Airline Expansion and Innovation(1927 - 1941)

A Daring Demonstration

First Coast to Coast Air Mail Flight
National Air and Space Museum

On February 22, 1921, four air mail flights set out to prove the mail could be flown coast to coast in record time by flying day and night.

The going proved rough. One pilot died in a crash. Treacherous weather stopped others. But the fourth flight got through, making it from San Francisco to New York in 33 hours and 20 minutes-a distance that took 4½ days by train and 3 days by air/rail (flown by day and shipped by train at night).

Within three years, mail was being flown across the country by day and night in only 29 hours.

Jack Knight Telegram
National Air and Space Museum Archives

Knight's Telegram

This is the telegram Jack Knight sent to the Post Office relating his experience. How would you describe his flight based on his description? Knight had not flown this route before. What tools did he use to stay on course

Jack Knight
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Frank Yager
National Air and Space Museum Archives

Frank R. Yager, one of 14 pilots who flew the various legs of the four flights.