Pitcairn Airways Pilot Wing
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania 1924-1930
Harold F. Pitcairn, the youngest son of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries founder, John Pitcairn, Jr. founded Pitcairn Aircraft Company. The business started November 2, 1924. In 1926, Pitcairn started Pitcairn Aircraft Company initially to build aircraft for his growing airmail service. In the late 1920s Pitcairn Aviation won a contract to fly mail between New York City and Atlanta. While lighted beacons were being constructed, the pilots did aerial sightseeing tours and flight instruction. Flight operations on the Atlanta to New York route began on May 1, 1928. In September, 1927, the airline was granted an extension from Atlanta to Miami and began flying this route on December 1, 1928. In 1929 Clement Keys, the owner of North American Aviation, purchased Pitcairn. In 1930 Keys changed the company's name to Eastern Air Transport, soon to be known as Eastern Air Lines after being purchased by General Motors and experiencing a change in leadership after the Airmail Act of 1934. It is believed that the P.A.A. stands for Pitcairn Aviation Associates as the company built autogyros as well as the Pitcarin Mail Wing Aircraft. Pitcairn Airways never flew passengers, just mail.