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PILOT STORIES: Riddick, Merrill K.

Air Mail Service Began: June 21, 1919
Air Mail Service Ends: September 8, 1919
Pilot Rehired: November 20, 1919
Air Mail Service Ends: March 15, 1920
Assignments: Belmont Park, New York
  Nov 20, 1919 – College Park, Maryland
  Feb 3, 1920 – Chicago, Illinois
  Feb 16, 1920 – Iowa City

On January 14, 1920, flying a Curtiss R aircraft, Merrill Riddick landed at Dundak Field, Baltimore, Maryland, on his way to New York City from College Park. It had been very stormy when he left College Park, "and on the other side of Camp Meade wind got worse until I could hardly handle the ship. I could not get much altitude Did you know?because of the bumps and side slips. The wind put me into the wind, would put the ship in 90° banks and several times into the first throw of a spin. It kept me working continually and finally my hands got tired from holding the wheel so I could hardly grip it anymore. At this time I was at 500 feet and landed in Baltimore. . . . I got two men to hold the ship. They kept it from turning over, but when I got back wind had blown it 200 yards backwards, damaging the tail skid, rudder and elevation." Riddick got soldiers from a local post to help him move it to place where stakes could be driven into the frozen ground and hold the airplane secure.

On March 15, 1920, Riddick offered his resignation to Chief of Flying James C. Edgerton. He said the resignation was regretful, but that he wanted to get in on a big oil boom in Montana.

Note from Riddick  
   
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Note from Riddick
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