You climb into the cockpit of the new model of the DH-4 mail plane. It boasts a bigger, more reliable engine, special modifications for night flying, and all new instrumentation. The engine starts and you gently taxi toward the field to take-off. The bumps remind you of days long past, when everything was so new....

It all began on May 15, 1918
The momentous day arrives when the airmail service is officially established.

The route for today would be a 204-mile stretch between New York and Washington with a stop in Philadelphia. Days before, the Army delivered Curtiss JN-4H biplanes to fly the course and today, the grass of the Washington Polo Field is full of airplanes. The one that had been selected for today's flight, however, has yet to arrive.

The four men to pilot the trip are:

  • Second Lieutenant George L. Boyle
  • First Lieutenant Torrey Webb
    (New York-Philadelphia)
  • Second Lieutenant James Edgerton
    (Philadelphia-Washington) and
  • First Lieutenant H. Paul Culver
    (Philadelphia-New York)

As expected, the first air mail flight was proving to be a political lightning rod. The attendees at the main airfield, included President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Graham Bell and a few other dignitaries that make the day even more momentous. However, mishaps are on the horizon.