Airway route map of U.S.
This 1930s map illustrates airmail routes, marked in bold red stripes. The routes span the United States and reach into Canada and Cuba. The map was presented by Henry Woodhouse, a colorful figure in early aviation history, to Benjamin B. Lipsner. Lipsner had served in the U.S. Army, where he reached the rank of captain. He assisted Major Reuben Fleet with the organization of the first regularly scheduled airmail service in May 1918. When the Post Office Department took full control in August 1918, Lisper resigned from the army and was named first superintendent of the airmail service.
The flyways indicated on the map include the Woodrow Wilson airway, the original transcontinental U.S. flyway. Other airways marked on the map include: Langley, Rodgers, Chanute & Bell, All Red, Wright Brothers, Gulf, Pacific, Atlantic, Sunset, Winnipeg-Louisiana, and St. Louis-South Western.
Woodhouse inscribed the map, “This map will remind you of the pioneer days when you, as First Superintendent of the air mail, made us pay $2000 to cover the expenses of the first air mail from New York to Chicago, September 5th, 1918.” Woodhouse was referring to the New York–Chicago pathfinding flights organized by the Post Office Department and flown September 5-10, 1918. The flights helped the Department find the best airmail route between the nation’s two largest commercial centers. At the time, Woodhouse was a member of the Aero Club of America, a national group organized to support and promote aviation. The Aero Club of America helped cover some of the expenses incurred by airmail pilots Eddie Gardner and Max Miller, including airplane repair, during the flights.