August 9, 1920 – Chicago, Illinois
August 2, 1920 – Omaha, Nebraska
September 3, 1920 – Cheyenne, Wyoming
September 9, 1920 – San Francisco, California
Stanhope S. Boggs survived one of the most remarkable crashes in the early years of airmail service. He was flying out of San Francisco's Marino Field on January 4, 1921 at 2,000 feet when his engine quit. He had to go into a flat glide and broke out of the covering fog at only 50 feet over the city of San Francisco. He tried to set the airplane down on Gough Street in the block between Hay and Fell streets. As he was landing, he hit some trolley wires and nosed into the ground. The airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire, but Boggs was unhurt. He was able to save half of the 270 pound mail cargo load.
In his testimony during an investigation of the crash, Boggs noted that he was to have left the field at 6:30 a.m., but that the fog had rendered visibility so low that he had to wait until after 7:00 to try taking off. He testified that "At that time there was a little blue sky right directly over the field, and a hole in the clouds, and I thought by climbing up directly I could get up on top, picking my course and start like we usually do. . . When I was 2000 feet in the air I had to circle in the clouds, and while I was in one of those turns my motor cut out, and I immediately started to spiral down, but the hole in the clouds was too small. The motor picked up just once after it had cut out, not long enough for me to locate myself, so I kept within the spiral until within 100 feet of the ground, so when I leveled out I put in as flat a glide as I could, and the first think [sic] that loomed up was the house tops, and the buildings seemed not more than 50 feet away. I looked about, over these, and found the street, and this place looked the best place to crash up. Falling into the street in a straight bank, the machine hit on the left wing, nose first. The first thing I knew I hit was the trolley wires, the ship caught fire, and ship was burning when I climbed out, burning around mail cockpit. I saw it was impossible to save any mail at that time, so I ran to the nearest fire box, which was 100 feet or so away, and turned in the alarm. The fire department came quickly, but didn't try to save any mail until the fire was put out."
Stanhope Boggs' air time log. Pilots' received bonus pay based on their flying times, which were carefully recorded in log books. A typical punishment for violating flying rules was to remove flying hours (and thus money) from the pilots' total.
- Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration