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United Kingdom GBP. Change region. These experimental flights were continued, however, request being made on Congress for an air mail appropriation from year to year. During the fiscal year funds were made available for the payment of aeroplane service, out of the appropriation for Steamboat or other Power Boat Service, and in that year advertisements were issued inviting bids for service on one route in Massachusetts and on several in Alaska.

No bids were received under the advertisements, due to the fact that possible bidders were unable to obtain suitably constructed planes for the proposed service. Nevertheless, negotiations with airplane manufacturers and other interested aviation activities were pushed forward, looking to the earliest possible establishment of a carefully conducted experimental air mail service. The development of the airplane in the World War, and the important part it was then playing as a fighting factor in that great struggle, also served to further strengthen the belief of postal officials that it certainly could be developed into a means of fast commercial and mail transportation as well.

The distance of the route was approximately miles and the frequency of service was one round trip daily, except Sunday. This service was inaugurated with the cooperation of the War Department, which furnished the planes and pilots and conducted the flying and maintenance operations, the Post Office Department handling the mail and matters relating thereto.

Airmails of the United States - Wikipedia

The cooperation of the War Department, which was of great value, was maintained until August 12, , when the Post Office Department took over the entire operation of the route, furnishing its own equipment and personnel. Flights on regular schedule, in all kinds of weather, presented new and unsolved problems, but gradually difficulties were overcome and a very reliable percentage of performance was attained over the route. In fact, the operation of this experimental route was so successful that the Department immediately began to lay plans for the extension of the service, and with a view toward the possible establishment of a transcontinental route from New York City to San Francisco.

The first leg of this important route was established on July 1 of the same year. These two latter routes were utilized to advance delivery of mail in connection with train service, and this was accomplished in the following manner. Chicago and Cleveland gateway mail was dispatched by plane from New York to Cleveland, where it was placed on trains that left New York the evening before, thus saving about 16 hours in time to the Middle West and 24 hours to the coast.

Eastbound flights over this route advanced delivery of gateway mail from Cleveland to New York in the same manner. On the Cleveland-Chicago route mail from the east was taken from the train at Cleveland in the morning and flown to Chicago in time for the last city delivery, saving approximately 16 hours in time.

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On the eastbound trips mail was flown from Chicago to overtake the mail train at Cleveland, which reached New York at the following morning, thereby effecting a saving in time of approximately 16 hours in the delivery of mail to New York City and the New England States. On the three routes in operation during the fiscal year , there were in the air daily eight planes, flying an aggregate of 1, miles each day.

The record of performance during this fiscal year was On May 15, , the third leg of the transcontinental route, Chicago, Ill. On August 16, , a route was established between Chicago and St. Louis, and on December 1 of the same year a route was also established between Chicago and Minneapolis.

Both of these latter routes expedited mail between the points named, and were feeder lines to mail trains and the transcontinental route at Chicago. The last leg of the transcontinental route, Omaha, Nebr. The initial westbound trip was made at the rate of 80 miles per hour and was flown without a forced landing, either for weather or mechanical trouble.

The plane carried 16, letters, which arrived in San Francisco 22 hours ahead of the best possible time by train, had the train made all its connections. Due to the necessity of economizing on expenditures, and the fact that Congress had not specifically authorized the same, the New York-Washington route was discontinued on May 31, , and the Minneapolis-Chicago and the Chicago-St. As mentioned above, here was a giant among pygmies. Whereas all the small companies tried their luck with just a handful of aircraft, usually operated just one route, and were so poorly capitalized that they lasted only a summer season or two, Aeromarine Airways, Inc.

It had an airline fleet that, even a decade later, would have been impressive; it operated quite a number of routes with a good record of reliability; it was well financed; and it lasted for three years. It was founded by Inglis M. Uppercu, a New York car dealer who had entered the aircraft manufacturing business during the Great War, with a factory at Keyport, New Jersey, building small flying boats for the US Navy.

The Aeromarine Plane and Motor Corporation was a solid business, and Uppercu was a highly respected member of the aeronautical establishment of the time. The Curtiss boats had three open cockpits, one for the pilot, two for the passengers; the first-class luxury model had transparent hoods.

