Hydro-aeroplane flight postal card
Pilot Alfred J. Engel made several flights, known as the “Experimental Hydro-Plane Mail Service,” in his Curtiss hydroplane between July 4 and September 7, 1914, traveling to four cities on Chautauqua Lake. The Post Office Department issued a blanket order permitting exchange of postcards only by air as often as practicable. It had authorized the service as Route No. 607,004.
Although the POD had authorized mail flights to begin on May 30, local news reports noted that flights began on July 4. No mail prior to this date is known. Even though the service was authorized for postcards only, at least one cover is known. It is believed that Engel carried the cover as a favor to the addressee, collector Harry Truby.
Officials applied two types of cachets. Type 1 cachet was used only on July 4; Type 2 was applied on all other days. Cards exist without the cachet.
John G. Morgan, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, received this card, mailed from Bemus Point, New York, on July 16, 1914. Postal officials canceled it that day at 6 p.m. with a black, circular postmark. The card bears a two-line, magenta cachet in the upper left hand corner – “VIA US AEROPLANE MAIL / ROUTE No. 607004.”