American Air Mail Society Founded 1923

US Government Flights

United States Governmental Flights (1918-1969)

  Patrick A. Walters:  AAMS Life Member

 In 1918 no nation in the world operated a scheduled air mail service, and despite the enthusiasm of many aeronautical promoters and former WWI pilots, no air mail service had ever been financed or conducted with any degree of regularity over a period of time.  In spite of this history, the U. S.  Post Office on February 12, 1918 called for bids to construct and provide five aircraft capable of flying a daily route from Washington, D. – Philadelphia – to-New York.  The War Department (Signal Corps) was given the task of operating the air mail route for one year and would provide the pilots mechanics, and spare parts, and of course the air planes. The Post Office was to be responsible for the air fields, hangars, repair shops, all maintenance, gasoline, lubricants, ground transportation of items to be flown as mail and all pertinent clerical personnel.  The stage was set and the first flights were to be initiated on May 15, 1918.  The Post Office provide new stamps for the occasion.  The rate was 24₵ per ounce or fraction thereof, and the fee included 10₵ for Special Delivery.

From this early first air mail route in 1918, the stage was set for additional routes and for the establishment of expanding air mail service to different population centers in the North East (Boston,) the Mid-West (Chicago) and for cities in the Southern United States (Atlanta and New Orleans). The long-term objective of the Post Office was to eventually provide air mail service to the West Coast (San Francisco) and all major cities in between.  The goal was to provide to air mail customers “speed and dependability” in the same manner for which the Post Office was known.

The American Air Mail Catalogue U.S. Governmental section provides an in-depth history, analysis of rates and routes, and a price guide for all flights.  In addition, there are authentic color reproduction examples of the covers that made each and every documented Government air mail flight.  All cities serviced by Governmental flights from 1918 through the last official Moon Flight (July 20, 1969) are shown and listed. This is the best reference for the air mail collector of United States Governmental Flights and has no equal.


Reference availability: American Air Mail Society P.O. Box 110 Mineola NY 11501-01120 U.S.A.

American Airmail Catalogue, Vol. Three, Seventh Edition. Pages 494-562.

“US Government Flights” overview see