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PILOT STORIES: The Army Pilots

The Army pilots were familiar with the JN-4 "Jennies," which had been used as training airplanes in the service, but they were irritated by postal service demands that they fly the mail regardless of weather conditions. Postal officials, especially Second Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger, who was in charge of the service for the department, were exasperated by Army pilots who refused to fly in bad fog.

Did you know?After flights were canceled two days in a row, Praeger fired off a note to Captain A. C. Weidenbach, who was in charge of the service at that time. The route schedules he noted angrily, were essential. The Post Office Department was trying to "establish a daily aerial movement in the face of weather obstacles." Capt. Weidenbach agreed to push his pilots harder to keep to the schedule, but Praeger's suspicions about the army's commitment continued. He knew the army was primarily interested in providing flight training to their pilots, not in establishing the core of a commercial aviation network. Army pilots carried the mail for Praeger for the last time on August 9, 1918,

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1918 Jenny takeoff Praeger, Chance, Burleson and Wilson
Lipsner posed with unidentified airman in front of a Jenny aircraft Army-flown Jenny crashed nose first
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) 1918 takeoff

(top right) Praeger, Chance, Burleson and Wilson

(bottom left) Lipsner on right

(bottom right) Army-flown Jenny crashed nose first
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