It was August 17, 1859 when the aeronaut John Wise took off from Lafayette, Indiana with a mail bag containing 123 letters and 23 circulars in hopes of delivering his U.S. Post Office Department approved load to New York City.
He only got as far as Crawfordsville, a little over 30 miles from where he had taken off. Although the flight failed, he saw that the mail went on its way by putting it in the care of Colonel Reed, the postal agent for the New Albany and Salem Railroad in Crawfordsville, who in turn, sent it on its way.
The flight was commemorated 100 years later with a USPS (at the time the USPOD) stamp. Only one flown cover is known. That great rarity resides in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum for aerophilatelists and anyone with an interest in U.S. aviation and postal history to enjoy.
Stamp Image © USPS