Today in Postal History

German Pioneer Flight
December 2, 1912

Gotha was an important airfield at this time.
It was home to an airplane factory, a division of the Gotha railcar factory (Waggonfabrik).
It also was a base for Zeppelin operations.
Gotha is about 160 km west southwest of Leipzig.

The airplane factory operated the 'Herzog Carl Eduard Fliegerschule' pilot school.
Ernest Schlegel was the pilot in charge of this school.
Operations began on April 1, 1912.

On July 25 airpost flights were made between Gotha and Erfurt, a bit more than 20 km east.
The flights were hoped to be a financial help to the flying school.

As many as 5000 special stamps inscribed by a banner with the school's name were printed.
The stamps were lithographed in dull violet and perforated 11.
Special cards were also printed.

This card is different from the usual card which showed
"Engineer Schlegel, leader of the officers' flying school, Gotha"
and his monoplane in front of the Gotha airship hangar.
Flown cards were stamped with a facsimile of the pilot's signature.

These demonstration flights were continued for three months and then discontinued.
The total number of flown cards did not exceed 1000.

The remainders continued to be used sporadically.

This information is excerpted from
Pioneer Airpost Flights of the World 1830 to 1935 by Dr. Max Kronstein.
No mention is made of a flight from Gotha on December 12.
He does say, "On flown items this Gotha airstamp
belongs to the scarce airstamps of the pioneer period."

I cannot decipher the writing to provide more details on the addressee or contents of the note.
Help, anyone?

The card is franked with a torn 1905 5pf green Germania (Scott 82).
The card was cancelled in Gotha.


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