Photograph of airmail pilot Charles Ames
Charles Ames had over 700 flight hours before signing on with the Air Mail Service on December 8, 1920. Ames flew mail out of Hazelhurst Field, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio. On October 1, 1925, Ames disappeared from sight in the mountains near Bellefonte, Pennsylvania while flying a de Havilland airplane on his portion of the Cleveland to New York run. Dozens of groups worked to find Ames over the next several days, including National Guard troops. The 32-year old pilot was finally found in the wreckage of his airplane, where he had died on impact.
Ames had taken off at 9:40 p.m. from Hadley Field in New Brunswick, New Jersey for the regular night flight to Bellefonte. The watchman at the Hartleton, Pennsylvania, an emergency airmail landing field twenty miles east of Bellefonte, reported he heard the airplane flying overhead 11:35 that night. That was the last report of Ames and his airplane before the crash. The search for Ames and his airplane took several days and was the focus of attention across the northeast. Ames' body was found on October 11, still strapped inside his downed airplane. He had crashed through trees into the north side of a ridge in the Nittany mountains. Ames had apparently been flying low, possibly becoming lost in a dense fog. Ames appeared to have been killed instantly on impact. The airplanes' wings had been destroyed when the airplane crashed into the trees. The trees were so close that they covered the ship, making it almost impossible to locate.
National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection