Notes from the Past

Pioneer Airmail Flights - Part V

Aviation Events and More Early Mail 1

Recent Notes from the Past have discussed some of the lesser known early flights on which messages were carried.  In this era there were many meetings, fairs, exhibitions, and tournaments for the early aeronauts to show off their accomplishments and to acquaint the public with these new flying machines.  Many were accompanied by souvenir cancellations of cards and covers.  Often the items were used to finance the shows.

In 1909 semi-official cards with a round cachet were prepared in conjunction with a meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, October 23 to November 1.  In 1910, similar cards were available for a meeting at Stockel, Belgium, occurring July 23 - August 4.  In 1910 a selected picture postcard was cancelled with 'Heliopolis Aerodrome' during Aviation Week at Heliopolis near Cairo Egypt, February 6 -13.

France was especially prolific in holding aviation meets and meetings where philatelic material resulted.  The first meeting was at Betheny during August 7 - 29, 1909.  In October a similar meeting was held in Paris between the third and the seventeenth.  1910 began with a meeting at Nice in April.  Another April meeting was held at Rouen.  May had a meeting at Lyon.  Another meeting was held in Paris in June.  July meetings were held in Betheny, Quimper, and Caen.  In August a competition was held involving three cities in eastern France - Troyes, Nantes, and Amiens.  In August a meeting was also held at Le Havre and Trouville-Deauville.  Meetings in Bordeaux and Dijon in September concluded the year for French aviation-related cancels.

Similarly, the Germans were active in holding early aviation events.  In 1909, flights were made in association with the International Aerial Navigation Exhibition at Frankfurt which started on July 13 and continued through October.  Several 'official' cards with special cancellations were issued and flown.  More special cancels were provided for Aviation Week in Berlin-Johannisthal September 26 - October 3.  The final 1909 event was International Flying Week starting in Cologne October 3.  In May, 1911, there were two aviation events.  Kiel had an Aviation Week and Chemnitz had an Aviation Meeting.  Germany was also active in flights of lighter-than-air craft during this period.

To Be Continued

Posted September 14, 2000

Editor's Note:  This series will draw on Donald B. Holmes' Air Mail -- an illustrated history 1793-1981 which is an exceptional piece of philatelic literature and The American Air Mail Catalogue Vol. 1 published by the American Air Mail Society.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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