International Aviation Tournament post card
Aviator Earle L. Ovington (1879-1936) flew the first official US airmail on September 23, 1911, at the International Aviation Tournament, held in Garden City, New York, September 23-October 1, 1911. Ovington flew from the airfield and dropped the mail near the post office in Mineola, a distance of about three miles. Awaiting postal officials retrieved the mail sack and then processed the individual items in the usual way. During the tournament, two others also flew mail — T.O.M. Sopwith (1888-1989) and Capt. Paul W. Beck (1876-1922). Mail was flown each day except September 29 and October 1, when poor weather conditions prevented flights. Pieces of mail flown during the event totaled 43,247.
Relatively little mail was flown on September 23, and Ovington flew this card that day. It is, therefore, the first official mail. There was no special airmail rate at the time, and so this card was flown at the regular one-cent postcard rate.