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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/851

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The Flying Mail-Carrier

An aeroplane to carry mail on the Buzzard's Bay route seems to the Postmaster General to be the solution of a special problem

��THE science of aviation has so far progressed in recent years that now, in the opinion of the Postmaster General and postal authorities, it offers a practical means of carrjing mail. To this end bids have been opened for aeroplane service on seven mail routes in Alaska and one in Massachusetts. These routes were chosen because the need of good facilities for mail communication is imperative and because the difficulties of other means of transportation are serious.

The Massachusetts route is across Buz- zard's Bay and Nantucket Sound. Most of the route lies over water, and the wind velocities average high during the Fall and Winter. At times fog is prevalent. How- ever, if the exacting weather conditions and weight requirements of the route can be met by aerial carriers, it presents an excel- lent opportunity for improved mail service.

Two hours is allowed for the flight from New Bedford to Nantucket, with stops at Woods Hole and Oak Bluffs. It is assumed

��that in actual service the flying mail-carriers could keep this schedule and have nearly an hour to spare. It is a question whether aeroplanes or hydroplanes, which could start and land upon the water, would be more serviceable.

If adopted, the aeroplane service would reach the population of the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. It would supersede serv^ice now performed by steamboat. In summer these islands have a large population, which makes the volume of mail nearly double that of the winter. The first or morning trip in summer necessitates carrj-ing not less than three thousand pounds of mail.

At the starting point. New Bedford, the mail-carrying fliers could start about two and one half miles from the postofifice. At Woods Hole, Oak BlufTs and Nantucket satisfactory landing places could be secured one half mile from the center of town. The distance traveled by aeroplane over the route mapped out would be fifty-six miles.

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��It is fifty-six miles from New Bedford to Nantucket. The Post Office Department allows two hours for the flight by aeroplane, although one hour is said to be sufficient in favorable weather


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