How America’s Aviation Industry Got Its Start Transporting Mail

The American aviation industry started in the early 1920se century not by transporting people, but by moving American mail. At first, airmail pilots flew in fragile open-cockpit planes through all manner of weather conditions – an experience that ranged from often heartbreaking to sometimes fatal. As routes widened, airports proliferated, and safer and more reliable planes were developed, the commercial airline industry emerged, initially grafting onto air travel. The first passengers unceremoniously used mail bags as seats.

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