Stamps Prove An Air Travel Truth

October 10, 2012 / 1 Comment

I’ve written before about my affection for the photo series Earth from Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. So I was alert when I read this quote from Joseph Corbett of the US Postal Service.

“Once you’ve seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again.” He’s right of course. Corbett makes this observation by way of introducing a new series of postage stamps that show us the world as viewed from airplanes and satellites.

The artists who put together this beautiful collection of stamps have taken familiar subjects and given us a new perspective by with a top down angle.


What I find notable about these new stamps from the post office is how they take us full circle. It was the U.S. postal service that really turned aviation into a viable form of transportation. The first airline flights were stuffed with bags of mail, and oh yeah, people.

In the November issue of Airways magazine, Ed Davies has a wonderful story about the hullabaloo that accompanied the new postage stamps issued in 1946 and featuring the Douglas DC-4.  In press extravaganza not unlike what we’d see today for the unveiling of a new model iPad, the first letters bearing this stamp were canceled aboard a special flying post office.

Photo courtesy Ed Davies


A TWA Douglas C-54 Skymaster converted for the event left Washington National Airport on October 1, 1946 carrying a ton of mail across the country. The flight made a few stops, but probably none as notable as the one in Dayton where Orville Wright “was presented with a special commemorative stamp album,” Davie writes.

Don’t bemoan the lost glory days of aviation without feeling just a little sympathy for the post office. Can you imagine a new stamp getting that kind of treatment today? But that’s raining on the USPS parade and I don’t want to do that when they’ve just given us a whole series of tiny windows through which we can see the beauty in the ordinary.

When I fly, I always keep my face pressed up against the window and though they’ll never be postage stamps, here are some photos I’ve taken of things I’ve seen from above.

Park City, Utah from the biplane of Steve Guenard.

Shadow of my own Lufthansa flight with”pilot’s halo” above Frankfurt.

From an amusement park ride at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens

Hamilton, New Zealand with flight instructor William Nicol of CTC Aviation




Categories: Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Go How Know How, Middle East, North America, Photos, Travel by Air

One response to “Stamps Prove An Air Travel Truth”

  1. What a lovely post! The images are beautiful and it’s true – once you see the Earth from above, your thinking of the world is forever different.

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