Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely
The Air Mail mural was designed and painted by Mark Pestana, noted test pilot and Tehachapi artist. On May 15, 1938, The U.S. Postal Service issued a new Air Mail stamp as part of a national celebration for the 20th anniversary of the first U.S. Air Mail. Tehachapi marked the occasion with its inaugural Air Mail flight to Bakersfield. Harry Beauford, Jr., a Tehachapi resident and pilot, is shown standing next to his plane at Tehachapi Airport, then known as Kern County Airport #4. The side of the plane is painted to commemorate the first Air Mail flight from Tehachapi to Bakersfield. Tehachapi Peak is in the background.
Many cities joined in the celebration with special events and by issuing specially designed envelopes with the new stamp. This mural depicts the artist’s conception of one of those envelopes, postmarked at Tehachapi and addressed to the local pilot. The airplane used for this flight is a Porterfield CP-40 Zephyr. This particular airplane’s civil registry number was NC18088, as seen, on the plane’s tail, along with the name, Zephyr. The mural also commemorates the building’s site as the location of Tehachapi’s U. S. Post Office, built after the 1952 earthquake. An original architectural feature of the wall is the inset relief of an eagle, a sculptural element that is incorporated into the envelope.
NOTE: NC18088 is now registered to a 1972 Cessna 150L in Illinois.
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