Arago: Contractors


Cachet art proof for experimental helicopter service


This is a proof for the cachet art used on covers carried on the July 8, 1946, inaugural flight of helicopter airmail service in Los Angeles, California. The cachet features the words 'U.S. AIR MAIL, LOS ANGELES AREA' above the sketch of a helicopter and the words 'EXPERIMENTAL HELICOPTER SERVICE' below. This image was created for use on envelopes carried on the experimental helicopter airmail service flights made on July 8, 1946. The final cachet color was blue.

The Civil Aviation Board approved the first use of helicopters for mail transportation in 1947. The first route was given to Los Angeles, where the helicopter service was tested in 1946. The experimental service carried mail from Los Angeles’ Lockheed Air Terminal to the roof of the Post Office Department’s Terminal Annex post office. The helicopter made the trip in 11 minutes, with loads of 400-450 pounds of mail in each of eight daily round trips. The service was conducted with the cooperation of the Army Air forces, using six helicopters of the 62-11 Detachment of the 62nd Army Air Force Base Unit that was stationed at March Field.


Los Angeles Times, July 20, 1946

Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1946

American Air Mail Society, A Reference Listing of the Airposts of the World, American Airmail Catalog, 6th edition. Mineola, New York, Volume 1, 1974.

U.S. Air Mail / Los Angeles / Area / Experimental / Helicopter Service
paper; ink
7.7 x 7.7 cm (3 1/16 x 3 1/16 in.)
Museum ID:

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