A Difficult December
Postal officials were determined to create regular airmail service between New York and Chicago. Eddie Gardner had made a death-defying trip from Chicago to New York to prove that it was possible to fly the mail between the two cities in one day. But that had been a stunt, not an organized system to support flights six days a week between the two cities. Now Praeger wanted to set up regular flights along that 750-mile route at a time when the planes he was using had a range of 280 miles.
Praeger had had the army's help in setting up the route between Washington, Philadelphia and New York, and while the Post Office was now successfully maintaining that system, it was a far cry from the work needed to get airmail from New York to Chicago on a regular basis. Congress continued to question the necessity of an airmail service. Praeger decided he would win them over by expanding the service and announced the New York - Chicago airmail route would open on December 15, 1918. By the end of the month Praeger would realize he had bitten off more than he could chew.
Tags: Praeger, Miller, New York, Chicago, Bellefonte, Cleveland, Bryan, Curtiss, deHavilland, Burleson, Lipsner, Connor, Jordan, Edgerton, Biffle, E. Hamilton Lee, Leon Smith, strike, De Hart, Doty, Eversole, Lamb, airmail