Heyoka’s Workbench

Par Avion

Over the last few weeks, my travel reading on the daily commute between home and work has been the book »Capitalism in America« by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge.

One section in a chapter about the post-war boom of the 1920s struck me particularly. The authors describe the beginnings of civilian aviation and how the US Post Office started to establish a network of routes for delivering mail by air. And as an aside, they mention that thirty-one of the first fourty airmail pilots died on the job in the first six years of the service.

Thirty-one out of fourty.

One pilot who was lucky enough to survive dubbed the hardy bunch of airmail pioneers a »Suicide Club«.

While I was on my way to a rather quiet desk with a comfy chair and a computer and to a job with nothing more dangerous than a sip from the cup while the coffee is still too hot, those men faced death as a very likely eventuality every single working day. I couldn’t but wonder where we’d be but for people like them …

Drawing of an early airmail plane of the US Post Office.