Western Air Express Douglas M-4  NC1495      (c/n  M338)


                                      The M-4 was basically an upgraded M-2 with a larger cargo hold for mail.   To accomplish this the
                                      passenger accommodation was reduced to one open cockpit.  It was the most numerous of the Douglas
                                      Mailplanes, some 60 or so being built.   National Air Transport (a United Air Lines predecessor) had
                                      the largest fleet (about 18 of them).  So far as I can ascertain, WAE only had two. The above image
                                      was, I believe, taken back in the late 1920s at Alhambra Airport.

                                      Footnote on the Transcontinental Air Mail route:

                                       Late in 1926 the Post Office Department advertised for bids on the transcontinental routes.  There were
                                       basically two of them at that time.  A "central" route and a "southern" one.  WAE, with their experience
                                       with Douglas M-2s were hopeful of securing the central one.  They were outfoxed, however, by Eddie
                                       Hubbard (who flew a Seattle to Victoria B.C. air mail route) and Bill Boeing and were awarded CAM 18
                                       from San Francisco to Chicago.  (For the record, Boeing Air Transport's bid was $2.88 per lb of mail vs
                                       WAE's $4.25 per lb).  Anyway, this award led to the design and production of the Boeing Model 40, a
                                       two passenger plus mail machine.  This, in turn gave rise to the 4 passenger Model 40-B-4.