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In 1934, all United States commercial air mail carrying contracts were cancelled due to controversy over how the contracts had been awarded. The United States Army Air Corps was charged with carrying air mail service, beginning 19 February 1934. Due in part to extremely bad weather, inadequate preparation of the mail pilots, and the inadequacies of pressing military aircraft into duties for which they were not designed, there ensued a series of accidents over the following three months, ending when commercial services were restored. In all, 66 major accidents, ten of them with fatalities, resulted in 13 crew deaths, creating an intense public furor. Only five of the 13 deaths actually occurred on flights carrying mail, but directly and indirectly the air mail operation caused accidental crash deaths in the Air Corps to rise by 15 percent to 54 in 1934, compared to 46 in 1933 and 47 in 1935.
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