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PILOT STORIES: Suiting Up

From shiny badges proclaiming their status to goggles, leather helmets and even face masks, airmail pilots were responsible for much more than just making sure the mail was delivered. Identification badges ensured pilots could ride by train for free when a crash rendered the airplanes un-flyable. Goggles and a range of leather flying gear helped protect them from the harsh elements as they flew in open cockpits through all kinds of weather. This is just some of the gear used by America's first airmail pilots.

U.S. Aerial Mail Service badge #809 Ex-airmail pilot Eddie Gardner wore these goggles leather flying helmet leather face mask for flying Eddie Gardner's flying suit Airmail pilot posing in his flight suits Airmail pilot boot Airmail pilot gloves

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