Pearson Field to greet biplanes reenacting debut of airmail service
Three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes will deliver some history to Vancouver today as part of the centennial celebration of America’s airmail service.Pearson Field is among a dozen stops on the re-enactment. The flight was scheduled to start Sunday in San Diego and finish Friday at Paine Field in Everett.According to the schedule, the 1930s biplanes will land at Pearson Field at 6:05 p.m. today after a one-hour flight from Eugene, Ore. After overnighting in Pearson Air Museum’s historic hanger, the airmail planes will resume the journey at 12:05 p.m. Friday, taking off on a 50-minute flight to Olympia.The 1,200-mile flight is a re-enactment of Contract Air Mail Route 8, the pioneering service along the West Coast. Pacific Air Transport, an ancestor of today’s United Airlines, inaugurated its Seattle-to Los Angeles service on Sept. 26, 1926.The centennial airmail project is led by Addison Pemberton, a Spokane aircraft restorer. Pemberton is no stranger to Pearson Field. He visited in 2011, piloting a restored Boeing C40 biplane that had flown airmail routes along the West Coast before crashing in 1928.Pemberton said the airmail service was the first step toward American commercial airline service. It was considered crucial enough to start even while the nation was fighting World War I, Pemberton said in a news release.