Description: Robert Shank was hired in 1918, the first year of airmail service, as a Post Office Department airmail pilot. He was assigned to the Belmont Park, New York, airfield. He was one the first four pilots hired to fly the mail that year. As good as these pilots were, crashes were sometimes unavoidable. Shrank survived this crash of his Standard JR-1B aircraft, which landed nose down into a woody area. Shank is pictured standing on the airplane, peering into the cockpit.