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Postcard Flown & Signed By James Doolittle during the "George Washington Bicentennial Airplane Flight"


After inventing instrument flying in 1929, and being the first to perform an 'outside loop' in 1927, and convincing the Shell Oil Company to produce the first quantities of 100 octane aviation gasoline, James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle could have retired a legend in the field of aviation.  But with passion for flight, he wanted everyone to see the wonders of the Golden Age of Aviation, and share it publicily, via as many ways as possible.

In an letter included in most of the covers flown on the flight, Doolittle wrote the following:

"One hundred and fifty-seven years ago this week, the Continental Congress inaugurated the postal service...[which] later became the Post Office Department of the United States. Benjamin Franklin became the first director. Mail, at that time, was carried by post riders and stage coaches. No one in the early days of the service had a more appreciative understanding of the advantages of a postal service than George Washington. No one did more to give it a firm foundation. In this Bicentennial Year of George Washington's birth it therefore seems appropriate that a demonstration be made of the advance of transportation facilities since those early days. I am making a flight over as many of the routes traveled by George Washington as is possible in a single day from dawn to dusk. I am informed that the average speed made by George Washington may be considered to be about twenty miles a day. The advance since then can best be indicated by the fact that it is hoped to cover in each hour the distance it took Washington nine days to travel. So that you will have a record of this flight, I am dropping several of these letters as I pass over certain cities.'"

Afterwards,  Jimmy Doolittle and the "Shellightning" set several long distance records, all the while promoting Shell Oil products. Shell wouldn't sell the airplane, but Paul Mantz later purchased it and flew it in the 1938 and 1939 Bendix races. Still later, SwissAir obtained the plane, had it restored in the colors of one of their original "Red Dogs," donating it to the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, Switzerland.  Doolittle himself... well, after the start of World War II, he decided to fly to Japan, and rest is history.

The postcard was postmarked in Washington DC on July 25, 1932



Polar Sea on a nice sunny day.

 Cover Flown Aboard A Helicopter Flight From the Coast Guard Ice Breaker "Polar Sea", WAGB-11

Coast Guard flag

Every year since 1955, the United States has maintained a naval presence in the world's two polar regions.

Rear Admiral Theodore Wojnar served as the Thirteen District Commander from April 1986 to July 1988.















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This page last updated Thursday, January 04, 2018

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