Flying the Mail in Upstate New-York
For the second year, the 1941 Historical Aviation Airshow, which takes place every year on a little private strip carved out of corn fields in Geneseo, New York, has been extended to include a Biplane Rally, dubbed “Olde Aerodrome Days”. Starting on Saturday, July 5th, the week long event, marred by very capricious weather and the escalating price of AvGas, did not reach its full potential, but still delivered some very good surprises. Geneseo was on the shortlist of locations commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Air Mail. To re-create the Air Mail routes, three scheduled flights departed the airfield (Aerodrome Station No. 1, Zip code 14454) to reach Rochester (Station No. 2, Zip 14692), Niagara Falls (Station No. 3, Zip 14302) and Buffalo (Station No.4, Zip 14240) on July 10 -the July 9 flights being cancelled for weather related reasons- carrying the mail to these stations to be cancelled and brought back to Geneseo, where they will be distributed to the collectors having reserved these sets of envelopes.A special cancellation has been designed by aviation artist and event co-ordinator Frank Shaufler, which has been approved by the US postal Service. Collectors, be advised that a limited-edition of 1000 sets of four envelopes actually flown during the Air Mail re-enactment are for sale on the 1941HAG web site at 1941hag.o
Three very rare airplanes -and their pilots, duly sworn in- assumed the duty of legal airmail carriers during these flights: 1931 Pitcairn PA-8 N10753 (c/n 164) of the Woodlands Toy Store of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, flown by Chris Polhemus, 1929 Pitcairn PA-6 N548K (c/n 48) owned and flown by George Jenkins of St Davis, Pennsylvania, and 1931 Stearman 4E N488W (c/n 4036) owned by Todd Stuart of Key West, Florida, flown by Fred Cabanas. These three planes were the main attraction of the rally, and most certainly will not be seen together in the same corner of the sky any time soon. Two of these extraordinary machines will be featured in an upcoming issue.
By Gilles Auliard