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PILOT STORIES: Scott, Paul P.

Air Mail Service Began: May 22, 1920
Air Mail Service Ended: August 30, 1920
Pilot Rehired: September 18, 1920
Air Mail Service Ended: June 30, 1926
Total Hours Flown: as of December 31, 1924 -2076.00
Total Miles Flown: as of December 31, 1924 - 190,041
Assignments: College Park, Maryland
  August 16, 1920 – Chicago
  September 18, 1920 – College Park
  June 1, 1921 – Salt Lake City

Paul Scott began his Air Mail Service career as a pilot and traded it in for a management position. As a pilot, Scott had his share of forced landings and run-ins with his bosses.

Scott experienced a close call on August 2, 1924 when his radiator exploded while he was flying over the Great Salt Lake on route to Salt Lake City from Elko, Nevada. While he was landing, the motor caught fire. Scott managed to hold the fire down with his hand extinguisher. He pulled the mail out of the airplane as the wings caught fire, dragging it to about 50 feet away from the airplane. Suddenly the gas tank exploded before he could get it further away from the airplane and both the machine and the mail were consumed by fire. Scott escaped with slight skin burns.

He would have another close call as an airmail pilot. Later that year, On December 29 of that same year, Scott was flying his route from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Reno, Nevada, when he crashed on a mountain. According to a report he filed on the flight, Scott "encountered snow and mist, visibility very poor as far as Silver Zone Pass. Weather cleared at Shafter excepting ground fog banks to north, west and south. Headed south to go around mountain range when noticed small hole between fog bank and clouds, thru Saddle Pass on regular course. The lowest part of saddle is about three hundred feet wide and can be cleared at seventy-two hundred feet. Each side of saddle the altitude of range is about eighty five hundred. No part of the mountain range was visible. Had proceeded thru hole, altimeter registering 7600 feet, to what I thought to be half way thru when hole closed up in front. Banked airplane and was turning to come out when fog closed in behind me, visibility now being not over twenty feet. No sooner had I leveled airplane off and started climbing than I saw I was scraping tops off cedar trees. Pulled throttle and stick back together and crashed on slope of saddle about 6200 feet. When I regained consciousness, my face was buried in snow and I was groping for switches with right hand, left arm and hand being numb and useless. Could not locate switches so unfastened belt and dug snow enough to pull myself from under, convenient cedar limb being handy.

Did you know?"airplane was completely washed out. Noticed left shoulder out of place, and arm freezing rapidly. Notice had cigarettes and matches; noticed had left gun in Salt Lake; noticed heavy fog with no sun visible to get bearings; noticed I was extremely lucky to be able to notice anything at all."

"Started down mountain side to what I thought to be general direction of road through saddle. Snow deep and mountain steep, walking difficult. Slipped on some shale rock, striking left shoulder and knocking it back into place. Rubbed left arm and hand with snow until it thawed out and felt normal. Walked down to road. Visibility better at low altitude. Walked to railroad tracks and flagged passenger train. Sent wire from Wells, Nevada, first stop."

The year before his accidents, Scott had been reprimanded by A. C. Nelson, Superintendent of the Western Division, for flying low while over the city of Elko, Nevada "on several occasions." Scott was one of several pilots who enjoyed "buzzing" cities and towns when possible, much to the chagrin of the postal service.

Telegram regarding 1922 crash  
  Paul Scott
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Telegram regarding 1922 crash

(bottom right) Scott
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