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Building the Foundation
Coast to Coast
>> Spanning the Continent
>> Creating a Nocturnal Flyway
>> Knight's Night
From Public to Private



The Post Office Department's ultimate goal was to provide coast-to-coast airmail service. By 1919 it had established service between New York and Chicago. After September 8, 1920, airmail was flown across country, from New York to San Francisco by day.

The lack of ground lighting made night flying impossible, so mailbags were taken off airplanes at night and placed on mail trains, which sped them on their way. The next morning the bags were put back on the nearest mail airplane to continue their journey. At it's fastest, transcontinental airmail service saved less than 2 days over mail sent the entire distance by train.

To institute coast-to-coast airmail service, postal officials had to show Congress that round-the-clock flying was possible. If mail moved only slightly faster by
air than by train, few in Congress would be persuaded to fund the service.

Click to learn more about Coast to Coast

Drawings by Huking of Emergency fields in Nevada & California DH-4s at Cheyenne, Wyoming field
  DH-4 airplane on field
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Drawings by Huking of Emergency fields in Nevada & California

(top right) DH-4s at Cheyenne, Wyoming field

(bottom right) DH-4 airplane on field
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