The central subject of airmail stamps design would usually feature pictures of airplanes. Some are just fantastic imageries conceived by talented artists with no knowledge of modern aeronautics but many stamps depict distinct airplane types, which could be easily recognised. Some studies and research along these lines should reward the collector with an interesting thematic collection on the history and progress of heavier than-air crafts.
The Wright biplanes, the real “daddies” of them all, were shown on a United States commemorative. Another early pioneer was Bleriot, who had successfully crossed the English Channel; had his frail monoplane being illustrated on the first Congo air issue, and also used as an overprint on air post stamps of other countries.
World War I encouraged improvements in design and led to a constant broadening of airplane types, such as fighting planes, passenger transports, and bombers. In order to meet these diverging conditions, various motors and fuselage arrangements were necessary and thus resulted in the definite character of aircraft styles of today.
The Curtiss “Jenny” will always be remembered as one of the famous wartime planes. A fine portrayal of this gallant old soldier of the skies appeared on the 16c value of the U.S. first air issue. The Spad was also notable among the Allies’ sky fighters and a later model of this distinguished type appeared on the Romanian design of 1928.
During the World War, the airplane designed by Goeffrey De Havilland was considered as a very effective weapon by General Pershing and since then this Englishman’s models have gone into service in all parts of the world. One of the earliest De Havilland vehicles, The No. 4, had found itself on various U. S. issues, one of them being the 1923 24c value, and the other was the famous “map” issue of 1926-27 on which two planes were depicted flying towards each other.
Depicted on a Nicaraguan adhesive were two more modern De Havillands winging over Mt. Momotombo. Although this representation was especially graphic and clean – cut but was not superior to the striking portrayal of the De Havilland 34 found on Egyptian air stamps.
It seemed as though all mail matter carried by air from London to distant parts of the globe was borne by the staunch De Havilland’s for even in remote South Africa, the smallest member of this renowned family-the De Havilland Moth was discovered. Towards the other extreme is its big brother, a husky tri-motored fellow bulging with horsepower.
Alcock and Brown, who were the first to successfully span the Atlantic on a nonstop flight, pinned their hopes on a huge Vickers Vimv machine. Their craft was depicted by Newfoundland on its first permanent air issue.
Other fliers who were attempting similar feats during that time, employed the planes built by the well-known Handley-Page Company but their models have not found much sympathy with stamp designers. The Congo air stamp shown a somewhat obscure picture of their “Hamilton” type and the Africa recognized the “Henden”.
The compact Faircy model was the sturdy seaplane that carried Sacadura and Contiuho across the south Atlantic from Portugal to Brazil in 1922. The intrepid pilots as well as their ship were shown on the adhesive which commemorated this adventure.
Other flying boats especially those manufactured by the American Naval Aircraft organization, were found on stamps from Cuba and Panama depicting a “P N” and a Commodore respectively. Another husky seaplane, the ‘”Plus Ultra”, whisked Major Franco from Spain to South America. This was one of the well-known Dornier flying boats, a type that boasts the famous DO-X as one of its brethren. They were also found fully displaying their rugged strength and power on the air stamps of Tripolitania.
The picturesque and colorful Grecian issue recorded a fair representation of the twin-hulled Savoia. Although each stamp of the four values pictured the plane differently, the best view of this gigantic craft was from the 5 Drachma denomination.
The exotic air stamps of Syria were a travel tour in themselves and the plane represented was apparently a Potez, a beautiful but relatively unknown cabin ship. Another rather obscure name was the Morane. A training monoplane of this brand appeared on a Bolivian commemorative, issued to honor the establishment of the National Aviation School.
Captain Gallarza owed the greater part of his successful flight from Madrid to Manila in the autumn of 1926 to his fast Breguet. Another earlier and somewhat slower type of Breguet was found on Morocco’s first air stamps.
The designs of the renowned Fokker were the backbone of the German air force during the World War. Since the close of that epochal period, he had continued to advance the cause of aviation and today Fokkers are winging over all corners of the globe on Guatemalan stamp. Cuba, too, gave an excellent picturization.
Kingsford-Smith flew across the Pacific on a plane which was from the rugged breed of massive tri-motored Fokker. Maybe the finest portrayal of this Fokker model was on Japan’s definitive air issue roaring over Mt. Aqua.
If judging by its unusual line, the most distinctive type of plane could be the snub-nosed Jurikers monoplane. The peculiar body design was well displayed on Romanian and Albanian air stamps.
The all-metal Ford tri-motor transport airship was popular on the stamps of Latin American nations.
Colonel Lindbergh gave Ryan airplane a huge publicity boost when he hopped to Paris in his “Spirit of St. Louis”. His particular craft can be found on a special Spanish issue and also on a Dominican adhesive, while a more spacious Ryan model was depicted on one of Mexico’s air stamps.
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