1928 International Civil Aeronautics Conference
5¢ Globe and Modern Airplane
First Day of Issue: December 12, 1928
First City: Washington, D.C.
Quantity Issued: 10,319,700
Printing Method: Flat Plate Press
This stamp was issued in conjunction with the International Civil Aeronautics Conference held at Washington, D.C. The International Civil Aeronautics Conference recognized the coming importance of airplane transportation to the world. Pictured on the stamp is a rotary engine monoplane similar to Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, who was honored at the conference. 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.”
Charles Lindbergh was an airmail pilot for the Post Office Department. He was very familiar with the risks of flying. Between the years 1919 and 1926, 19 Post Office pilots had died in accidents. In fact, Lindbergh himself had crashed on his St. Louis to Chicago route. It didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for flying, though. He dreamed of trans-Atlantic flights – carrying mail and passengers – becoming an everyday occurrence.
Lindbergh became famous in 1927 for his solo flight from New York to Paris. Alone in his plane, the “Spirit of St. Louis,” Lindbergh left Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, at 7:52 A.M. on May 20, 1927. The 1,000-mile flight took 33 hours and 30 minutes. His only tools were a compass, an airspeed indicator, and his own navigational skills.
His greatest challenge on that long, lonely flight was to stay awake, as he began to feel tired just four hours into the flight. The storms he encountered took him off course and became navigational challenges. While over the Atlantic Ocean, he saw two fishing boats, circled down, and tried to ask them to point to land. Unsuccessful, he continued on and soon spotted the coast of Ireland. He knew at that point that his flight was a success, and he flew on to Paris in higher spirits.
Lindbergh landed in Paris, France, to a wildly excited crowd of 100,000 that broke through the restraints and rushed onto the runway to meet him. The next day, another crowd formed outside the American Embassy where he was staying, cheering and waving hats and handkerchiefs. Lindbergh received the Legion of Honor Medal from the President of France, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by U.S. President Coolidge.