Photograph of airmail pilot William Fillmore
William E. Fillmore had a short career as a Post Office Department pilot, flying the mail for nine short weeks, from August 6 to October 4, 1919. Fillmore was based in College Park, Maryland and Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. On September 4, 1919 he had a rough landing in Harrisville, Pennsylvania in airmail ship #91. In his forced landing report, he noted that "owing to rain and poor visibility had not been able to check up any landmarks coming to the mountainous country and poor visibility, I decided it was best not to keep aimlessly on, but to pick a good field, and get my bearings. I looked all available landing fields over thoroughly, finally selected a very good field, flew low over it and back again and made good landing. It had been raining and one of the tires blew, letting the wheel sink to the axle, causing the ship to go up on its nose, damaging propeller and radiator." Fillmore and airmail flying were not meant for each other. Seven days later, he had another forced landing, this time at the Cleveland, Ohio mail airfield. He was trying to race a storm, but failed. Engulfed by clouds so dark he could "plainly see the flames from the exhaust," Fillmore barely made his way to the field, landing roughly and damaging another aircraft on landing.
National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection