskoolwerk in die Seinkorps op Junie. 27, 1917.

Hy is op 23 November 1917 weer by die lugdiens in Seattle ingeskryf vir vliegskool. Pearson was 'n kadet aan die Universiteit van Kalifornië in Berkeley, Camp Dick, Dallas en Rockwell Field, San Diego. Hy word op 29 Julie 1918 in diens geneem en as 'n 2de luitenant op Rockwell Field aktief aangestel. Hy is op 9 Augustus 1918 by die US Air Service Armorer School in Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, beveel en het tot 10 September skoolgegaan. , 1918.

Tydens en na die Eerste Wêreldoorlog was hy 'n vlieginstrukteur op verskillende gebiede: Payne Field, West Point, Mississippi Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, Florida Scott Field, Belleville, Illinois. Vir sy laaste opdrag was hy in New York gestasioneer om oorsee te gaan, maar die oorlog het geëindig voordat hy ontplooi kon word.

Aan die einde van die oorlog in 1918 keer hy terug na die Universiteit van Oregon om sy graad te voltooi. Hy het later 'n Bachelor of Science -graad behaal.

Lt. Alexander Pearson het hierdie DH-4 Liberty-vliegtuig tydens sy transkontinentale wedloop in 1919 gevlieg.

4 Oktober 1958

4 Oktober 1958: Die eerste gereelde transatlantiese passasiersdiens met vliegtuie wat met vliegtuig aangedryf word, het begin toe twee British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) de Havilland DH.106 Komeet 4 vliegtuie, burgerlike registrasies G-APDB en G-APDC, byna gelyktydig van London Heathrow vertrek het Lughawe (LHR) na die Idlewild -lughawe (IDL), New York, en van New York na Londen.

Die vlug van wes na oos, (G-APDB) onder bevel van kaptein Thomas Butler (Tom) Stoney, DFC, vertrek om 07:01, plaaslike tyd, uit New York, met Basil Smallpiece en Aubrey Burke, besturende direkteure van BOAC en de Havilland, onderskeidelik, aan boord. Die vlug ooswaarts, wat voordeel trek uit gunstiger winde, duur slegs 6 uur, 12 minute, gemiddeld 905 kilometer per uur.

Passasiers klim op BOAC ’s DH.106 Comet 4, G-APDC, op die London Heathrow-lughawe, 4 Oktober 1958. (Telegraph.co.uk)

Die oos-na-wes vliegtuig, G-APDC, het om 08:45, Londen tyd, uit Heathrow vertrek, onder bevel van kaptein R.E. Millichap, met Sir Gerard d ’Erlanger, voorsitter van BOAC, en 31 passasiers aan boord. Die vlug in die westelike rigting het 10 uur, 20 minute geneem, insluitend 'n brandstofstop van 1 uur en 10 minute op die Gander -lughawe (YQX), Newfoundland.

Hierdie twee vliegtuie is op 30 September 1958 by BOAC afgelewer. Hulle is albei opgestel om 48 passasiers te vervoer.

Die eerste twee de Havilland DH.106 Comet 4 vliegtuie word afgelewer by BOAC te Heathrow, 30 September 1958. (Daily Mail Online)

Die DH.106 Comet 4 is bestuur deur 'n vliegpersoneel van vier: vlieënier, medevlieënier, vlugingenieur en navigator/radiooperateur. Dit kan tot 81 passasiers vervoer. Die vliegtuig was 33,985 meter lank, met 'n vlerkspan van 35,052 meter en 8,992 meter bo -op die vertikale vin. Maksimum opstyggewig van 157 000 pond (70,760 kilogram).

Krag is verskaf deur vier Rolls-Royce Avon 524 (RA.29) turbojet-enjins, elk met 'n dryfkrag van 10 500 pond (46,71 kilonewtons) teen 8 000 rpm, elk. Die RA.29 was Rolls-Royce se eerste kommersiële turbojet-enjin. Dit was 'n enkelspoel, aksiale vloei-enjin met 'n 16-traps kompressor en 3-traps turbine. Die Mk.524 -variant was 10 voet, 3.170 meter lank, 3 voet, 1.054 meter in deursnee, en weeg 3,226 pond (1,463 kilogram).

Die komeet 4 het 'n maksimum spoed van 837 kilometer per uur, 'n reikafstand van 5 190 kilometer en 'n plafon van 13 716 meter.

De Havilland DH-106 Comet 4 G-APDB (“Delta Bravo ”) het op 12 Februarie 1974 die laaste vlug gehaal, met 36 269 uur, met 15 733 landings. Dit is deel van die Duxford Aviation Society ’s British Air Liner Collection by RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Engeland.

G-APDC het nie so goed gevaar nie. Dit is in April 1975 geskrap.

De Havilland DH.106 Komeet 4 G-APDC, Christchurch-lughawe, Nieu-Seeland. (V.C. Brown via AussieAirliners) Kapt. T.B. Stoney


3 gedagtes oor & ldquo 25 Januarie 1959 & rdquo

Hallo
Ek is 'n bietjie verward. Van watter aspek van die straaltydperk praat ons hier?
Daar moet meer akkuraat gesê word dat die ouderdom van 8216 in die lugredery in 1952 begin het met die eerste geskeduleerde diens deur die Britse komeet. Aeroflot het in 1956 begin met die TU-104. Selfs gereelde transatlantiese vliegtuigdienste het in 1958 deur BOAC en PanAm begin.
Hou aan met die werk, ek geniet die artikels.

Dit is nie die eerste keer dat hierdie onderwerp ter sprake kom nie. Die term “Jet Age ” verwys na 'n tydperk van sosiale transformasie en word nie gedefinieer deur spesifieke tegnologiese gebeure nie. (Frank Wittle se WU-turbojet-enjin was die eerste in 1937, terwyl die eerste vliegtuig met turbojet die Heinkel He 178 was, wat in 1939 gevlieg het.)

Volgens die Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum het die "Jet Age" in 1958 begin toe Pan Am die Boeing 707 bekendgestel het. . Verskeie katastrofale mislukkings het sy reputasie ernstig benadeel en die hele komeet 1 -vloot was permanent gegrond en sy tipesertifikaat is in 1954 ingetrek, net twee jaar nadat dit in diens geneem is. Bestellings vir die Comet 2 is gekanselleer. Daar was twee Komeet 3's, wat nooit in lugdiens was nie. Die Komeet 4 het tot 4 Oktober 1958 nie in diens getree nie, en slegs 18 is gebou.

In die dekade na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog reis die oorgrote meerderheid mense wat die Atlantiese Oseaan oorsteek aan boord van seevaartuie. Eers toe die Boeing 707 in diens gekom het, het vliegtuie wat oor die Atlantiese Oseaan vlieg, meer passasiers vervoer as die passasierskepe.

Die Boeing 707 het vir ewig die manier waarop die meeste mense lang afstande afgelê het, verander. Die Komeet het nie.


17 September 1911: Eerste transkontinentale vlug neem weke

Om hierdie artikel weer te gee, besoek My profiel en bekyk dan gestoorde verhale.

Om hierdie artikel weer te gee, besoek My profiel en bekyk dan gestoorde verhale.

1911: Pilot Cal Rodgers vertrek uit New York en begin met die eerste transkontinentale vlug oor die Verenigde State. Hy hoop om 'n prys van $ 50 000 te wen deur die reis binne 30 dae te voltooi, maar die onervare vlieënier het min idee wat so 'n reis eintlik sal behels.

Vliegtuie wat aangedryf is, vlieg slegs agt kort jare toe Cal Rodgers om 16:30, 17 September 1911, van 'n veld in Sheepsheadbaai, Brooklyn, vertrek het. Die jong vlieënier het slegs 60 uur vliegervaring in sy logboek gehad. Sy Wright Flyer Model EX was so dun soos 'n vlieër en kon slegs 50 tot 60 km / u met sy 35-pk-enjin bestuur.

Die ergste van alles was dat daar nie 'n enkele lughawe of navigasiebaken voor hom was vir sy vlug van ongeveer 4 000 myl nie (rekeninge wissel oor die presiese roete en afstand). Maar wat Rodgers aan ervaring en toerusting ontbreek, het hy met klassieke waaghalsige bravade vergoed.

Uitgewersmagnaat William Randolph Hearst het 'n prys van $ 50,000 opgestel vir die eerste persoon wat in minder as 30 dae in 'n vliegtuig kus tot kus kon vlieg. Die prys (meer as $ 1,1 miljoen in vandag se geld) lok Rodgers, en om die reis te maak, het hy die eerste privaat burger geword wat 'n Wright -vliegtuig gekoop het.

Die motorfiets- en motorfietsryer het 'n paar maande tevore eers leer vlieg. Na slegs 90 minute se onderrig van Orville Wright self, vlieg Rodgers in Junie 1911 vir die eerste keer solo. Daarna wen hy 'n prys van $ 11 000 vir uithouvermoë tydens 'n lugbyeenkoms in Chicago in Augustus.

Die vliegtuig, 'n gewysigde Wright Flyer B genaamd die Model EX, was destyds top-of-the-line, maar redelik primitief volgens die standaarde wat slegs 'n dekade later beskikbaar was. Die tweedekker het nie eens gehad wat ons vandag 'n kajuit sou noem nie. Daar was 'n eenvoudige sitplek op die onderste vleuel saam met die basiese vlugkontroles.

Daar was geen instrumente en geen meters nie, maar Rodgers was blykbaar 'n realis, en hy het 'n paar krukke aan die vliegtuig vasgemaak. Hulle sal meer as een keer tydens die reis handig wees.

Soos avonturiers van vandag, het Rodgers geweet dat hy nie die reis self kon finansier nie, en daarom het hy borge gaan soek. Die reis benodig baie onderdele, insluitend vlerke en groot rompafdelings, asook 'n bemanning van werktuigkundiges en ondersteuningspersoneel wat uiteindelik 'n trein met drie motors gevul het.

Rodgers het 'n borg in J. Ogden Armor gevind. Die vleismaker -magnaat wou 'n nuwe druiwesoda -drankie bevorder, en met die borgskap is die eerste advertensiebord vir die lug gebore.

Die Vin Fiz, vernoem na die druiwedrank, vertrek uit New York en ry weswaarts na paaie en spoorlyne op 'n reis wat volgens baie mense by die Hudsonrivier sou eindig, net 'n paar kilometer verder. Maar op sy eerste been het Rodgers daarin geslaag om meer as 100 myl te haal en in 'n veld in Middletown, New York, beland.

Die volgende oggend, in wat die eerste van vele ongelukke onderweg sou word, die Vin Fiz het 'n boom by die opstyg gegryp, en beide vlieënier en vliegtuig het skade opgedoen. Na 'n paar dae se herstelwerk aan die vleuel, die romp en Rodgers ' kop, die Vin Fiz het voortgegaan en uiteindelik drie weke later na Chicago gekom.

Met die sperdatum van 30 dae, was dit duidelik dat daar geen prys sou wees nie. Maar Rodgers wou die reis voltooi en het voortgegaan met sy gevolg van werktuigkundiges en ondersteuners.

Die vliegtuig sou uiteindelik meer as 70 haltes maak voordat dit op 5 November by die aangewese doel in Pasadena, Kalifornië, beland het. Rodgers het die spertyd met 19 dae misgeloop (en jy dink jou vlugvertraging was iets).


Transkontinentale lugpos

VS #C1 - Die derde en laaste lugpos wat in 1918 uitgereik is en wat tydens die vlug gebruik sou word. Klik op die prentjie om te bestel.

Op 22 Februarie 1921 begin transkontinentale lugposdiens in die VSA met vlugte tussen San Francisco en New York.

Toe die Amerikaanse lugposdiens in 1918 die eerste keer begin, was dit 'n sukses en verdien meer geld as wat dit spandeer het. In die daaropvolgende jare het dit egter geld verloor as gevolg van verhoogde koste as gevolg van 'n groter aantal roetes, groter afstande en meer pos wat die vliegtuie belemmer het.

Die poskantoor wou nie meer vir lugpos vra nie en het gehoop dat die regering belastinggeld sou gebruik om die lugposstelsel te ondersteun. President Warren G. Harding het egter nie geglo dat dit die moeite werd is nie. Destyds is transkontinentale lugpos, 'n diens wat in 1920 begin het, slegs gedurende die dag gevlieg. Dit is snags na spoorwaens vervoer, wat dit na 'n vliegtuig vervoer het wat teen dagbreek gereed was om op te styg. Op sy eie kon 'n trein die land binne 108 uur oorsteek, terwyl hierdie mengsel van lug en spoor 78 uur duur. Maar Harding het nie geglo dat die verminderde tyd goed genoeg was nie en het aangevoer dat pospos goedkoper is. Hy het verklaar dat hy enige voorstelle van die kongres om geld aan lugpos te gee veto.

VS #5281-82 is in 2018 uitgereik vir die 100ste herdenking van lugposdiens. Klik op die prentjie om te bestel.

Gevolglik het die posmeester -generaal en sy assistent 'n plan beraam om aan te toon hoe effektief lugpos kan wees. Hulle sou 'n lugposvlug regoor die land uitvoer sonder om die spoorweg te gebruik. Die reis sou baie vinniger wees as die huidige 78 uur, en dit kan die doeltreffendheid van lugpos aan die publiek en die president bewys. Hulle kies 22 Februarie 1921, George Washington se verjaardag, as die dag om die vlug te begin, om wydverspreide aandag te trek.

VS #C1-150 - Kry elke Amerikaanse posposstempel met 'n maklike bestelling.

Destyds was alleen lugposvlugte alleen nie 'n maklike taak nie. Vlieëniers vlieg met die Havilland DH-4-tweedekker wat oorgebly het uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Hulle was nie geskik vir langafstandvlugte nie en was baie ongemaklik. Hulle was nie heeltemal toegemaak nie, so vlieëniers was blootgestel aan koue en reën, en moes gereeld warm olie uit die enjin van hul bril afvee.

Item #M12186 - Kry 100 verskillende lugpos -eertydse deksels.

Boonop sou daar die ekstra uitdaging wees om snags te vlieg. Bedags het vlieëniers landmerke soos spoorwegstasies of polovelde gebruik om op koers te bly. Staatswegkaarte het slegs dorpe getoon wat groot genoeg is om 'n poskantoor te huisves, en daar word nie berge genoem nie. Boonop moes die vlieëniers laag vlieg, soms net 50 meter van die grond af, sodat hulle hierdie bakens kon sien. Die assistent -posmeester -generaal stel voor dat poswerkers strategiese vreugdevure langs die roete kan aansteek om die vlieëniers te help om hul weg te vind.

VS #C4 is uitgereik vir die nuwe koers van 8 ¢ per ons. Klik op die prentjie om te bestel.

Die assistent -posmeester -generaal versamel ook die aantekeninge wat vlieëniers van hul reise gemaak het en kombineer dit met inligting van die plaaslike poskantore om die logboek van die lugpos van die transkontinentale lugpos te skep. Hierdie log was die voorloper van die moderne gedrukte navigasiehulpmiddels.

