1993 Fleetwood Postcard Honors First Airmail Flights And Opening Of National Postal Museum
On May 15, 1918, U.S. Army pilots, flying Curtiss JN4Hs – biplanes that are affectionately known as “Jennies” – made postal history by flying the first U.S. airmail route. Lt. Torrey Webb took off from a makeshift airfield at New York’s Belmont Park race track bound for Philadelphia. Meanwhile, at Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson were among the spectators eagerly awaiting the simultaneous takeoff of another Jenny. For more than 20 minutes, Pilot George L. Boyle futilely attempted to start the plane’s engine. Just as the president was about to leave, a voice from the crowd cried “gasoline!” The crew quickly realized they had neglected to fill the aircraft's gas tanks. One the situation was rectified, Boyle was finally airborne. Unfortunately, misfortune struck again. The misguided pilot lost his bearings and, in an effort to seek help, wrecked the Jenny by attempting to land on a country road. However, another flyer completed Boyle’s mission, and the first day of airmail service was considered a success. Over the next few years, planes became better adapted to their tasks. Before airfields and aircraft were equipped with adequate illumination, mail had been forwarded by rail during the evening hours. The advent of night flying in 1923, however, made airmail delivery even more efficient.
The stamp on this First Edition Proofcard – US #2781
– displays an image of Charles A. Lindbergh, the most famous of all airmail pilots. In 1927, his historic nonstop flight from New York to Paris not only spurred the public’s interest in aviation but in airmail as well.
About Fleetwood Proofcards
Often called the ultimate philatelic issue, the Fleetwood Proofcard is a distinctive commemorative with an elegantly embossed surface. Each Proofcard bears an original work of art complementing the theme of the stamp and created exclusively for Fleetwood by a leading American artist. Proofcards are often collected on their own, but would also make a beautiful addition to your existing stamp or cover collection.