The original contract airmail routes, commonly known as CAMs, were determined by postal officials and let to bidders. The first five CAM routes were contracted in 1925 to Colonial Air Transport, Inc. (Boston to New York); Robertson Aircraft Corp. (Chicago to St. Louis); National Air Transport, Inc. (Chicago to Dallas); Western Air Express, Inc. (Salt Lake City to Los Angeles); and Walter T. Varney (Elko, Nevada, to Pasco, Washington). Contracted airmail service proceeded slowly over the next couple of years. The U.S. Air Mail Service retained control of the transcontinental New York – San Francisco route making its last flight on that route September 9, 1927.
The Museum has a wide selection of CAM covers in its collection.
Envelope commemorating the first flight of the Seattle-Los Angeles route on September 15, 1926.
This envelope was carried on the June 7, 1926 first contract airmail flight between Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
Contract fliers carried the mail, including this envelope, for the first time between Boston, Massachusetts and New York City on July 1, 1926. This route had been tried as a temporary airmail route under the direction of the U.S. Postal Service's Air Mail Service, but was canceled.
Envelope commemorating the first flight of the Chicago - St. Louis contract airmail route on April 15, 1926.
Contract airmail pilots flew the mail, including this envelope, for the first time on the Elko, Nevada to Pasco, Washington route on April 6, 1926.
This envelope was one of hundreds flown by contract airmail pilots on the Chicago, Illinois - Cleveland, Ohio airmail route on February 15, 1926.