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a day by a rail haul from an air terminal which largely nullifies the value of
the service.

The population of the communities on the air pick-up routes, outside of the
terminal cities ranges from 500 to 120,000. They are an average distance of 17
miles apart. Some are only 5 miles apart. Most of them have no airports and of
those that have only a few could accommodate a modern air liner. Since the
service was started the air mail pick-up planes have flown 2,344,485 miles and
have made 215,000 pick-ups and deliveries without serious damage to either cargo
or equipment. The area served by the air pick-up routes lies chiefly in the Appa-
lachian region where some of the worst and most variable flying weather in the
country is encountered. Schedules are maintained at an average speed of 110
miles an hour. Although a pick-up plane on a regular run must always fly contact
or within sight of the ground and it can never fly high because of the proximity of
the ground stations, the system has consistently completed from 90 to 95 percent of
the schedules in the years it has operated, a performance record that compares
favorably with that of the regular transport liners which can go "over the top"
when the weather gets bad. Government officials have described this record as
unprecedented for a new operation. It has even surprised the birds. Out in the
Appalachians it is said they don't come out in the morning until they see the pick-up
plane go by. From a trickle, air-mail volume on the lines has increased to a point
where the postal revenues are more than paying for the cost of the service. It
took the trunk lines nearly 20 years to reach this point.

Following is our tables showing the monthly increase in the volume of air-mail
dispatch over the air pick-up system and its various lines during 1942:

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43,020 106, 943


71, 243
76, 948
92, 854
112, 705
1 15, 090
121, 644
135, 344

29, 310
29, 010
27, 960
35, 490
32, 850
37, 890

41, 933
47, 938
64, 894
75, 685
79, 600
88, 794
97, 454


149, 963
165, 836
175, 911
175, 342
157, 523

42, 360
47, 610

123, 476
128, 301
133, 912


1, 550, 403

440, 7601, 109, 643



42, 288
55, 027
57, 959
58, 912
67, 401

19, 710
17, 370
16, 110
18, 900
18, 780
16, 140
19, 380

21, 343
24, 918
29, 988
36, 127
39, 179
42, 772


83, 534
103, 416
101, 448
95, 097
82, 573

28, 080
39, 450
35, 640
28, 020
22, 890

55, 454
63, 966
65, 808
67, 077
59, 910


834, 806

280, 470

554, 336



33, 481
34, 185
41, 331
46, 990
46, 484
48, 667
58, 335

19, 170
17, 460
17, 250
19, 380
18, 810
17, 130
22, 200

14, 311
16, 725
24, 081
27, 610
27, 674
31, 537


61, 310
71, 043
77, 759
77, 214
82, 895

21, 510
25, 080
28, 140
23, 130
27, 360

39, 800
45, 963
49, 619
54, 084
55, 535

36, 135


679, 694

256, 620

423, 074

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Statistics covering the dispatch of air mail over the air-mail pick-up system for September 1942 as compared with September 1941 show graphically that the service is self-sustaining. In September 1941 according to the official figures of the Post Office Department, 318,234 pieces of air mail moved over AM–49. This air mail produced postal revenues amounting to $23,549.31 at the rate of 7.4 cents, the average revenue per piece fixed in the Post Office Department's Cost Ascertainment Report for 1941. This amounted to 34.37 cents per revenue-mile. Excluding the terminal dispatch over AM-49 in this period and the postal revenues it produced on the theory that AM-49 was not entitled to credit for these revenues because it was transit mail, the air mail originated exclusively on AM-49 amounted in September to 178,794 pieces, or $13,230.75 in revenues, or 19.31 cents per revenue-mile. Operation performance in this period was 96 percent. September 1942 791,246 pieces of air mail moved over AM-49. In this period, All American flew 78,489 revenue-miles which represented 96 percent performance, the same as in September 1941. The carrier's mail compensation amounted to $32,969.58. The air mail produced total revenues of $58,552.20, or 74.60 cents per revenue-mile as compared with 34.37 cents per revenue-mile in September 1941. Excluding the terminal dispatch from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as transit mail and taking no credit for it whatever, the mail dispatched by the communities served by AM-49 in September 1942 amounted to 572,096 pieces, which produced postal revenues of $42,335.10 or 53.94 cents per revenue-mile. This amount was $9,335 in excess of the carrier's mail compensation for this month and 11.94 cents per mile in excess of the carrier's rate of 42 cents per mile.