Na uitgebreide beplanning het die vlugte weswaarts op 22 Februarie om 06:00 begin. Twee vliegtuie het Hazlehurst Field, Long Island, New York, verlaat. Om 04:00 Stille tyd het twee vliegtuie van Marina Field, San Francisco, Kalifornië, vertrek. Langs albei roetes sou aflosvliegtuie op voorafbepaalde plekke wag. Die vlugte sal egter teister wees met probleme. Een vlieënier sou sy lewe verloor en verskeie van die vlugte is vertraag of gekanselleer weens 'n massiewe sneeustorm. Teen 22:44 was James "Jack" Knight die enigste vlieënier wat nog op koers was.

VS #C5 is uitgereik vir pos wat deur twee sones reis. Klik op die prentjie om te bestel.

Knight kon vreugdevure langs sy roete volg, en bereik Omaha, Nebraska om 01:10. Dus drink hy 'n koppie koffie en druk koerantpapier in sy baadjie vir warmte, en vertrek om 02:00 ten spyte van die geweldige koue en 'n byna ongeluk, gaan hy verder na Chicago, waar 'n ander vlieënier oorneem, die rit voltooi en aankom New York om 16:50 uur

VS #C6 foto's van 'n DeHavilland -tweedekker en dek die tarief van New York na San Francisco. Klik op die prentjie om te bestel.

Altesaam sewe vlieëniers het aan die vlug deelgeneem. Die hele reis van 2629 myl het 33 uur, 20 minute geneem, hoewel 26 uur daarvan in die lug deurgebring is. Ondanks die terugslae wat die weer veroorsaak het, was die publiek en die president beïndruk deur die suksesvolle vlug en president Harding het ingestem om 'n rekening te ondersteun om die lugposdiens te finansier. Die geld sal help om lugposroetes aan te steek, navigasiehulpmiddels te skep, vlieëniers te huur en nuwe vliegtuie te koop. Die lugposdiens het amptelik op 1 Julie 1924 gereeld begin met 24-uur-operasies. Met hierdie veranderinge het drie sones ontstaan ​​om roetes en pryspos te bestuur. Die gebiede was New York na Chicago, Chicago na Rock Springs en Rock Springs na San Francisco. En die lugpos was 8 ¢ per ons, per sone.


Die eerste vlug (insluitend sweef) deur 'n persoon is onbekend. Verskeie is voorgestel.

  • In 559 nC, word gesê dat verskeie gevangenes van keiser Wenxuan van Noord -Qi, waaronder Yuan Huangtou van Ye, gedwing is om hulself met 'n vlieër uit 'n toring te begin as 'n eksperiment. Slegs Yuan Huangtou het oorleef, maar later tereggestel. [aanhaling nodig]
  • In die 9de eeu, het die Andulasies-Arabiese Abbas ibn Firnas 'n kort sweefvlug met vlerke bedek met vlerke van die toring van Cordoba probeer, maar is beseer tydens die landing. [1]
  • In die vroeë 11de eeu, Eilmer van Malmesbury, 'n Engelse Benediktynse monnik, het met vlerkies probeer vlieg. Hy word aangeteken dat hy 'n beskeie afstand afgelê het voordat hy sy bene by die landing gebreek het. [2]
  • tussen 1630 en 1632, Word gesê dat Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi oor die Bosporus -seestraat van die Galata -toring na die Uskudar -distrik in Istanbul gly. [3] [4]
  • In 1633 sy broer Lagari Hasan Çelebi het moontlik 'n vlug oorleef op 'n 7-gevleuelde vuurpyl aangedryf deur buskruit van Sarayburnu, die punt onder die Topkapı-paleis in Istanbul. [5] [6]

Nie een van hierdie historiese verslae word voldoende ondersteun deur stawende bewyse nie, en is ook nie algemeen aanvaar nie. Die eerste bevestigde menslike vlug is in 1783 deur Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier in 'n vasgemaakte Montgolfier-ballon uitgevoer.


1980's

3 Desember 1982
TWA bedryf sy eerste Boeing 767 -vlug, van Los Angeles na die Washington ’s Dulles -lughawe.

November 1983
TWA word van Trans World Corporation afgemaak as 'n nuwe openbare maatskappy.

1985
TWA loods sy eerste transatlantiese diens met die Boeing 767 wye liggaam, die bedryf se eerste ETOPS-diens (uitgebreide reeks tweemotorige bedrywighede).

14 Junie 1985
Sjiïtiese gewapende mans neem 'n TWA -vliegtuig vas en dwing dit na Beiroet, Libanon. 'N Duiker van die Amerikaanse vloot is dood en 39 Amerikaners was 17 dae lank gyselaar.

26 September 1985
Carl Icahn verkry beheer oor TWA.

26 Oktober 1986
TWA verkry Ozark Airlines en verenig Ozark in TWA ’'s.

10-21 September 1987
Pous Johannes Paulus II reis op 'n spesiaal gekonfigureerde TWA 727 en 747, vergesel van twee geoktrooieerde L-1011 ’'s.

7 September 1988
Op 'n spesiale vergadering keur TWA -aandeelhouers die voorstel van Carl Icahn goed om die onderneming privaat te neem. Die privatisering neem $ 610,3 miljoen uit TWA, waarvan $ 469 miljoen na Icahn gaan en voeg $ 539,7 miljoen by TWA se skuld.

1989
Carl Icahn verhuis TWA se hoofkwartier van Third Avenue 605 na sy eie gebou in die berg Kisco, New York.


Die eerste oostelike transkontinentale vlug het vertrek vanaf ...? - Geskiedenis

Die rekordposreis tussen Chicago en New York is op 16 Desember 1926 gedoen teen 'n snelheid van 167,5 myl per uur. Die vinnigste posreis op rekord is op 30 Januarie 1927 tussen Chicago en Cleveland onderneem teen 'n snelheid van 175,1 myl per uur. Die groter kruisradius en spoed van die Douglas -vliegtuie het die stop van stop in beide rigtings by Bellefonte, Bryan en Rawlins en op oostelike reise in Iowa City, North Platte en Rock Springs, behalwe moontlik in ongunstige weersomstandighede, moontlik gemaak. 'N Belangrike verandering in die ooswaartse transkontinentale skedule is ook moontlik gemaak, wat 1 uur en 15 minute later van die New York -terminale af vertrek het. Die nuwe vliegtuie is in gebruik geneem tussen Salt Lake City en New York, waar die posvrag die swaarste was, en die DeHavilands word van Salt Lake City af wes gebruik. Die bou van DeHaviland -vliegtuie by die Repair Depot is op 1 Julie 1926 gestaak, en sodanige werk is beperk tot die herstel van ou DeHavilands en beskadigde Douglas -vliegtuie. Die oortollige DH -vliegtuie wat vrygestel is, is geadverteer en verkoop.

'N Belangrike stap wat die ontwikkeling van lugposverkeer betref, is op 1 Februarie 1927 deur die Departement geneem toe 'n nuwe posgeld van 10 sent per half ons in werking gestel is, waardeur die ingewikkelde soneringstelsel wat voorheen in gebruik was, heeltemal afgeskaf is. op die transkontinentale en kontrakroetes. Die nuwe vaste tarief het vervoer tussen enige punte in die land, sonder afstand, en was 'n waardevolle manier om beskerming te verhoog.

Die Air Mail -diens is bekroon met die Collier -trofee vir die belangrikste bydraes tot die ontwikkeling van lugvaart in 1922, en oor sy uitstekende veiligheidsrekord, en weer in 1923 vir die bewys van die uitvoerbaarheid van nagvlieg. Die Harmon -trofee van die Verenigde State, wat vir die eerste keer in 1926 aangebied is, is deur die International League of Aviators aan 'n lugposvlieënier toegeken vanweë sy merkwaardige rekord dat hy gedurende die jaar meer as 718 uur sonder ongeluk gevlieg het allerhande weersomstandighede, beide winter en somer, op gereelde toere, 47 % van die tyd word snags gevlieg. Daar kan gesê word dat tydens die toekenning van die Harmon -trofee die wonderlike dag in en dag uit vliegrekord van die lugposvlieënier meer verdienstelik was as gevolg van die vordering van lugvaart as die vlug oor die Noordpool deur kommandant Byrd gedurende daardie jaar.


PITCAIRN POST, NEW YORK TO ATLANTA, 1929. Operateur, Pitcairn Aviation poslading, 635 pond span, 33 voet lengte, 23 voet, 10 duim hoogte, 9 voet, 6 duim spoed, 135 m.p.h. geskatte omvang, 500 myl motor, Wright Whirlwind, 9 silinder, 240 pk.

Dit was egter nog nooit die bedoeling van die poskantoor om die lugposdiens langer te bedryf as wat nodig was om die uitvoerbaarheid van kommersiële lugvaart duidelik aan die algemene publiek te demonstreer nie, en sodoende private ondernemings te lok om die veld te betree en uiteindelik oor te neem die werking en ontwikkeling van die transkontinentale roete, het die verlangde belangstelling vinnig toegeneem en in 1926 is verskeie lugposroetes vir kontrakte in werking gestel en kontrakte op nog verskeie roetes toegeken.

Die belangstelling in kommersiële lugvaart en veral lugposdiens is veral opgewek toe die Kongres in die lente van 1926 'n wetsontwerp, bekend as die & quotAir Commerce Act of 1926, goedgekeur het, wat die sekretaris van handel die plig opgelê het bevordering van die ontwikkeling van kommersiële lugvaart in die Verenigde State. Dit het die sekretaris van handel onder meer gemagtig om lugweë aan te wys en daar te stel, vir sover fondse van jaar tot jaar deur die kongres beskikbaar gestel is, en om al die nodige ligte en noodlandingsvelde langs sulke lugweë te vestig, te bedryf en in stand te hou.

Dit het ook bepaal dat die lugweg onder die jurisdiksie en beheer van die posmeester, tesame met alle noodlandingsvelde en ander luggeriewe (behalwe lughawens of terminale landingsvelde), op dieselfde tydstip as wat die posmeester -generaal en die sekretaris van handel in opdrag was ) wat in verband daarmee gebruik word, sou oorgedra word na die jurisdiksie en beheer van die sekretaris van handel, die gevestigde lughawens of terminale landingsvelde wat na die jurisdiksie en beheer van die betrokke munisipaliteite oorgedra sou word onder reëlings onderhewig aan goedkeuring deur die president.


BOEING MONOMAIL, CHICAGO TOT SAN FRANCISCO, 1931. Operateur, United Air Lines se poslading, ongeveer 2,300 pond span, 59 voet, 1 duim lengte, 41 voet, 2 duim hoogte, 9 voet, 4 duim spoed 158 m.p.h. geskatte omvang, 500 myl motor, Pratt & Whitney Hornet, 9 silinder, 575 pk.

Met inagneming van al hierdie gebeurtenisse, het die posmeester -generaal tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die tyd vinnig nader kom, of eintlik naby was, wanneer die transkontinentale lugposroete moontlik aan private kontrakteurs oorgedra kan word en dat die onderneming suksesvol en winsgewend kan voortgaan.

Om vas te stel wat die reaksie sou wees, is op 15 November 1927 advertensies gepubliseer vir voorstelle vir diens op die transkontinentale roete volgens afdelings: (1) New York na Chicago en (2) Chicago na San Francisco. 'N Voorstel teen 'n bevredigende koers is op die Chicago na San Francisco -afdeling van die Boeing Airplane Company en Edward Hubbard, van Seattle, Washington, ontvang (later opgeneem as die Boeing Air Transport, Salt Lake City, Utah), is aanvaar.

Diens begin op grond van hul kontrak op 1 Julie 1927, en die poskantoor het om middernag 30 Junie bedank. Omdat daar geen bevredigende bod op die diens tussen New York en Chicago ontvang is nie, is die gedeelte van die roete op 8 Maart weer geadverteer. en die bod van die National Air Transport, Inc., Chicago, Ill., Daarvolgens aanvaar.

Hierdie onderneming het op 1 September diens ingevolge hul kontrak begin, en die poskantoor het tot op daardie tydstip voortgegaan.

Benewens die oorgang na die kontrakteur van diens tussen Chicago en San Francisco op 1 Julie 1927, het 'n ander belangrike gebeurtenis in die geskiedenis van die lugposdiens deur die regering plaasgevind op daardie datum toe, volgens wetgewing vervat in die Air Commerce Wet hierbo genoem, die verligte lugweg en die radiodiens is oorgeplaas na die jurisdiksie en beheer van die Departement van Handel. Die oordrag van die radiodiens het sewentien volledig toegeruste stasies met 'n bedieningspersoneel van 44 ingesluit, die oordrag van die verligte lugweg bevat ongeveer 102 personeellede en die volgende velde en ligte:

Noodlandingsvelde met opsigters in beheer ------------------------------- 68
Noodlandingsvelde word outomaties bedryf (geen versorgers nie) ----------------- 21
Elektriese bakligte tussen noodvelde met opsigters in beheer ----- 21
Elektriese bakligte tussen noodvelde werk outomaties ------- 79
A.G.A. gasdraaiende bakens (outomaties) ---------------------------------------- 405

Reëlings is getref vir die oordrag van terminale lughawens na die munisipaliteite waar hulle geleë was, baie kort na die aflegging van diens aan die westelike deel van die roete, en dieselfde prosedure is gevolg na die afstaan ​​van diens aan die oostelike deel. Die geboue in Chicago was geleë op eiendom wat die u. S. Veterans Bureau, en in Omaha en San Francisco op eiendom wat deur die Oorlogsdepartement besit word, het die eienaarskap van hierdie geboue dus teruggekeer na die genoemde regeringsdepartemente.

'N Aantal van die nuwe Douglas -vliegtuie is aan lugposkontrakteurs verkoop, en die saldo, saam met die paar oorblywende diensbare DeHavilands, is oorgeplaas na ander staatsdepartemente wat sulke toerusting benodig. 'N Aansienlike hoeveelheid materiaal en toerusting in die winkel kan met voordeel in die groot poskantoor se motorhuise gebruik word, en die oordrag is gevolglik gedoen. Die oorblywende bruikbare materiaal, toerusting, ens. Is vir goedkeuring by die hoofkoördineerder gelys en die ander staatsdepartemente verlang daarna.

Die materiaal en toerusting wat nie deur ander takke van die regering geneem is nie, is te koop aangebied en op die gewone manier aan die hoogste bieër verkoop. Teen 31 Desember 1927 is die departement se belange op alle terreine behalwe Chicago heeltemal uitgesluit, waar slegs 'n klein hoeveelheid materiaal en toerusting in die hersteldepot en pakhuis weggegooi moes word.

Die poskantoor het rede om trots te wees op die ontwikkeling van sy onderneming, en die volgende tabelle sal 'n paar van die werk wat van die begin van die diens tot die volledige aflegging van 31 Augustus 1927 gedoen is, duidelik illustreer.

Uit die prestasieverklaring sal opgemerk word die merkwaardige persentasie van die geskeduleerde myl wat gevlieg word, en in hierdie verband kan gesê word dat as dit nie was vir erge weerstoestande nie, veral gedurende die wintermaande van die jaar, soos mis, reën en sneeustorme, kan 'n byna perfekte skedule te alle tye gehandhaaf word.

Natuurlik is weer wat in die vroeë stadiums onmoontlik was om deur te vlieg, maklik deur die afgelope paar jaar gevlieg, maar mis is steeds die grootste vyand van die vlieënier en die oorsaak van feitlik alle ernstige vertragings en onvoltooide reise. Kort misstreke word deur of oor gevlieg, maar dit is nie prakties om deur of oor groot digte mis te vlieg nie, wat vereis dat aangewese landings daarin gemaak word met ons huidige toerusting en instrumente.

Daar word egter voortdurend eksperimente uitgevoer om effektiewe maniere te vind om hierdie gevaar te oorkom, en daar word gehoop dat sulke middele binne die verre toekoms nie gevind sal word nie.

Daar word ook aandag geskenk aan die wonderlike rekord van veiligheid wat tydens die latere jare van die operasie vasgestel is, soos getoon in die verklaring van sterftes, ens. 'N Totaal van 3,108,720 myl is gevlieg voordat die laaste sterfgeval plaasgevind het.


Wie het werklik die eerste lugpos na Sept-Îles, Québec, in 1927 gevlieg?

If you search the internet or published books on Canadian aviation history, most sources tell you that it was Roméo Vachon. They say the well-known French-Canadian aviator was the pilot who arrived in Sept-Îles, on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River, on 25 December 1927, with the first load of mail ever delivered by air to this remote community.

But it’s not true. Even normally reliable sources can be wrong! In actual fact, the pilot was an Englishman, Charles Sutton.

Research within the stamp collecting community published more than 20 years ago in the Canadian Aerophilatelist clearly established Sutton’s role. Unfortunately, the findings of Derek Rance en die laat Pierre Vachon, Roméo’s son, are not widely known.

Concrete proof of Sutton’s role is contained in records from the Québec-based company that had the North Shore air mail contract for 1927-1928, published here for the first time. These two pages list all the flights made by Canadian Transcontinental Airways Ltd. (CTAL) on the North Shore air mail run during the first winter of air mail service. Line 1 clearly names Sutton as pilot on that first flight.

First Air Mail Contracts in Canada

In 1927, the Canadian Government decided to expedite mail delivery to isolated locations by using commercial air transportation. The Post Office Department lost no time awarding contracts. Among the first areas to benefit were the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, Pelee Island on Lake Erie, and the Magdalen Islands (les Îles-de-la-Madeleine) in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

On the North Shore, there was a crying need for the new air mail service.

During the open-water season, coastal steamers called regularly at the tiny villages, bringing mail and provisions. But when winter descended, ice on the river shut down navigation and isolated the North Shore from the outside world. Then the only way of getting mail in or out over the rugged and mountainous terrain was by dog sled. Even with the new air service, outgoing mail still had to be transported this way from the string of villages along the North Shore to Sept-Îles, the eastern terminus of the air route.

The North Shore contract was awarded to CTAL in November 1927. The company was required to provide once-a-week air service as far as Sept-Îles (often called Seven Islands in those days). Four times during the winter, the company’s aircraft would fly an additional leg of about 100 miles from Sept-Îles across the Gulf of the St. Lawrence to Port Menier on Anticosti Island, providing that community with its first-ever winter mail service.

The six-month contract had a total value of $32,000 and also covered weekly service from Moncton to the Magdalen Islands.

G-CAIP (FC-2W) at Canadian Transcontinental’s base at Lac Sainte-Agnès. The Fairchild photo shows mail hauled to the aircraft by horse, while on the right a dog sled is posed as if to start on a delivery run. Photo: Ingenium Canada, Ken Molson Collection, KM-07008-S_1791.

From Fact to Fable

How did the wrong version of the story gain such currency? A couple of innocent errors seem to be to blame.

Eerstens, Frank Ellis, historian of Canada’s early aviation heritage, credits Vachon as the pilot in his reference to this event. Ellis’ book, Canada’s Flying Heritage, was published in 1954, the year Vachon died. One could assume that Ellis never had a chance to discuss the 1927 flight with Vachon in person, and that he simply did not know about Sutton’s role. Sutton had died many years earlier in a crash during a 1930 air race in Toronto.

Ellis tells the same story in his 1959 book In Canadian Skies, and repeats it in his 1969 survey article for the Canadian Geographical Journal, “They Opened the North by Air.”

Tweedens, Georgette Vachon, Roméo’s spouse, also features her husband as the Christmas Day pilot in her 1974 book Goggles, Helmets and Airmail Stamps. Pierre Vachon notes that his mother could not have had first-hand knowledge of the event. During the winter of 1927-1928, he reports, she was staying with family at Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, busily looking after twin one-year-old daughters. Writing of something that had happened nearly 50 years earlier, she may well have referred to the Ellis book to check her “facts.” (See Hargreaves 1998.)

Interestingly, the same error has crept into a prime reference book used by collectors of air mail stamps and flown “covers” (envelopes).

Chris Hargreaves, editor of the Canadian Aerophilatelist, offered the following comment after reading an early draft of this post: “I have checked back in some early air mail catalogues, and the Third edition (1950) and Fourth edition (1970) of the American Air Mail Catalogue both state that Sutton was the pilot for the first North Shore Air Mail flight. The listing is changed in the Fifth Edition (1981) which states that Roméo Vachon made the flight, but gives no explanation for the change!”

The Facts as Reported by the Press

Various news articles from 1927 paint a picture that supports the research by Rance and Vachon.

16 Desember

This 1982 Canadian stamp in the Bush Plane series features the Fairchild FC-2W G-CAIP as depicted by Canadian aviation artist Robert Bradford.

On Friday, 16 December, as reported in the Montreal Koerant of 17 December, Charles Sutton completed an acceptance flight of CTAL’s brand-new aircraft at the Fairchild factory in Long Island, New York.

19 Desember

On 19 December, with company co-founder and general manager Dr. Louis Cuisinier as a passenger, Sutton flew the Fairchild to the company’s operating base at Lac Nairne north of La Malbaie.* As the aircraft passed over the city of Québec, they dropped a sack of mail containing 150-200 letters. The French-language daily Le Soleil, Québec, reported these details on 22 December.

*This base was often referred to as “Murray Bay” (as well as La Malbaie), but was in fact located some 12 miles (18 km) farther north on a freshwater lake, Lac Nairne (formerly also called Lac Sainte-Agnès).

21 December (Aircraft registration file)

CTAL’s new Fairchild FC-2W (construction number 48) received its certificate of registration (No. 332) as G-CAIP from the Controller of Civil Aviation on 21 December 1927. A single-engine cabin monoplane, it was licensed as a commercial aircraft, approved for daytime operation at an all-up weight of 4600 pounds.

25 Desember

The French-language paper l’Action Catholique of 26 December reported that G-CAIP left Lac Sainte-Agnès near La Malbaie at 10:15 a.m. and dropped mail at six unspecified places before reaching Sept-Îles at 2:15 p.m. Dr. Cuisinier was a passenger on this flight, the paper stated.

A Canadian Press (CP) item carried by the Winnipeg Tribune of 27 December reported mail drops at North Shore villages and the arrival of the aircraft at Clarke City (now part of Sept-Îles) with nearly 200 pounds of mail on board, including letters, parcels and newspapers. “The plane, piloted by Captain Charles Sutton, came from La Malbaie and arrived shortly before noon. Much mail had been dropped by parachute at other places on the north shore which otherwise would not have their mail until well on in January.”

A sister ship of G-CAIP, also owned by CTAL, G-CAIQ was also an FC-2W (construction number 28). She had the same experimental arrangement of a ski-like base added to the float. Problems with the undercarriage shock absorbers doomed the experiment. As the late Patrick Campbell explained in the March 2000 issue of the Canadian Aerophilatelist, “floats need to be ‘solid’ to penetrate the water, while skis need ‘springing’.” Photo: CASM 2204_640.

The CP report also said that the aircraft, equipped with the new ski-floats, had landed on snow at Clarke City, where CTAL was building an airplane base, and that Sutton carried several sacks of mail on the return journey.

The article wrapped up with the statement: “Yesterday Captain Sutton took his machine back to Malbaie.” Given the dateline of “Seven Islands, Que., Dec. 27,” this indicates his departure on 26 December.

However, the company’s 1927-1928 winter flying season report (see below) gives the date for Sutton’s return to Lac Nairne as 27 December. At least ONE discrepancy remains unresolved.

Opsomming van CTAL 1927-1928 North Shore Mail Operations

During the winter of 1927-1928, CTAL flew 23 trips on the North Shore mail contract, including four trips to Anticosti. The service started on 25 December 1927, while the last flight of the season – to Anticosti – took place 3 April 1928. The company carried a total of 15,356 pounds of mail eastbound and 1,071 pounds westbound.

The names of three pilots appear in the report on 1927-1928 North Shore operations: Sutton, Vachon and Schiller. Sutton left the service of CTAL soon after the first mail flight to Sept-Îles, and by February 1928, according to Pierre Vachon’s short biography of him, was flying for Patricia Airways in the Red Lake area of Northwestern Ontario. C.A. “Duke” Schiller joined CTAL in late 1927 or early 1928, and flew seven of the first season’s North Shore mail flights. But most of the North Shore flying that season was done by Roméo Vachon – 15 out of the 23 trips show Vachon as pilot.

This information is available because many company documents were saved by Canadian Airways Limited (CAL) when they absorbed CTAL under a series of amalgamations completed in 1931. Researchers are fortunate that CAL appreciated the value of good records and that the Richardson family, the primary investors in CAL, ensured their files would be preserved at the Manitoba Archives.

Eastbound and westbound activities are summarized on the two pages reproduced below. English equivalents of column headings are: Date, Machine, Pilot, Destination, Weight, Passengers.


First eastbound transcontinental flight departed from… ? - Geskiedenis


PHOTO: Ernest M. Allison, unsung hero of the first day/night transcontinental, smiles proudly from his personalized de Havilland-4B.

Dirty gray clouds rolled in low over Long Island Sound, a sure sign of bad weather ahead. U.S. Air Mail Service pilot Ernest M. Allison lowered his aviator's goggles and fastened his sheepskin-lined helmet. He signaled his mechanics to pull the chocks from under his wheels, then he eased open the throttle on the de Havilland-4B (DH-4B), sending it surging to life.

Smoke swirled from the World War I surplus bomber's exhaust, enveloping bystanders in a cloud of noxious fumes. Waving a cheerful farewell to well-wishers, he taxied across the airfield. Turning into the wind, he opened the throttle fully, and skimmed along the runway.

His tail skid lifted, and in a moment pilot and biplane, carrying 350 pounds of mail bound first for Cleveland then for points west, as far as San Francisco, disappeared into the early morning gloom. The time was 6:14 a.m. The place, Hazelhurst Field, Mineola, Long Island, and the date, February 22, l921.

Ten minutes earlier mail pilot Elmer G. Leonhardt also had taken off from the same field. On the other side of the continent, U.S. Air Mail Service pilots Farr Nutter and Raymond J. Little lifted their de Havillands from San Francisco heading east toward the sun, much of their commemorative airmail addressed to New York.


PHOTO: By the time this photo was taken at the Omaha, Nebraska, airmail field in 1921, Elmer G. Leonhardt's DH-4B number 157 had force-landed four times. One incident, which made world news, occurred on the first day of the first day/night transcontinental. Photo courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

Thus began the first day/night U.S. transcontinental flight, the world's first scheduled long distance flight - New York to San Francisco. Nineteen ninety-six marked the 75th anniversary of that aviation milestone, the first time in history that airmail was carried between points at an announced time, irrespective of weather or time of day. That day and the next U.S. Air Mail Service pilots flying wire-braced, open-cockpit biplanes established a pattern that evolved into the present global air transportation network.

Since September 8, 1920, the service had flown the mail from New York to San Francisco during daytime only, transferring it to trains at night. As a result, elapsed time, should weather or mechanical difficulties not intervene, was 72 hours at best, or a mere 36-hour saving over the fastest all-rail trip.

Congress was not impressed. Having supported the airmail service from its fledgling startup period in 1918 through its first three tenuous years, lawmakers hesitated to appropriate additional funds to expand the service.

"What good is the airmail?" asked Representative Jasper Napoleon Tincher of Kansas (Republican), "It can only carry a shirttail full of mail."

What was needed was a dramatic demonstration of airmail's potential. Assistant Post Master General Otto Praeger decided that a round-the-clock relay of mail from New York to San Francisco in the worst weather of the year would prove airmail's clear-cut advantage over surface mail. The test would entail night flying, something so new that many pilots "doubted that you could keep an airplane right side up in the dark," said Allison.

To keep the mail moving, the 882-mile stretch from Cheyenne to Chicago would be flown in the dark, it would be the longest night flight ever made by civilian fliers. Doubts were many - the New York Sun editorialized that the flight was "homicidal insanity."

Forebodings about the safety of flying the mail were not groundless. In the prior three years 17 airmail service pilots had died in crashes traced to mechanical or weather-related causes. Airmail pilots at the time virtually flew by the seat of their pants. Their instrument panel included a magnetic compass, affected by everything metal on the plane. And when the air got rough on an easterly or westerly heading it oscillated all the way from north to south. Mail pilots had an altimeter, an airspeed indicator, a tachometer and a water temperature and fuel pressure gauge. They flew low - peering over the side of their planes to navigate - skimming rivers, railroad tracks and towns.


PHOTO: Jack Knight, known as the hero of the U.S. Air Mail Service, tests a radiotelephone, available to mail pilots once the Post Office established regular day/night transcontinental service. Photo courtesy of United Airlines.

"An instrument panel is just something to clutter up the cockpit and distract your attention from the railroad or riverbed you're following," said mail pilot Harold T. "Slim" Lewis.

Barnstormers and plane-walking stunt pilots could stay on the ground when the weather looked grim. Not airmail pilots. They were the first airmen to fly to a schedule, and they took what nature offered, be it wind, storm, fog, snow or hell. All those conditions greeted the men who inaugurated continual coast-to-coast scheduled flying on George Washington's birthday, 1921.

"Plenty of people were on hand to wish us clear skies and good luck that day," said Allison. "As it turned out we certainly needed luck and plenty of it."

While eastbound pilots out of San Francisco were blessed with clear skies, Allison and Leonhardt faced the furies. Snow, wind and a cotton-like fog turned flying the New York to Cleveland run into a prescription for disaster. The long, low ridges of the Allegheny mountain range that run NE/SW along central Pennsylvania are no place for a safe forced landing.

Fog, the airmail pilot's nemesis, frequently hangs low in its valleys. Heavy with brush, difficult to read from the air, susceptible to violent, capricious winds and weather changes, the "hell stretch" or Allegheny "graveyard" as pilots christened the humpbacked mountains, brought more airmail pilots to grief than any other part of the transcontinental route. This day Leonhardt's luck held, however, and he reached the refueling stop at Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, 22 minutes ahead of Allison.

