Standard Aircraft JR-1B airplane in hanger
One of the official publicity photographs of the JR-1B. Taken at the Standard Aircraft factory, it shows JR-1B #1 fresh off the line.

The JR-1B was the first airplane used by the Post Office Department’s Airmail Service. Purchased from the Standard Aircraft Corporation in ceremony and fanfare on August 6th, 1918, the six new airplanes were brought out and demonstrated, and the whole affair was hailed as a first step in commercial aviation.

Unfortunately, those six JR-1Bs would be the only ones that the Post Office Department would buy. Designed as a workhorse, of flying at speeds of greater than 100 miles per hour with a 150 HP Hispano-Suiza engine, the Standard was an excellent plane, and the favorite of Eddie Gardner.

Unfortunately, the end of the First World War would become the plane’s demise. At the conclusion of the war, the Airmail Service was inundated with free war surplus DH-4s, which eventually led to the DH-4B becoming the standard-issue airplane of the Airmail Service.