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Since the Air Mail Pioneers became a featured participant on the Internet, weíve been deluged with e-mails from people seeking information about airmail history. Aviation history buffs, genealogists, stamp collectors, a horologist (watch collector), trivial pursuit pursuers, and many others consider our airmailpioneers.org website a prime source of aviation data. As the News editor and web-master I answer questions as fully as my time and my knowledge of the issues permit.
Still, seekers of information will undoubtedly appreciate hearing from News readers. If you have the answers to the questions, either contact the questioner via e-mail or write me and Iíll forward your information. The following e-mails are shortened to their essence:
Can you point me in the right direction to find information on the transcontinental beacons? I hope to find dates, places, names. Are there airmail pilots alive who remember these beacons who would allow an interview? Again, it was a pleasure to read your article written with a sense of humor that will bring me back to read it again and again. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Cheryl Roberts

Looking for any information on William F. Blanchfield. Bette Davidson Kalash from the Jesse Davidson Aviation Archives referred me to your website. Researching my family tree and would love to find out any information on William that I could. Please e-mail me at rQzsteffen@aol.com . Thank you, Rosalind Blanchfield Steffen

Editorís note: I sent her what I knew about Blanchfield from William M. Learyís book "Aerial Pioneers."

I am the daughter of an old "Barnstormer" [Charles Archie Collins]. He flew Air Mail. He flew and roomed with Lindbergh. His best pal and fellow flier was the late Tex Rankin. Several articles exist, concerning my father, in newspapers in Washington State, but I no longer have them. If I did, I could be specific on dates, places, etc. If you have any information on my Dad,

I would be so grateful to be made aware of the source. I can be reached at Sttonyl499@aol.com . Thanking you in advance. Sttony

Editorís note: He not fly for the U.S. Air Mail Service.

Several years ago I was told by my father that one of his brothers, Ivan Gustafson, had been an air mail pilot, the time period, I believe, was in the 20's. Would you have any information on this? Dad even showed me a photo of Ivan in a cold weather outfit next to an old style air craft. I don't remember if the air plane had a logo on it or not. I do not know where the photo went.

I would appreciate any information you may have or not on this. Thank you

Kurt Gustafson  gustafson@hnet.net.

Editorís note: I wrote that there is no Gustafson listed as an Air Mail Service pilot.

My name is Rick Harless. I live in Battle Mountain, Nevada. I know where there are 3 old beacons, 2 large concrete arrows in the ground as well as 2 old air mail landing strips that still have the foundations of building etc. I am a pilot and very much interested in the air mail routes. Where could I get pictures of the fields as they looked when they were used and information on them. I would also like to obtain copies of any maps that are available especially of the route that went through my area (Elko-Reno). Please advise if you have any of this information available or know where to get it. Rick Harless harless@the-onramp.net.  

Editorís note: The "Saga of the U.S. Air Mail Service," put out by the Air Mail Pioneers, includes photos of Elko and Reno.

I have been researching Art Smith's life for the past couple of years in order to write a book about him. And while I do have a good start on the book and lots of information about Art's life, I have some big gaps in his history, including his years in the air mail service. He became an air mail pilot in 1923 and crashed and died in 1926. I have found very little about him during that period. I do have quite a bit about the crash, since that was covered heavily in the press here.

It would be a tremendous help to me if you could provide any information about his time as an air mail pilot or if you could point me in the direction of any good sources. I am also lacking much information about his time as a flight instructor and test pilot for the military at McCook Air Field in Dayton, Ohio, in the three or four years prior to his joining the air mail service. Kerry Hubartt 8221 Hollopeter Road Leo, IN 46765

Editorís Note: I referred the writer to James Learyís book "Aerial Pioneers," which discusses at length Art Smithís career in the Air Mail Service.

Editorís note: I sent her two articles from the Wyoming State Tribune on pilot Oakesís crash. 

I am a antiquarian horologist. I collect watches and clocks. I specialize for the most part on military timekeeping.

Recently I was able to buy a pocket watch. There is no watch manufacturer identification on the watch. However, on the dial is the inscription: U. S. Air Service.

Would this name have applied to the U. S. Air Mail Service, as it is referred to on your web site? I have searched many different sources for information about the origin of the inscription. I would deeply appreciate any information which you or your members can supply. John W. Barron j.w.barron@worldnet.att.net.

