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The Effects of Air Commerce to the Aviation Industry from 1918-1930

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            Aviation was quite a small industry during the early twentieth century. After the Wright brothers had discovered the idea of flying, many companies had ventured into creating a flying machine which could fly higher and travel faster. Although, many of these companies had succeeded, the purpose of flying had not been for commercial purposes as to transporting people or goods. The main purpose of these airplanes was for military espionage and assault. During World War I, the world had witnessed small and fragile airplanes flying in the air and dropping small bombs to enemy trenches and batteries. However, enemy countries also had their planes and the war progressed into an airplane versus airplane war.

            However, after the war, there had been many airplanes that had survived and remained. The governments of different countries had been in deep thought of what would become of these remaining planes. The French and the British governments had collaborated with private companies in order to form national airlines that would convert fighter planes into civilian use. However, the United States government had been innovative and had thought that the progressing plane industry might be serviceable for carrying mails. In 1917, the Congress had employed a hundred thousand dollars to promote an experimental air mail service. Mails usually were delivered by trains traveling coast to coast but for the fist time in May 14, 1919, mails had been delivered through airplane from Philadelphia to Washington. Then, the US Post Office had expanded it with new routes from Chicago and Cleveland. However, the pilots were unable to fly at night. Yet, the US Army had constructed rotating beacons which guided the journey of the pilots at night.  The first beacons were constructed in Dayton and Columbus. However, the increase in budget had made it possible for Chicago and Cheyenne to have also those beacons making it possible for a coast to coast trip.

            However, the mails were flown by different airlines and had been delivering an average of fourteen million letters each year. However, the United States government had seen these to be very disorganized and inefficient. Therefore, the United States government had only appointed three major airlines to carry the mails.

 In addition to, in 1926, the Morrow Board had been created through the efforts of President Calvin Coolidge. The Morrow board with Charles Lindbergh’s father in law as chairman had enacted the national aviation policy which will govern the military and civil aviations. Then, in 1926, the Air Commerce Act had been enacted by the board which would dictate the rules for the training and licensing of pilots; for the registration of planes; and will investigate airplane accidents.

However, during the 1920s, the airmail was not the just the prominent innovation in the aircraft industry. However, many people had viewed the possibility – if an aircraft could carry mail – of the aircraft as a means of transportations. This assumption had been generated when they people had seen the successful transatlantic crossing by plane of Charles Lindberg. Charles Lindbergh had crossed the Atlantic non stop in the period of  thirty three and half an hour flight from New York to Paris in his monoplane – the Spirit of St. Louis. Many people had seen the effectiveness of air transport through air planes and this had boosted the manufacture and sale of monoplanes and biplanes.

However, mass transport and commercial flights were not yet in concept until one of the pioneer automobile manufacturers had engaged himself in the transport of mails. Henry Ford and his company had created the Tin Goose which embodied the first commercial aircraft. The Tin Goose was created with a very durable and light weight material called the duraluminum. The Ford plane was twelve-seater and had stewardess which could walk on its narrow aisle and attend to the passengers. This was the first manifestation that brought the attention of the public to the possibility of commercial air transportation.

However, there were many controversies that had been faced by the government because of air transportation. One of these was the Watres Act which compelled the United States government to further improved the airmail service by appointing only few airline companies to handle the mail business. However, these brought a lot of controversies, citing dirty biddings and deals, which gave birth to the Air Mail Act of 1932, which handled the industry to private airline companies, and the government had served only as its regulator.

Nonetheless, the industry had improved so far that many aircraft companies had been successful in creating big and durable aircrafts which could carry passengers. Yet one of the events which challenged the aircraft companies was the accident in 1931 which killed six Notre Dame Football players and their coach. Because of this, aircraft companies had further secured their crafts by using innovations and technology like reducing the weight of the plane and providing modern cock pit instruments. Meanwhile, this also led to the establishment of air traffic controls and vast airports in many countries. Consequently, the development of aviation in the 1930s had given birth to our modern air transportation.


Bilstein, R.E. (2001). Flight in America, Third Edition. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Koop, M. (1997). Airline growth. Aviation Resource Center. Retrieved, May 22, 2008 from the world wide web, http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/4294/history/1920_1935.html

Mc Curdy, H.E. (1999). Space and the American imagination. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute,

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