Airline Expansion and Innovation(1927 - 1941)

Activity

Screen shot of Pilot's Personality

Pilot's Personality


Activity

Screen shot of Well-Dressed Pilot

Well-Dressed Pilot

Wild Bill

"I have heard numerous reports of your stunting mail ships.... This is absolutely against regulations and further actions of the kind will merit disciplinary action."
-Superintendent D. B. Colyer scolding Wild Bill on his wild ways with an air mail airplane

Wild Bill
National Air and Space Museum Archives

Wild Bill

Wild Bill flew the mail for eight years in the 1920s. He earned his nickname by breaking speed records and damaging airplanes.  He was popular with other pilots but regularly scolded by his supervisors!

He died in 1928 when his airplane crashed on the New York to Chicago route. He was carrying a thousand pounds of mail, including a large shipment of diamonds. Only 10 pounds of mail were saved from the plane's wreckage, but the diamonds disappeared.

Air Mail Bag
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Air Mail Bag

Early air mail was placed in heavy canvas bags and carried inside a special compartment in front of the pilot on most mail planes.