Editorís note: I scanned an ad from the book "Aerial Mail Service: A Chronology of the Early United States Government Air Mail, March Ė December, 1918 advertising Hamilton Watch as the "...Watch of U.S. Mail Aviators."

There was a flight from Petaluma California to Santa Rosa California carrying mail in the very early 1900's. I believe the pilot was a guy with the last name Wiseman.   Where could I find more info on this?

Have a nice Holiday, I have enjoyed your site. Gil Scovill (Email:  Scovillg@aol.com )

Editorís note: Between October 1911 and December 1912 the P. O. approved 47 requests for airmail delivery.  Wiseman may have delivered the mail on one of these contracts.

wpe13.gifI am a grandson of an AMP. My Grandfather's name was Peter A. Toronto. He was a pilot and mechanic, and flew out of Long Island (1918 or so). I have many photos of these times. I have just recently started to scan them into my computer, and also save them on disk. I don't know all that much detail about his work in the AMP. (Mostly unlabeled photos), but I want to get these historical photos out there. Let me know if you would be interested in them. I'm eager to learn more about the photos I have, and the work my grandfather did and to preserve and add to the history of the Air-Mail Pioneers. Sincerely, David A. Wettengel DAW77@prodigy.net.

Editorís Note: Wettengel and I have e-mailed back and forth many times. He scanned photos of his grandfather and early Air Mail Service planes, such as the two photos on the top of this newsletter.  Establishing links to AMP relatives is one of the many advantages of the Internet.

I just found your site. Iím a retired postmaster and now I can pursue my true love of collecting postal toys, badges, scales etc. Iím trying to locate a pair of aerial wings worn by the air mail pilots. Would appreciate any help you can give. I would like to see a copy of your news letter. Isidore Ifshin mrzip@bellsouth.net.

 I enjoyed your web site. My father flew for Braniff airlines until his retirement about 15 years ago. One of the things I remember was that they flew the U.S. Mail along with the passengers. I often remember his comments about his making sure that the mail had to get through.

Keep up the site, it is a treasure.

 Let me compliment you on a very nicely done web site and on a wonderful way of retelling the story of the first day/night transcontinental mail flights. - More readable than a lot of things you see in commercial magazines! Well done!

I have long felt that the Air Mail was a pioneering achievement which is not fully appreciated even by quite a few of those who are aware of it. I felt that an effort to preserve what remains to be preserved should be made. - Historical markers, preservation of historic sites, memorabilia, etc.

Iím trying to trace family and historical information regarding Frank T. Coffyn - aviator. He was one of the first team of six selected by the Wright Bros in 1910 and taught at the Wright Instruction Camp in Aiken, S.C. E-mail StrStudio@aol.com.


Dear Editor,

Sorry to be the bearer of sad news but Mrs. Marie T. Ricker passed away on November 20, 1998. Please remove her name from your records.

Mrs. Ricker celebrated her 100th birthday on August 21, 1998. She was given a very elaborate birthday party at the Jefferson Health Care Unit where she has been a resident since July 1993. 1 shall miss her very much as she was such a grand lady.

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U.S. Air Mail Service pilot Max Miller.  Photo courtesy of The American Air Mail Society.

I hope that although Mrs. Ricker has departed that you will continue to send me the Air Mail Pioneers pamphlet. Although I have not been a part of the Air Mail Service as Marie and her first husband, Max Miller, have been my association with her over the past 25+ years has made me feel a part of the Air Mail Pioneers. Yours sincerely, Armand R. Poyant, Executor

Editorís note: Mrs. Ricker was a long term employee of the Air Mail Service. It was in her early years of employment that she met and married her first husband Max Miller, the first civilian pilot of the service. He was killed on Sept. 1, 1920, when the Junkers JL-6 he was flying developed engine trouble then burst into flames over Morristown, New Jersey.

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History | Air Mail Pilots | Photo Gallery | Flight Info | Antique Airplanes | Members
 Newsletters | Museums/Books | Collectors | Questions
| Links | Home Page



History | Air Mail Pilots | Photo Gallery | Flight Info | Antique Airplanes | Members
Newsletters | Museums/Books | Collectors | Questions
| Links | Home Page

copyright © 1999 Nancy Allison Wright, President Air Mail Pioneers

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