Photograph of airmail pilot Paul Collins and bag of first overnight airmail
Airmail pilot Paul S. Collins watches as employees remove a bag of mail from his airplane at Hadley Field, New Jersey on the evening of July 1, 1925. This mail was part of a series of flights carrying mail along the US transcontinental flyway by night. The Post Office Department had been flying mail across the country by day since September 8, 1920. But it was not until beacon lights were installed along the route that the airmail planes would fly on a regular schedule during day and night. Night flights were a critical step in the evolution of airmail service, as mail flown only by day traveled only slightly faster than mail carried by rail. Collins flew the first regularly scheduled night mail into Hadley Field from Cleveland, Ohio.
National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection