Cachet art sketch for experimental aircraft route 2001
Sketch of cachet art for Experimental Route 2001, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Camden Airport, New Jersey. The art is designed in the shape of a postage stamp. The central image of an autogiro flying over a skyline is labeled “FIRST FLIGHT UNITED STATES AIR MAIL” above the aircraft. Below the aircraft are the words “rotary-wing aircraft” and the route, “PHILADELPHIA, PA – CAMDEN AIRPORT, NJ.” The bottom of the art includes the route designation, “EXPERIMENTAL ROUTE 2001.” A blue pencil marking on one side indicates the height of the image to be 2 ½ inches.
On July 6, 1939, the postal service placed an autogiro aircraft into use flying mail between the Central Airport at Camden, New Jersey to the roof of the main Philadelphia, Pennsylvania post office. On the first day of service, 52,128 first flight covers were cancelled and carried on the flight for philatelists, many of whom paid double the six-cent stamp price to cover postage for a round trip. The Post Office Department made over $3,000 in revenue from the flights. The autogiros were put to use flying airmail in Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. through the 1930s and into the 1940s. The autogiro service was eclipsed and ended by the advent of helicopter airmail service.