1997 32¢ Gee Bee Super Sportster
Classic American Aircraft
Issue Date: July 19, 1997
City: Dayton, OH
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Following World War I, money was given out sparingly by the government for the research and development of aircraft. Finally in 1925, Congress completely withdrew funding, little realizing how cheaply and quickly technical perfection could be achieved.
During the war, air forces never ceased to want faster, higher-flying, and more superior aircraft. But in peacetime perhaps the greatest need to increase performance was the urge to win races. Large purses and the desire to earn fame and glory produced groundbreaking innovations. Within a few short years the superiority of the monoplane had become obvious. And by the early 1930s, the winning U.S. racers were little more than big engines with a tiny monoplane fixed behind them. One such racer was the Gee Bee Super Sportster.
Nicknamed “Bumble Bees,” “Flying Barrels,” and “Silos” because of their huge fuselage, the Gee Bees dominated the early 1930s speed races. From these early racers, valuable knowledge was gleaned about wind vibration and aircraft design. Their efforts produced controllable pitch propellers, popout hatches, and lighter, air-cooled engines. Ironically, the designs and lessons learned on the race courses were eventually incorporated into many of the planes that served in World War II.