Twenty-six minutes later, he was airborne again, ascending into a freezing mist. In short order, heavy layers of ice that had build up on his plane's wings and wires, disturbing the normal air flow and reducing lift, forced him down in a field near Du Bois, Pennsylvania. The forced landing badly damaged his tail skid and axle and thereby grounded him. Soon after passing Morristown, New Jersey, Allison's engine started missing.

"It was touch and go if I could reach Bellefonte," he recalled. Coming in over Nittany Mountain, Allison spotted Bellefonte's mail field just east of town, designated by a large white circle. He glided in for a safe landing. While he slugged down a cup of hot coffee, the Bellefonte field crew warmed up reserve plane number 192. After takeoff, Allison discovered that the propeller on the reserve DH-4B was badly out of balance, causing the entire craft to vibrate excessively.

"I was tempted to turn back and swap propellers with the plane I had just brought in, but because of the importance of the flight I kept on toward Cleveland," he said. The problem was later traced to a linen sheath that covered the propeller up to about 30 inches from each tip. (World War I de Havilland propellers often left the factory wrapped in linen to keep moisture off their laminated wood.) When field mechanics had installed the new propeller on the reserve plane they had neglected to remove the linen. In the rain and sleet, some of this protective casing loosened and peeled off.

"It would have been all right if all of it had come off," said Allison, "But one tip retained enough linen to throw the prop out of balance."

By the time Allison reached Brookville, Pennsylvania, the weather had closed in and a light freezing rain was falling. "The ceiling was so low I was forced to fly about 75 feet above the Allegheny River to avoid hitting the bluffs," he said. Weighted with ice, the DH-4B was unable, even on full power, to climb above a cable for transporting iron ore strung across the river flying under the cable, the plane missed the obstruction by less than 10 feet. Now fast losing altitude, the DH-4B descended toward the ice clogged river. Suddenly, the plane shuddered as if struck by lightening and massive amounts of ice which had accumulated on the wings, struts and wires cracked, groaned and tumbled into the river. The incessant vibrations from the unbalanced propeller had dislodged the ice buildup and allowed Allison to gain altitude and continue flying.

"That unbalanced prop saved me from going into the river at least three times during the 50-mile flight up the Allegheny," said Allison. Eventually the weather improved and Allison landed in Cleveland, numb with cold but proud to have "wangled the graft" (1921 pilots' slang for overcoming tough flying conditions.)

When he taxied up to the hangar, he was met by incredulous field hands, surprised at seeing him. They had expected Allison to meet the same fate as Leonhardt. Seven minutes after Allison landed in Cleveland, relay pilot Wesley L. Smith took to the air, bearing Allison's load of mail, headed for Chicago. He endured a turbulent ride through a raging storm but landed safely at Checkerboard Field, Maywood (Chicago), where he passed his mail to pilot William C. Hopson - who was also a daring wing-walker. Ten minutes after flying in heavy snowfall Hopson returned to the field, saying that there was no way he could battle this storm. Snow, rain and fog at both Chicago and the refueling stop, lowa City, had scratched the westward flight.

At this point airmail's future rested with the planes presumed to be flying eastward from California. Although good flying weather prevailed, the team from San Francisco flew part of their trip in predawn darkness. Leaving at 4:30 a.m., pilots Nutter and Little skimmed the fertile Sacramento valley east of San Francisco. Climbing to 18,000 feet, they crossed the snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains in early morning light, landing safely in Reno, Nevada, shortly before 7:00 a.m.

From there, John L. Eaton and William E. Lewis, a fledgling mail pilot with only four months experience, scooped up the mail and took off with it toward Elko, Nevada. Following the railroad tracks across the Great Basin country, the two pilots reached their destination without incident. Eaton landed first, spent seven minutes on the ground changing planes, then hopped off to Salt Lake City. Lewis also changed to a fresh plane then followed a few minutes later. But at this point tragedy overtook the expedition.

During a steep climb, Lewis's plane stalled at 500 feet. It went into a spin Lewis lost control and the aircraft plunged to the ground. The young pilot, who was scheduled to be married the next month, died on impact. Although shocked and saddened by the news, post office officials, pilots, and field personnel hurried to fill the gap. Less than two hours afterward, Lewis's intact mail sacks (the busted bags had been gathered and sent to the post office for rerouting) were transferred to another plane, this one piloted by William F. Blanchfield, and flown to Salt Lake City.

At Salt Lake City, Eaton, stepping out of his plane, learned that Lewis had crashed behind him. He turned his mail over to James P. Murray for that pilot's assault on the high mountain range to Cheyenne. An experienced pilot who'd spent all winter flying the high country, Murray easily droned over the rugged Wasatch and Laramie Mountains. As he completed his 381-mile run, pulling into Cheyenne's 6,100-foot-high airport at 4:57 p.m., darkness was descending.

Now came the real test. Could pilots flying unheated, unprotected open-cockpit planes navigate the blackness of night in the dead of winter? To find their way through the darkness, pilots could use their magnetic compasses, corrected for wind. For a visual fix on landing, they could touch off their wingtip flares. The twinkling lights of a city provided landmarks moonshine helped and bon fires, lighted by a devoted citizenry, were always welcomed.

First of the nighttime pilots, Frank Yager, carrying Murray's mail, departed at 4:59 p.m., crossing the Great Plains to North Platte, Nebraska, in deepening dusk. For the last 70 miles of his trip, twilight folded into darkness, as the moon hid behind low hanging clouds. The veteran mail pilot pulled all 400 horses from the Liberty engine, racing the clock at a 100 mph. He flew low following the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and later the frozen North Platte River to his destination.

At 7:48 p.m. Yager arrived at North Platte. Here began a flight that altered the course of aviation history, James "Jack" Knight's heroic flight through the night to save the airmail. Sporting a broken nose he had acquired three weeks earlier when his DH-4B mail plane crashed into a snow-covered peak in Wyoming's Laramie Mountains, Knight looked a sorry sight. Besides his aching nose, he was suffering residual effects from bruises and the concussion he'd acquired in the accident. As he admitted later, he didn't feel well enough to participate in the coast-to-coast airmail experiment, but he didn't want to be left out of the action so he signed on.

As soon as Knight spotted Yager's plane descending through the blackness of night into North Platte's airfield, he readied himself for the 248-mile relay to Omaha. Eager to get started, Knight was disappointed to discover that the engine on Yager's plane, the one he was scheduled to take to Omaha, failed to start. As a result he had to wait almost three hours, while mechanics repaired the plane's ignition. He paced the warm-up shack, smoked cigarettes and massaged his bandaged nose. Even at this point Knight must have felt fatigue. Unaware that he had been accepted for the cross-continent relay, the young pilot earlier that day had ferried a mail plane to Cheyenne and back. Finally, at 10:44 p.m., Knight roared down the runway before a large enthusiastic crowd. He began a steep ascent and disappeared into the night, climbing to an altitude of 2,200 feet.

"I dared climb no higher, because land markings were barely discernable at this level," he said. Clouds obscured the moon, but flying through the scud bothered him little, as he knew the route well by day. Through rare holes in the cloud cover, he recognized cities and towns along the way from their light patterns and caught glimpses of the dim silver thread of the Platte River.

Residents from five Nebraska towns along the route ignited bonfires in upended oil drums, which, like primitive beacons, spotlighted Knight's darkened corridor to Omaha.

"Squinting down at them through drifting snow swirls, I felt as though many friends were sending me up signals of bon voyage," he said. At l:l0 a.m. on February 23, Knight let down at Omaha's Fort Crook, a former Calvary post. A large crowd had gathered at the well-lighted field, eager to catch a glimpse of this heroic Icarus of the night. Dead tired, hungry and stiff from the cold, Knight looked forward to a good meal and a warm bed.

