E198 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—Extensions of Remarks February 10, 2011
COMMEMORATING THE CENTENNIAL OF THE WORLD’S FIRST AIRMAIL DELIVERY
HON. LYNN C. WOOLSEY OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first official airmail delivery, completed by Fred Wiseman on February 17–18, 1911. The private airman’s pioneering voyage took him from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, California, a distance of only 14 miles, but a momentous step forward in the history of aviation and the United States Postal Service.
Wiseman was born on a ranch in rural Sonoma County on November 10, 1875, and he grew up fascinated by the mechanics of transportation—bicycles, racecars, and of course airplanes. In the spring of 1910, less
than seven years after the Wright Brothers built the world’s first successful airplane, one of Wiseman’s own projects was already taking to the air. The Wiseman-Peters, as his final pusher biplane design was eventually known, was a local collaboration between Wiseman and a group of fellow aviation aficionados, as well as one of the first planes built in California to fly.
Throughout 1910 and early 1911, Wiseman practiced his flying, even taking part in an early 1911 air race in San Francisco. Then, on February 17, 1911, Wiseman loaded his plane with three letters, 50 copies of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and a bag of groceries, and he set out on his flight across Sonoma County. Total flight time was less than 20 minutes, but the journey included two forced landings and ultimately spanned two days. Wiseman’s plane flew roughly 100 feet off the ground, reportedly at speeds of up to 70 mph.
Although Wiseman did not continue making airmail deliveries, he did go on to fly in several other air shows in 1911, and his Wiseman-Peters would be redesigned for use in future exhibition flights. In September 1911, the U.S. Postal Service would eventually hire its first official airmail pilot in New York.
Mr. Speaker, I ask you to join me in celebrating the centennial of the world’s first airmail delivery. Fred Wiseman’s independent spirit and passion for adventure live on in Sonoma County, and we are proud to mark this milestone in our history.