The wind beneath your wings – our guide on California’s role in helping modern aviation take flight

Uppercu's most important decision was, later in , to acquire a fleet of large Curtiss F-5l H or Curtiss Type 75 flying boats. Unlike all the small single-engined flying boats, these were large machines. They had two horsepower Liberty engines and could carry 14 passengers in comfort in a complete enclosed cabin that would not have been out of place if operated ten years later by Pan American Airways.

It was flown southward immediately and was soon joined by a sister ship, the Pinta, on 23 October. Others followed and these attractive flying boats soon established themselves as the link between Florida and the bars of Havana and Nassau; and Aeromarine consolidated its position by acquiring. The airline was St. Petersburg- Tampa Air Line of The first foreign air mail contractor operate was Aeromarine from Key West to Havana, Aeromarine operations underlined.


Florida West Indies Airways see above and with it, the mail contract to Cuba; and it took over the service of Aero Limited. For the next three years, Aeromarine dominated the airline industry of the United States. In those years, regulation from Washington was little more than an unsupervised paper exercise, with little direct control over matters of navigation or safety. Uppercu's chief pilot, Ed Musick other well-known pilots flying the lines were CJ. Zimmerman and Durston Richardson later admitted that he had indulged in bootlegging activities.

Some flights were made between New York and Florida, to become known as The High-Ball Express - named after a well-known alcoholic concoction. These episodes aside, however, Aeromarine compiled a record of airline services that was a truly admirable aeronautical achievement. It overcame the operational hazards of inclement weather by flying in the New York and Great Lakes area in the summer, and in Florida and the Carribean during the winter.

A Detroit-Cleveland service began across Lake Erie on 1 June , and was known as the Ninety Minute Line by the appreciative locals, as even though the fares were high, it avoided a tedious land journey via Toledo. The US Post Office terminated its contract on 31 March , and by this time, experience had shown that the air mail revenues did not cover the costs of carrying them.

Also, a good safety record had been marred by the crash in the sea near Havana of the good ship Colombus, on 13 January Altogether, it had been a disappointing year, and Uppercu finally faced the financial realities and terminated all operations in September. By any standards of the s, Aeromarine's service record was commendable, and its operation should have served and may possibly have actually served as an example of how to operate an airline in those embryo years of the air transport industry.

It carried about 17, passengers on scheduled services and possibly as many again on charter and sightseeing flights. Six years were to pass before any us airline carried more passengers in one year than Aeromarine's 9, in This airline has never been given the full recognition that it deserved, and Inglis Uppercu should have been honored as one of the founders of the US industry that was to develop and in a few short years to dominate the airline world.

They Also Flew. Researchers and historians have had to depend on fragmented sources, including newspaper accounts that were often the only notices of aviation activity. The word "airline" was not in common use, or it was sometimes misused. Some mention should be made, however, of a few other attempts to put the newly-invented aeroplane to commercial use. During the summer of , Grover Loening, an early aircraft manufacturer and something of a socialite, launched the New York - Newport Air Service, Inc.

Daring Deliveries: The U.S. Post Office and the Birth of Commercial Aviation

Early in , an Air Yacht crashed and the operation ended. Three Curtiss Orioles flew the mile distance in about four hours, saving at least one day, and often two, over the surface modes. Other transitory companies included the Curtiss Metropolitan Airplane Company, which during the winter of , carried newspapers and the occasional passenger between Miami and Palm Beach.

Mercury Aviation, a fixed-base operator in Southern California, made an initial Curtiss Jenny flight from Los Angeles to San Diego on 1 November , but there is no record of this effort being continued. Walter Varney, later to found several airlines and the winning bidder of one the Post Office mail contracts in , operated sporadically in in the San Joaquin Valley, south of San Francisco; but not on a regular route.

John Wood, an ex-wartime flyer, upgraded his barnstorming in Kentucky to carry a few passengers late in ; but this could not be termed an air service. Possibly because the name and the operation survived spasmodically from its beginning in until the present day, Chalk's Flying Service has a claim for inclusion in this list of pioneers. Arthur B. There were periods when this service could almost have been defined as regular, but Pappy was not one for paper- work, and there is no evidence to confirm that he ever did more than fly when a customer appeared, at least during the first few years of operation.

