Early in the morning of September 9, 1920, a US Airmail DH-4 biplane lifted off from this very airport, the oldest of a handful of the original Post Office airfields still in existence and operational. In one respect, there wasn’t anything particularly unusual about this event. Iowa City had been servicing Post Office airmail flights for some months now, refueling them as they flew both east and west between Omaha and Chicago.

What was different this morning is the mail it carried was not destined to be put on a train in Omaha, but be flown all the way to the West Coast: a first for the Post Office and the Nation. 

Some may have heard the story of Jack Knight, who on the return flight landed in Omaha in the cold winter early morning hours in 1920.  Not finding a relief pilot, he warmed up briefly, studied a map of the next leg of the flight which brought him to Iowa City for fuel and then on to Chicago.  This act, help complete the air mail route, proving its effectiveness in transporting mail across the nation. Congress would go on to continue to the fund the development of additional air mail routes. 

Today, exactly one hundred years later, Iowa City again gets to play a part in US Airmail Service history as AirMail100 volunteer private pilots - Darren Lilja, Tom Williams and Al Dyczek - continue the flight west carrying and collecting commemorative postcards and letters — including those contributed by Iowa youth today. Their final destination is the Post Office in San Francisco and then on into the annals of American history.  These pilots are scheduled to arrive in Iowa City on September 9, 2020 at approximately 8:50 a.m. and will depart for Omaha at approximately 9:15 a.m.  Members of the public may attend, with social distancing and mask wearing requirements are in place.  

On behalf of all the volunteer AirMail100 pilots and supporters, we want to thank for you not only helping us retrace this important pathway in history, but enabling us to
honor the memory of those aviators of long ago.

For more information go tohttp://airmail100.com/

What: Pilots re-enact the airmail route for the 100 year anniversary

When: Pilots arrive at Iowa City at approximately 8:50 a.m. September 9, 2020 and depart for Omaha at 9:15 a.m.

Where: Iowa City Municipal Airport, an original airfield and stop on the air mail route.

Attendance: Members of the public may view pilots/aircraft from the Airport Viewing Area, or Airport Terminal Building with required social distancing and mask wearing.

Bill Moore
Lead Event Organizer
1915 Southview Drive

Date of publication

Tuesday, September 08, 2020