"This flying in the dark," he said, "takes it out of you." Knight anticipated turning his 16,000 letters over to either westbound relay pilot Hopson or Dean Smith. But, as he soon learned, the turnaround pilots scheduled to make the night flight from Omaha to Chicago and then back to Chicago were weather-bound in Chicago. And the only other available pilot who knew the route refused, because of the storm, to fly it. Knight volunteered his services, although he had never flown the 24-mile route from Omaha to Chicago via Iowa City before - even during the day. The weather looked terrible, snow flurries, winds and heavy clouds that blotted out the moon were forecast, and he was dead tired. But as airmail's options were fast running out, and nothing took precedence over the success of the airmail venture, Omaha's station manager, Bill Votaw, agreed to let the young pilot risk the flight.

"I pleaded for the opportunity to go on," said Knight. "There's not a pilot in the airmail service who would not have done the same."

For 20 minutes Knight pored over a road map of Iowa and Illinois, marking his course. Then he clambered into DH-4B number 188 - fueled and serviced - tucked himself into the cockpit, tacked his map to his instrument panel and opened the throttle. It was 1:59 a.m. His first destination was a refueling stop in Iowa City, 233 miles away.

"I was flying over territory absolutely strange," he said. "I knew nothing of the land markings, even if they had been visible." To boot, his road map showed there was no main road that he could follow. Since Des Moines was the only city that stood out on the map, Knight set his compass course for that city 140 miles away, en route to Iowa City. This time no bonfires provided a primitive beacon for Knight to follow because everyone, except the tenacious young pilot, had given up. The night was as dark as pitch from a cloud-enshrouded moon, but Knight droned east over Iowa.

An hour five minutes after takeoff he sighted the lighted dome of the state capitol, reassuring him he was on course. Twenty miles past Des Moines he encountered the forecast bad weather. Layers of clouds drifted beneath him, blocking his view of the earth. A strong wind whipped up from the northwest, beating his small plane like a tumbleweed in a storm. The turbulence caused him to increase throttle and thus burn precious fuel. To maintain visual contact and assess his drift, he nosed the craft down, descending as much as 2,000 feet. As he told it, when he felt his landing gear scrape the top of a tree, he pulled up. From then on he held the plane close to the ground even though the air was rough. The valleys were packed with fog and snow flurries pelted his windshield. Eventually, Knight sighted the railroad tracks leading to Iowa City.

As much a threat as bad weather was sleepiness. To keep awake Knight gripped the control stick between his knees and slapped at his face, body and arms. The cold wind, which pricked like needles when he stuck his head over the side, jolted him into alertness. The cold air whistled under his helmet straps.


PHOTO: A de Havilland-4B wings its way coast to coast, bearing 350 pounds of mail. Wingtip landing lights were added to U.S. Air Mail Service planes once cross-country routes were established on a regular basis. Photo courtesy United Airlines.

Finally, he sighted Iowa City, but with no lights to guide him he could not locate the airport. Thinking the project had been abandoned, the ground crew had all gone home. Knight circled the sleeping town for 12 minutes, hoping to rouse a sleeping field hand. Sure enough, upon hearing the drone of the distressed plane, the night watchman dashed out to the field and touched off several red flares.

Provided with a general layout of the field, Knight made a nearly perfect landing. & quot. by more luck than skill," he said. When he landed, his gas tank was practically empty. The time was 4:45 a.m.

The ground crew, now awakened, rushed to the field to service the plane. While the DH-4B was being gassed and serviced, Knight ate a ham sandwich, smoked cigarettes and waited to hear from Chicago that the weather was clearing. Although famished, he avoided eating too much, thinking it might induce more sleepiness. Finally, at 6:30 a.m. Knight revved his engine and took off for the Windy City. Even with the light from the awakening day, the exhausted pilot still flew nearly blind. A thick fog over the Mississippi lay like a white sheet over the land, forcing him to navigate by compass. He believed that by climbing to 5,000 feet he would find clear skies, and his instincts proved reliable.

Clear skies over Illinois eventually allowed him to see identifiable landmarks on the outskirts of Chicago. As Knight swept over the city, his engine began to sputter and pop for the first time on the trip.

"It was misbehaving, however, at a time when I was willing to forgive it," said Knight. "I was within gliding distance of the airmail field at Maywood."

It was 8:40 a.m. when Knight set his wheels down on Chicago's Checkerboard Field. He described his flight from Omaha to Chicago to a New York Times reporter, "I got tangled up in the fog and snow a little bit. Once or twice I had to go down and mow some trees to find out where l was, but it did not amount to much, except for all that stretch between Des Moines and Iowa City. Say, if you ever want to worry your head, just try to find Iowa City on a dark night with a good snow and fog hanging around. Finding Chicago - why, that was a cinch. I could see it a hundred miles away by the smoke and by the stockyard smell. But Iowa City - well, that was tough."

Knight had winged his way into aviation history, completing 672 miles of night-flying, the first all-night mail flight. He'd also set a record when his mail from San Francisco was delivered to Chicago in 29 hours. Otto Praeger spared no praise for the all-night flight, calling it "a demonstration of the entire feasibility of commercial night flying."

Only a few photographers greeted the young pilot, however. After all, they figured, what fool would fly through a night like this. Even though the worst was over, that didn't mean smooth flying lay ahead for the two relay pilots trusted with the experiment's critical final laps to New York. Within 20 minutes of Knight's landing, newly employed mail pilot Jack Webster took wing, bound for Cleveland. A low ceiling had him skimming trees tops and nearly force-landing his plane, but he stayed aloft. Even though he had never flown the route before and never had seen the Cleveland field, Webster delivered his mail pouches safely to Allison for the last leg of the trip.

Carrying six mail bags of transcontinental mail, Allison took off from Cleveland in DH-4B number 192, the same craft that vibrated the ice off his wings and wires and saved him from a cold winter's dunking in the Allegheny River the day before. This time the propeller spun like a top, but the weather posed as much a threat as ever. Allison encountered snow and sleet across Ohio but persevered, landing at Bellefonte for gas and oil at 2:42 p.m.

Sixteen minutes later he continued his assault on the Allegheny "Hell Stretch" and its hair-raising obstacle course. At 4:50 p.m. on February 23, Allison dipped his wings at Hazelhurst Field in New York, five minutes ahead of schedule, thus concluding the historic event. Praeger hailed the achievement as "the most momentous step in civil aviation" and prophesied it would revolutionize the carrying of mail worldwide. Newspapers touted the coast to-coast flight as a feat without parallel in civil aviation.

The big airmail gamble had paid off. For the first time in history, mail had been carried the 2,666 miles coast to coast in 25 hours, 53 minutes flying time at an average speed of 103 mph. Elapsed time from the time Nutter took off from San Francisco until Allison landed at New York was 33 hours 20 minutes, 75 hours shorter than the best train time.

Impressed by the feat and by the wide public acclaim, Congress at last appropriated the needed funds for the beleaguered mail service. The U.S. Air Mail Service and the first cross-country transcontinental experiment have long since faded into history. But because of the daring flight, the service's role in pioneering air transportation remains as a milestone in world aviation. The tragedy of pilot Lewis, the triumph of Knight and the courage and perseverance of Allison and the other mail pilots brought aviation to this glory point.

"We realized if we could make it go, it could amount to something," said Allison.

Nancy Allison Wright is editor of the Air Mail Pioneers News, a periodic newsletter of Air Mail Pioneers. Her father, Ernest M. "Allie" Allison, was former national treasurer and western division president of Air Mail Pioneers.


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