Club Meetings

Omaha Westside Kiwanis ZOOM Meeting August 12, 2020

Vern Waldren set up the Zoom Meeting. David Huelsman guided us through it in Vern’s absence. Other attendees were [ # of Happy Bucks...

in ( ) ]: Presiding President Frank Frerich (3), Barbara St.John, Linda Jones, JoAnn Feller (5), Glen Fineman (2) and John Seigel (2). Ralph Peppard followed the conversation by sound, for a total of 8 members.

Today’s Speaker: Frank Frerich introduced William (Bill) Moore, who used his free time after his retirement to research the early developments of airmail in the US. He shared how pilots got lost often, as they had few navigational tools except for a compass and landmarks, such as visually following a railroad line. It began in 1918 from Washington, DC to New York City with a stop-over in Philadelphia. It eventually expanded from New York City to San Francisco first from September 8 to 12, 1920 in 15 segments including a stop-over in Omaha in the location of current Aksarben Village near Pacific Street. (Don’t try to land there now). It included four over-night stays including in Cheyenne, WY. Bill shared that several pilots were killed in crashes and that the Federal Government took the responsibility of airmail away from the US Postal Service in 1927 to turn it over to the then developing commercial airlines, which still transport it today. Bill is assembling pilots to fly each segment (Virus permitting) in more modern small airplanes with commemorating postcards mailed by Boy Scout Groups from each stop-over exactly 100 years after the original flights. You can watch a birds-eye view of the flights, as pilots would have seen it in 1920 (with today’s infrastructure and buildings), at www.airmail100.com. The Omaha stop-over is planned for the Millard Airport.

As we take commercial flight and airmail for granted today, it was very interesting to me (a former glider pilot) how this started merely 100 years ago, when my parents were toddlers. What should we anticipate to be developed in the next 100 years?

Submitted by John Seigel

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