The quest for supersonic flight -Boom or Bust?

The airline industry as we know it today began in 1925 when a piece of legislation known as the US Air Mail Act was approved by the United States Congress, permitting private contractors to carry airmail for the US Postal Service. The primitive, frail aircraft of the time could barely transport a handful of passengers but, with a guaranteed source of revenue, a landmark period of innovation began.

de Havilland DH-4 used by early US Air Mail flight. Courtesy Smithsonian.