First Air Mail Flight, 1918

First Air Mail Flight 1918 with Woodrow Wilson and pilotsAs easily distracted as I am by ceiling fans and shiny objects, I’ve stopped working on the jester story and have started working on my YA novel about a girl from Nebraska in the 1920s who becomes an air mail pilot, and these videos about the first air mail flight have been amazing.

Have I mentioned how fun research has been for this project?

I heart the Internet. So, so much.

Videos of the First Air Mail Flight…

The YouTube video (the second one) is a slightly cheesy 1976 commemorative version of the first air mail flight that goes through a brief (very brief) history of the air mail, but shows my favorite scene with Woodrow Wilson yukking it up with a pilot. I’ve read so much about this time period that I feel like I should recognize who Wilson is talking to, but I haven’t been able to figure it out yet. I don’t think it’s the sexy beast that is “Wild Bill” Hopson, or the Norwegian Max Miller (who’s a hottie in his own special, slightly goofy way)… Perhaps Major Reuben Fleet?

The best video is the silent one on the Air & Space Smithsonian site. I couldn’t figure out how to embed it here because it’s an odd player. (OK. I’ll be honest. I just didn’t want to spend the time figuring out how to embed it. Or create another dozen accounts in order to do so.) Just go to the link and spend three minutes watching it. Totally worth it.

Never mind! It’s here! Make it full screen to fully enjoy!

Never mind again… They’ve taken it away. Just click on the Air & Space Smithsonian link to view…

What’s also hysterical is the description of how Lieutenant George Boyle took off towards New York with much fanfare and rejoicing…and immediately turned south instead of north. To be fair, compasses didn’t work as well as they should have back then, and he was a rookie who only got the job because his father was someone important. I mean, honestly. The poor kid. How embarrassing. But still.

The mail from New York eventually made it to DC (flown by the more experienced pilot Lieutenant Torrey Webb) and what followed were four of some of the most exciting years I’ve ever read about. You know, the stuff that’s real history and doesn’t have to do with a war, anyway.


Leave a Reply