PILOT STORIES: Allen,
Edmund T. "Eddie"
||July 10, 1925
|Air Mail Service Ended:
||June 30, 1927
|Total Hours Flown:
|Total Miles Flown:
Airmail pilot Edmund Turney "Eddie"
Allen was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 4, 1896. Prior
to his airmail experience, Allen flew as a test pilot for
a series of organizations and companies. He was a graduate
of the University of Illinois and the Massachusetts Institute
Allen was hired as an airmail pilot on July
10, 1925. Five days later, he was assigned to report at the
Cheyenne, Wyoming airmail field. In a letter from General
Superintendent Carl F. Egge to Harry W. Huking, superintendent
of the service at Cheyenne, Egge noted that "Mr. Allen has
a very good record as a pilot," but suggested that as
with all pilots new to a route, Allen needed first to learn
it by flying day and night in test runs as well as by trailing
mail airplanes on the route.
Two weeks after he began flying out of Cheyenne,
Allen had his first forced landing when heavy fog and low
visibility forced him down at the Laramie, Wyoming emergency
landing field at 10:25 p.m. Weather kept him there over night.
He was not able to takeoff in his de Havilland airplane #400
until the next afternoon at 1:30.
On December 7, 1925, Allen was forced down again,
this time in de Havilland airplane #369 near Park City, Utah,
on a field owned by J. J. Fletcher. Once again, it had been
bad weather that had forced him down. This time, ground fog
at Salt Lake City had prevented his landing there. As he noted
in his report, he spied a horse-drawn wagon on the field,
but he thought he had ample room to miss it. But, while he
watched out of the left side of his cockpit while landing,
he hit the wagon with his right wing. Fortunately, no damage
was sustained by the horse, wagon or its driver. Allen's
airplane, however ended up with a broken lower left wing landing
edge and damage to the fuselage that was bad enough that the
craft had to be trucked to the Salt Lake City field.
Bad weather forced Allen to make other unscheduled
landings in his airmail career, but fortunately none of them
were serious. After the service was turned over to private
hands in 1927, Allen continued to fly.
When the Post Office Department turned the airmail
service over to private contractors, Allen heard that the
pilots' old cold weather gear was being turned over
the pilots. "I would very much like to have these things
which I used in carrying the mail over the Rockies for the
Air Mail Service, as a personal memento, -- an expression
of appreciation of unusual services, for I gave the very best
I had in me to the Air Mail Service."
In the 1940s, Allen was working as test pilot for Boeing aircraft. On September 21, 1942, Allen tested the
first of the company's top-secret XB-29 prototype Superfortress
bombers. Twenty minutes into his test of the second prototype
of the bomber on February 19, 1943, Allen radioed that the
craft was on fire and he was returning to the field. He never
made it. The airplane crashed into the nearby Frye Packing plant,
killing Allen, ten crewmen and nineteen workers in the factory.