When Inglis Uppercu finally had to terminate Aeromarine in , airline activity in the United States came to a standstill, with only the Loening operation in Long Island Sound a short postscript to the few pioneering years of the early s. There had been too many false starts, and for all their enthusiasm.

World's first scheduled airline service. Operations taken over by Aeromarine. Merged with Aeromarine. Awarded FAM 2. Bought by Western Air Express in First overland passenger service. Without a subsidy in the form of a post office contract, there was no hope of sustaining an airline operation without losing the proverbial shirt. In only one airline operation can be traced and that is remarkable for several reasons. The Farthest North Airplane Company was based in Alaska, where it competed not with railroads or ships, but with dog-teams. A Fairbanks school teacher, C. The dogs took more than two weeks.

The significant aspect of Eielson's operation was that it was overland, and used a land plane. But, for reasons unknown, the company lasted only four months. In the following year also, in , one airline was in operation; and although it was sustained for only one year, it deserves, rather as does Aeromarine, more recognition than has been granted by most aviation historians. A San Diego manufacturer the same that was to build the Spirit of St.

Louis for Charles Lindbergh began a regular passenger service from its base airfield to Los Angeles, on 1 March Ryan Airlines, Inc. This was the first overland airline operation in the United States, and the first inter-city service. It deserves full credit for being the first to achieve this joint distinction, paving the way for similar passenger services that were to follow the US Post Office contractors in the years to come.

Its transitory claim to fame is that it was the first to use the Commuter name, one that was to fall into general use half a century later. Setting the Table. During the first approximate half-decade, , of the development of air transport in the United States excluding the historic Tampa Bay operation each of these small companies contributed, in their small way, to set the stage for greater things in , when the government decided that the time had come to encourage the spirit of private enterprise with a subsidy, through the agency of the US Post Office mail payments to contracted air mail carriers.

The Post Office itself, with its own air service, established hitherto unexplored standards of operation, particularly in the maintenance of the aircraft and the emphasis sometimes over-emphasis on punctuality and regularity. It stimulated the construction of the Lighted Airway, which was a factor in ensuring that, once the permanent, well-capitalized, airlines got under way in , elements of navigational aids were in place to guide the pilots. Above all, Aeromarine had demonstrated how an airline could be run, and that, given a reasonably comfortable cabin, passengers would fly in aeroplanes, however dangerous the barnstormers tried to present the heavier-than-air machines.

But Inglis Uppercu also demonstrated that, without government help, aeronautical technology was not yet at a stage that it could be financially viable. Curiously, one company, the Lawson Air Line, was the one that gained the most publicity at the time, mainly because of the vigorous promotion by its owner, Alfred Lawson. Yet he never operated a single route, although he did make a spectacular flight or two with a large passenger-carrying machine that was apparently based on the British Handley Page aircraft then operating in Europe.

Aviation in Early Los Angeles

In that continent, the British and the French had converted wartime bombers to carry passengers - "swords into ploughshares" - and the Germans were designing passenger-carrying metal mini-liners. The Americans dragged their feet. Nevertheless, and primitive though the now-forgotten airlines of the early s were, they played their part.

Their achievement, fragmented, uncoordinated, and sadly unrecognized today, was to do the groundbreaking in an unprepared environment, and to lay the foundations of the United States air transport industry, which in a few short years, was to dominate the airways of the world. Liste des illustrations Advertisment : "The hole in the wall" [link] Map of the air routes in the United States [link] U. Airline [link]. Davies Smithsonian Institution, Washington ] A Question of Definition Every few years, one of the leading United States domestic airlines - United, American, Delta or TWA, for example - will celebrate an anniversary of its birth and customarily will trace its history back to an ancestor airline, and claim to be the oldest airline in the United States.

A Question of Record-Keeping One reason why the annals of the pre- airlines have not been handed down for posterity is simply because of a possibly unintentional accident by R. DAVIES an administration that was confronted with an entirely new form of transport and technology, and of which no authority, official or otherwise, had been charged to keep records.

The World's First Airline Strangely, the right to claim, with justifiable pride, that the first commercial airline in the world was in the United States was ignored by the Commerce Department. In July , the Il'ya Muromets made an historic R.