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The Post Office Takes Full Control of Airmail - August 1918

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From May 15 - August 9, 1918, the Army provided the pilots and aircraft for the Post Office Department's airmail service. The Army originally planned to operate the service for one year, using it to train pilots who would then take their skills overseas to the war. Postal demands that pilots fly, regardless of weather, was not what the Army had wanted, and after three months, both parties agreed that the Post Office would take over full control of the airmail service.

The Washington airfield was moved from Potomac Park, a poorly placed airfield good only for its location near the city's post office, to College Park, MD, where an airfield had been in place since 1911. The Post Office hired four pilots at the start of the service, Max Miller, Eddie Gardner, Maurice Newton and Robert Shank. Former Army Captain Benjamin Lipsner was hired by the Post Office to be Superintendent of the Airmail Service. Otto Praeger, 2nd Assistant Postmaster General, was in charge of the operations.

The First Postal Pilots

National Postal Museum

Standard mail airplanes

National Postal Museum

Standard JR-1B

National Postal Museum

Max and Daisy Miller

National Postal Museum

Airmail Pilot Badge #1

National Postal Museum

Mail is Loaded into Airmail Plane

National Postal Museum

Loading Airmail Bags

National Postal Museum

Eddie Gardner

National Postal Museum

Eddie Gardner's flight suit

National Postal Museum

Eddie Gardner's Face Mask

National Postal Museum

Eddie Gardner's flight helmet

National Postal Museum

Loading the Mail

National Postal Museum