Airmail Service

NC Minute Masthead

Eight years after the Wright Brothers made history by flying a machine heavier than air, on December 17, 1903, the first airmail service began in North Carolina.

On New Year’s Day, 1912, a group of Wilmington business men announced that an airplane would be purchased and brought to Wilmington for the purpose of airmail service to that region. Soon after the announcement a plane and pilot arrived and the U.S. Postmaster General granted permission for the plane to carry mail. On the first flight nearly 1,700 people watched as the plane lifted airborne with 1,600 pieces of mail. Each piece of mail carried “Aeroplane Mail Service” postmark.

Regular airmail service did not begin in the state until 1928. The mail routes were to New York to Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans, with stops in New Bern, Wilmington, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro-High Point and Winston Salem.

The first U.S. airmail stamp to feature North Carolina was the December 17, 1948 stamp honoring the Wright Brothers. The First Day of Issue was held at Kitty Hawk, where 378,585 first day covers (envelopes) were sold.