The success of the air pick-up system has demonstrated that short-haul air routes are practical and can pay their own way though they can at this time carry only mail and cargo. At present, there are pending before the Civil Aeronautics Board applications for new pick-up routes which would add 25,000 miles to the air-line system and extend direct air service to 1,500 additional communities. These prospective routes have only scratched the surface of the opportunity in this country for the establishment of air pick-up operations.

As to the feeder problem, however, air pick-up lines are not the complete answer. There are several communities on the present pick-up lines and many throughout the country which could support passenger service. These communities have small but first-class airports on which feeder planes could easily operate if the planes are tailored to fit the facilities of the community rather than making the community build airports to fit the planes. As feeder routes naturally will be short and it will be necessary for them to serve more points to properly render service they are going to experience more trouble with the problem of stops than the trunk lines. A combination pick-up and passenger plane which would make landings unnecessary except to handle passengers may solve this problem. The idea is entirely feasible. Helicopters also give great promise of providing the answer. Gliders, too, are a big possibility.

The spectacular achievements of gliders in warfare has started the air-transportation industry thinking about their commercial adaptation and value. Aircargo men particularly have been interested because the glider appears to offer a practical and economical means of augmenting the pay load of the transport plane which would be one approach to the problem of reducing ton-mile costs. The study of their utility has provoked controversy as to whether better results could be obtained by building the extra capacity afforded by the glider directly into the tug. That question has yet to be satisfactorily answered. A very thorough analysis of this subject has been made by Richard C. Du Pont, president of All American Aviation, Inc., who was among the first to introduce gliding in this country. All American pioneered the development and now operates the air pick-up system which is being rapidly adapted for military use in launching gliders, a program that is being carried on by All American under contracts with the Army Air Forces. Mr. Du Pont has expressed the conclusion that the best prospect for the use of gliders in commercial operations is on short haul or feeder routes. Over long routes, he has said, the airplane would be more efficient. However, Mr. Du Pont has qualified his opinions to some extent by saying that the success of gliders in short-haul operations will depend on the use of the air pick-up whereby they can be picked up as well as delivered at intermediate points nonstop. He has emphasized that if landings are necessary at these points, the size of the airports required for launching the gliders, the time lost on the ground in loading and discharging cargo would make their value in air transportation dubious. On the other hand, he said flexibility and speed, factors indispensable to the success of short-haul lines would be afforded glider operations by the pick-up method of operation,

The adaptation of the air pick-up method to military operations and the significance of this development to future commercial air transportation was commented upon by Postmaster General Frank C. Walker in an official press release issued on Thursday, June 25, 1942. This release read as follows:

"Postmaster General Frank C. Walker announced last night that he was gratified to learn of the recent successful demonstration of gliders being picked up from the ground by an airplane flying at more than 100 miles per hour at the Army Air Force's Matériel Center, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. This, the Postmaster General said he had been advised, was a direct application of the principle of the air-mail pick-up service which has been in operation by the Post

“These successful tests of this new glider-launching technique which the War Department has said contemplates its application to the Army Air Force's heaviest transport gliders, and, similarly, which may eventually be adapted to the pick-up of large commercial freight and passenger-glider trains, is evidence, the Postmaster General stated, of the value of the pick-up service not only to the air-mail postal facilities but also to the armed forces as a modern instrumentality of aerial warfare.

"Air-mail pick-up service has been in operation, the Postmaster General said, for the past 3 years over 1,386 miles of pick-up routes, on which the performance record for the past year was more than 94 percent of the scheduled flights, which, for the calendar year 1941, totaled 794,903 flown miles.”

The CHAIRMAN. At this time the committee desires to hold an executive session and give particular consideration to the question of post-war development of aviation, particularly with respect to its relation to the international situation. So we will ask those who are not directly interested in that matter to retire from the room at this time.

(Thereupon at 11:20 p. m., the committee proceeded to the consideration of other business as above indicated, after which it adjourned.)




Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., Hon. Clarance F. Lea (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.

As we all know, Mr. Jack Nichols is chairman of the special committee that has been investigating aircraft accidents and other matters. We are pleased to hear from him at this time.



Mr. NICHOLS. Mr. Chairman, I am afraid that I am not at the moment very well prepared to be of much help to the committee in determining what should be done with many of the all-important problems which are incorporated in this very comprehensive bill.

