1928 International Civil Aeronautics Conference
2¢ Wright Brothers Airplane
First Day of Issue: December 12, 1928
First City: Washington, D.C.
Quantity Issued: 51,342,273
Printing Method: Flat Plate Press
Color: Carmine rose
This stamp was issued in conjunction with the International Civil Aeronautics Conference held at Washington, D.C. The design shows the aircraft used by the Wright Brothers in the first successful flight of heavier than air, powered aircraft. The 1903 flight lasted exactly 12 seconds and covered a distance of 120 feet. The stamp commemorates the 25th anniversary of this first manned flight. Because the Civil Aeronautics stamps pictured airplanes, postmasters often confused them for airmail stamps, marking countless letters “postage due.”
The International Civil Aeronautics Conference stamps were voted #93 in the 100 Greatest American Stamps book.
Civil Aeronautics Conference
The 1928 Civil Aeronautics Conference was likely first suggested by President Calvin Coolidge. One of the most anticipated guests was Orville Wright, as the conference was held just a few days before the 25th anniversary of their first manned flight. Another aeronautic hero, Charles Lindbergh, also attended the event. The conference also hosted 200 representatives from 50 countries who participated in “meetings, conferences, lectures, discussions, and a general exchange of aeronautic ideas [as well as] official and unofficial dinners, banquets, entertainments and sightseeing tours.”
Orville and Wilbur Wright
Sons of a minister in the United Brethren Church, Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up to become aviation pioneers. The brothers had always been interested in science and technology, but when their father gave them a flying toy in 1878, they set their sights on developing a heavier-than-air flying machine capable of carrying a man.
Beginning in 1899, the Wright Brothers began experimenting with gliders. Within four years, they had built their first airplane. With a wingspan of 40 feet and a 12-horsepower engine that weighed 152 pounds, this plane was unlike anything seen before.
The first historic airplane flight took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. Orville flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. Later that day, Wilbur flew for 59 seconds and covered 852 feet. The Wright Brothers continued to improve their design, and in 1906 received a patent for the first airplane.