Historic Biplanes Recreate First Airmail Flight

Only seven of the original 41 Stearman Speedmail aircraft are still flying.

The route recreation was carried out in three Stearman Speedmail aircraft.Ageless Aviation

Unless you’re a stamp collector, word that the U.S. Postal Service recently began selling stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first scheduled airmail service in the United States might well have flown right past you.

On Sunday morning however, the anniversary took on new life when Darryl Fisher, founder of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, and two other pilots began retracing an early airmail route between San Diego and Seattle. The six-day tour began from Gillespie Field (SEE) on the south end with a flight of three Stearman Speedmail bi-planes like those used in the early days of airmail service. Of the 41 Speedmail aircraft built, only seven are still flying.

This historic flight can be followed live online.C.A.M.

After departing from Gillespie Field on Sunday, the flight of three aircraft stopped in Los Angeles, before heading on to Bakersfield and an overnight stop in Fresno. Between Tuesday and Friday, the flight also stopped in Concord and Redding California before continuing north with stops at Medford, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington before reaching their final destination, Seattle’s Paine Field (PAE) late Friday afternoon. Combined, the tour is expected to take about 12 hours of flying time to complete. At each mail stop, a USPS portable post office is set up to sell historic covers and commemorative stamps.

History buffs can track the remaining elements of the flight live. Crewmembers for the commemorative flight include Addison Pemberton, Ben Scott, Jeff Hamilton, Larry Harmacinski, Ilse Harmacinski, Darryl Fischer, Jay Pemberton and Katie LeFriec.