As the chairman and members of the committee know, I have been pretty busy during the last few days on other legislative matters having something to do with another committee, and frankly, I have not had as much time or taken as much time to study this bill as probably I should and certainly not as much as I would have liked to.

There are three other members of my committee and the gentlemen of this committee, I am sure, know that over the past 2 years we have made a rather thoroughly exhaustive study of aviation in its many ramifications, and we feel that, if permitted to do so, we can be of help to the subcommittee or whoever it is that is going to finally draft the final draft of this bill and I would ask, Mr. Chairman, that we be permitted to to that.

Now, I do not want to run through this bill and take snap judgment on propounding some ideas that are not well thought out. For instance, I have before me a file, a portion of a file, on insurance. I would like, in order to give the committee a little history of how thoroughly we tried to do this job, make a study preparatory to the preparation of some insurance legislation, I would like to read to the committee two or three of the letters which were the build-up to an investigation and comprehensive inquiry made into the subject by the Civil Aeronautics Board. I read now from a letter from the Board over the signature of Mr. Branch, dated August 21, 1941, addressed to Mr. McCann, who was counsel for the select committee.


This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 16, 1941, outlining certain lines of inquiry your committee would like to consider if time permits with respect to the liability of air carriers, and concerning which you would like to arrange for Mr. Edward C. Sweeney of our staff to secure information for the use of your committee relative to the cost of air carriers' liability insurance in 1940, the claim and settlement record of the underwriters of the 1940 and 1941 air-carrier accidents, the profits made by the aviation insurance underwriters, and details relative to the kinds of restrictive clauses in ordinary life, disability, and double-indemnity insurance.

The Board is anxious to cooperate with your committee in every way possible, and in response to your request I have authorized Mr. Sweeney to devote the necessary time and study to secure the information outlined in your letter. In this connection I might point out that I am advised that much of the information that you have requested may only be obtained from the life-insurance companies and the underwriters specializing in air-carrier insurance. The Board has no jurisdiction to require the production of any information from these companies and, therefore, can only ask for information you request and can take no steps by itself to require the production thereof. It is not anticipated that any difficulties will be encountered in securing the information you request, but if diffculties are encountered you will be advised so that your committee may take such appropriate action as you deem advisable.

And so on.

Now, a short letter once more to Mr. McCann from Mr. Sweeney, dated September 11, 1941.

In accordance with my conversation with you last Tuesday I am furnishing you two copies of the memorandum and exhibits that I am submitting to the members of the Board for the purpose of obtaining their approval to circulating a questionnaire to the scheduled air carriers concerning their liability insurance and another questionnaire to the life and accident insurance companies concerning the aviation risk exclusion clauses utilized in life, accident, and disability insurance

On September 25, 1941, the Board wrote another letter. I will read you from that letter from the Board, as follows:

At the same time the select committee has been advised that considerable differences exist in the coverage which various insurance contracts offer the individuals who have chosen to use air transportation or otherwise engage in aviation. As a result, the committee has requested the Civil Aeronautics Board to ascertain (1) the underwriting practices relative to aviation risk exclusion clauses now used in currently written life, accident, and other types of insurance; (2) the extent to which insurance companies increased premium rates of applicants who travel extensively by air or engage in aviation; and (3) the present status of - older policies written with broad exclusion clauses.

The Civil Aeronautics Board is charged with the statutory duty of encouraging and developing air transportation. The insurance coverage offered passengers of the scheduled air carriers is a factor that may well affect the development of air travel. Likewise the coverage offered pilots and other persons engaged in aviation may vitally affect civil aviation.

Now, that is only by way of background.

Finally, there were circulated, Mr. Chairman, by the Civil Aeronautics Board, a questionnaire to the insurance companies. I have that questionnaire here, a copy of it. In the questionnaire they were asked 34 questions, pertinent, we felt, and pertinent thought the Civil Aeronautics Board. Those questionnaires have been answered by the insurance underwriters and by the air lines.

Now, the following clause is at the close of each questionnaire:

Please signify by the word "granted” that permission is given for the Civil Aeronautics Board to release to the Select Committee to Investigate Air Accidents the information contained in the present questionnaire and in the questionnaire distributed December 16, 1939, dealing with air carrier liability insurance in 1938 and 1939.

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