National Postal Museum logo
Top Image
Pilot StoriesHistoric PlanesAirmail Creates an IndustryObject ShowcaseHistory TimelineActivity ZoneFlight School
The Army Pilots
No Old, Bold, Pilots
>> The First Four
>> They Died Flying the Mail
>> Rest of the Best
Tales from 5000 ft.
Contract Pilots
Mail by Female
Pilot's Gear

PILOT STORIES: Lewis, William E.*

Air Mail Service Began: January 3, 1921
Air Mail Service Ended: February 22, 1921
Assignment: Reno

William Lewis' airmail career is a tragic tale. On February 22, 1921, he took part in the historic first day and night cross-country airmail flights. Lewis had been an Air Mail Service pilot for just over a month when he was given the honor of flying the mail between Elko, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lewis took off at 9:38 a.m. His de Havilland aircraft stalled at 500 feet during takeoff, before plummeting to the ground, killing Lewis instantly. He had just rented an apartment in Elko, where he planned to move after his marriage the next month to a young woman from San Francisco.

A clipping from the New York Times describing William E. Lewis' tragic airplane crash.  
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Newspaper clipping on accident
View Our Collection
Postal Museum | Smithsonian | Privacy | Terms of Use | Site MapBottom Navigation
Top of page link to homepage