April 8, 2020
Greetings collectors of 1894 Winchester .3030 Carbines.
The first commercial use of Winchester rifles may have occurred on April 6, 1926. Not to be confused with prior military flights (1918-1925) which required the service pilots to carry weapons.
Walter T Varney Airlines Company initiated the first official US Airmail Commercial C.A.M 5 route from Pasco, WA – Boise, ID – Elko, NV on that date.
Chief pilot Leon D Cuddeback (1898-1984) flew #3 Swallow biplane eastbound on both legs due to secondary pilots injured and plane damaged.
Franklin E Rose (1900-1980, Brigadier General USA, 1948) started the westbound return flight in #4 Swallow biplane where upon he encountered a storm that blew him 75 miles off course.
Rose ran out of gas and went missing for two days in the Owyhee canyons in the ION region (Idaho-Oregon-Nevada).
He carried a Winchester .3030 carbine and a .45 auto, presumably a Colt due to his prior enlistment in Naval aviation in 1918. His story was printed in The Vintage Airplane Magazine July, 1978. A #4 was engraved on the butt stock of the rifle after the #4 Swallow biplane.
The grand nephews of Cuddeback who retained this rifle carried by Rose on his flight sold it in Dec. 2019 at Ketchum, Idaho.
A significant event occurred at Rose’s forced landing where he was confronted by two moonshine wranglers driving horses. They accused him of spying and being a prohibition agent since U.S Airmail was printed on the plane. A standoff took place where where upon he convinced them otherwise. The ION region as well as the ranch he landed near was rumored by the law to be rustlers and moonshiners during Prohibition.
United Airlines which later acquired Varney Airline retains the second Winchester carbine donated to them by Charles Wrightson at the 50th Anniversary of the historical flight. A 13 cent US postage stamp was also made in 1976.