HISTORIC AIRPLANES: Pick-up
In the 1930s, mail contractors decided to test
the feasibility of inaugurating Air Mail Service in areas
without adequate railway or highway mail links. Unfortunately,
the towns which needed this type of service usually did not
have adequate landing fields for airplanes.
The plane that was initially used was a single engine Stinson aircraft, capable of operating at speeds of approximately 150 miles an hour. On the ground, the postmaster loaded the town's mail into a container which was then placed on top of a contraption resembling a goal post.
The airplane's crew consisted of the pilot and a flight officer who worked the pick-up mechanism, making the mail exchange. As the pilot guided the airplane down, the flight officer lowered a grappling hook to snag the container while mail destined for the community was then dropped from the plane onto the airfield. The technique was modeled on the Railway Mail Service's "mail-on-the-fly" pickups.
Click here to learn more about the Pick-Up
Contract Airmail Route Covers
Railway Mail Service's "Mail on the Fly" system.