Before his work as an airmail pilot, the Idaho-born Barker worked the barnstorming circuit. That life was certainly good training for the rigors of airmail service. Like most of his co-workers, Barker found himself forced to land during wretched weather conditions. On September 13, 1925, he was forced down twice. He was flying the mail in the Western Division when at 8:10 p.m. he brought his de Havilland airplane #411 down at the Rawlins, Wyoming airmail landing field after fog and rain had made flying impossible. At 9:40 that night, he was able to takeoff. Less than 90 minutes later, he was down again, this time at the Laramie, Wyoming airmail field. The weather finally eased up early the next morning and Barker took off to finish his flight at 1:55 a.m. the morning of the 14th.
On February 14, 1927, heavy snow and fog forced Barker down near Coalville, Utah. Among the expenses he listed in his forced landing report were $5 for the hire of a man and truck to pull his de Havilland out of the snow and to make a runway for the ship through the snow.
Hugh Barker's report on a forced landing made November 15, 1925.
- Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration