web-catalog        CAM Contract Air Mail First Flights CAM-23


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Page ccCAM023 (Revised 11/04/2007)

Background: The Air Mail Act of 1925 (Kelly Act) authorized the postmaster general to contract for domestic airmail service with commercial air carriers. It also set airmail rates and the level of cash subsidies to be paid to companies that carried the mail. By transferring airmail operations to private companies, the government effectively would help create the commercial aviation industry. Various routes were designated and contracts for carrying the mail over these routes were then awarded to many different private air service companies. The Contract Air Mail routes became known as CAM's.

CAM-23: CAM-23 was awarded to St Tammany-Gulf Coast Airways. ST-GCA was incorporated in New Orleans and started operations between Atlanta GA and New Orleans LA on August 20, 1927. In 1928, Gulf Coast became Gulf Air Lines and added service to Houston. On May 1, 1928 the first plane left Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta on its inaugural flight to Alvin Callender Airfield in Belle Chasse, New Orleans LA. In 1929 Gulf was acquired as a subsidiary of Southern Air Transport/Aviation Corporation (AVCO) eventually becoming part of American Airlines.
        American had developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines companies through a series of corporate acquisitions and reorganizations. On January 25, 1930 American Airways was incorporated as a single company. Postal mail covers carried on the inaugural flight between each point of landing and take-off are collectible and are known as CAM-23 covers.
        St Tammany-Gulf Coast Airways mainly used Fokker Super Universal aircraft to fly the mail/passengers.

23S1 280501 Atlanta GA ST-GCA Vivian M Jones & HT Merrill $7.50
23S1F 280501 Atlanta GA ST-GCA Vivian M Jones & HT Merrill $22.50
23S2 280501 Birmingham AL ST-GCA Vivian M Jones & HT Merrill $18.00
23S3 280501 Mobile AL ST-GCA Vivian M Jones & HT Merrill $18.75
23N4 280501 New Orleans LA ST-GCA William N DeWald $7.50
23N3 280501 Mobile AL ST-GCA William N DeWald $9.00
23N2 280501 Birmingham AL ST-GCA William N DeWald $9.00

23SW5 320215 Atlanta GA AA AR Perkins $18.75
23SW5F 320215 Atlanta GA AA AR Perkins $22.50
23SW6 320215 Montgomery AL AA AR Perkins $18.75
23NE7 320215 Mobile AL AA BA Carpenter $26.25
23NE6 320215 Montgomery AL AA BA Carpenter $4.50

CAM-23: On February 9, 1934 the Post Office Department canceled all contracts of operators flying mail on routes within the US to become effective on February 19, 1934. The reason given by the Post Office was that there was suspicion that the mail carrying contracts had been awarded through collusion during the previous Administration.
        Cancellation of the air mail contracts held by established pioneer airline companies was accompanied by an executive order from President Franklin D Roosevelt stating that the Army Air Corps should now carry the mail. Three territorial zones were established for the Air Corps mail operations, Newark NJ, Chicago IL and Salt Lake City UT. The eastern, central and western zones each had branch routes to other feeder cities. It was a difficult assignment for the Army Air Corps as they did not have enough planes and the ones they had, did not have the latest instruments, landing, navigation, or cockpit lights. One of the aircraft they used was the Keystone B-4 bi-plane.
Army Air Corps

        New commercial air mail carrying contracts were made in May 1934 and the mail was again flown by private contractors over re-designated revised Post Office Department routes in late June 1934.

CAM-23: After the February 1934 cancellation and reinstatement of new commercial air mail carrying contracts over re-designed revised Post Office routes in late June 1934, North American Aviation was awarded the CAM-23 air mail routes.
        In 1925 Clement Keys, former wall Street Journal financial editor, formed North American Aviation. This organization was created to provide financing and inspiration for the development of a vast interwoven network of airlines, manufacturers, insurance and other aviation services. North American obtained control of National Air Transport on May 21, 1925, founded Transcontinental Air Transport on May 16, 1928, purchased Pitcairn Aviation in early 1929 and invested in Maddux and Varney Air Lines. North American continued in its quest gaining control of TWA, Eastern Air Transport and Western Air Express.
        Keys North American industrial empire was sold to General Motors in 1933. GM consolidated and dispersed various airline assets and in 1934 the airline industry was reorganized with the emergence of the "big-four airlines - Eastern, United, TWA and American. Manufacturing aircraft and operating airline relationships had been separated. President Roosevelt's actions revealed that only large companies, with substantial financial resources and years of experience in all aspects of airline operations could be given the responsibility of running the trunk airline industry of the US.
        Eastern Air Transport had been reorganized on April 13, 1934 becoming Eastern Air Lines. Amongst a fleet of several different types of aircraft, EAL used Lockheed Model 10B Electras to carry passengers/cargo and mail.

23S7 340528 Birmingham AL EAL Shelby Charles $37.50
23N8 340528 Montgomery AL EAL Walter J Shaffer $37.50

Douglas DC-3
23S9 440801 Atlanta GA EAL CD Worthen $19.50
23S9f 440801 Atlanta GA EAL CD Worthen $3.75
23S10 440801 Columbus GA EAL CD Worthen $4.50
23N11 440801 Montgomery AL EAL JH Brown $16.50
23N10 440801 Columbus GA EAL JH Brown $5.25

23E12 470929 Pensacola FL EAL JT Robertson $2.25
23W12 470929 Pensacola FL EAL James W Furlow $6.00

23E13 480425 Dothan AL EAL DW Brack $9.00
23W13 480425 Dothan AL EAL RL Williamson $9.00

INDEX: First Flights by CAM Route #

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

INDEX: First Flights by AM Route #

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

INDEX: First Flights by Experimental Route #

1001 1002

INDEX: First Flights by AM Route #

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65
66 67 68 69 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 84
86 87 88 90 91 93 94 96 97 98 99 100 101 103 105
106 107 111 119 120 121 139 140 141 143 144 148 172

INDEX: First Flights by Air Taxi Services Route #

288 289 290 291 292 293 295 296 297 298

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