Bophuthatswana : 75th Anniversary of first engined-powered flight of Wright Brothers

and 30th Anniversary of ICAO


Issue date: 01/12/1978




Wright Flyer I used on 17 December 1903, text "75th / Anniversary / of the first / engine / powered / flight by the / Wright brothers / INTERNATIONAL / CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION"


Wright Brothers: Orville (on the left) and Wilbur (on the right), text "75th / Anniversary / of the first / engine / powered / flight by the / Wright brothers / INTERNATIONAL / CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION"




Left blocks of 5 stamps with red, black or grey inscriptions in the margin. BPT in the margin stands for the abbreviation of “Bophuthatswana Post Telegraaf”. The date of issue is printed in the margin: 1978-12-01.

Color bars are printed outside the trim area and are used for quality control purposes by the printer.


Presentation folder of this issue:




First Day Cover – Text: “Wilbur Wright’s last public flight – Manhattan 1909”.


At the end of May 1908, Wilbur and Orville Wright separated. They went off in different directions, something they hadn’t done since beginning their flying experiments. Orville returned to Dayton to start work on a Type A Flyer for the Signal Corps tests, which would take place at an army base near Washington, D.C., whereas Wilbur sailed for France where he would assemble and demonstrate a second Flyer. When Wilbur returned home in the summer of 1909, he made his first public flights in America. On 29 September 1909, as part of the great Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York City, he flew across New York harbour and circled the Statue of Liberty at waist level.


Card inserted in the above cover - English and Dutch texts.



Aviation History: First Powered Flight - Flyer Model CH of 1913.


The Flyer Model CH (see cachet) was the Wright’s first hydroplane, built in 1913; it was basically a Model C equipped for taking off and landing on water. A smaller pontoon mounted under the rudder supported the tail.

It is to be noted that the Flyer B had already been tested in this 1912 in hydroplane style. The floats attached to the bottom of the boat allowed the pilot to land and take off from a body of water.

Designed by Grover Loening under the supervision of Orville Wright, the Model G was the only flying boat built by the Wright Company (1913). In 1914, the engine was placed in the front of the hull, ahead of the pilot for the first time in a Wright aircraft.


Aviation History: First Powered Flight – Wright’s Flyer Model A.


The cachet of the cover below shows the Wright’s Flyer Model A aircraft, built between 1907 and 1909. It was the first two-seat aircraft in which the occupants sat upright. Orville Wright sits in the passenger seat (on the right of the pilot), while his brother Wilbur is adjusting controls. In this model, a new control system would allow the pilot to operate all controls by means of two levers, as shown on the picture.


Back of the above covers (signed certificate of authenticity).


The above FAI covers are part of the album “The History of Aviation - First Day Cover Collection” (“La Collection d’Enveloppes Premier Jour de l’Histoire de L'Aviation”) containing 110 different first day covers, from all over the world, issued in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the first engine-powered flight (1978), by The Franklin Philatelic Society under the auspices of FAI, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (International Aeronautical Federation), Lausanne, Switzerland. The collection is neatly arranged in a blue embossed binder with the cover page showing the FAI emblem. Each illustrated stamped envelope has descriptions in French and English.

The frame of the picture (related to the Wright Brothers) on the cover is in gold and extends to form another rectangular box across the front of the envelope where the address would normally be written.  Inside this box written in French and English is History of Aviation Stamp Collection. Postally marked on cover describing the event.

On the back of the envelope is the same FAI symbol in gold that reads underneath FÉDERATION AÉRONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE.  Beneath that, there are two paragraphs, one in French and one in English that espouse the Certificate of Authenticity.  At the bottom of the envelope is the signature of Mr. Adolf „Pirat“ Gehriger, the President of FAI between 1977 and 1978.

The cachet design (original art) of the lot of first day covers reports various feats of the Wright Brothers.



Background: Historical note of the flag of Bophuthatswana:

Bophuthatswana was given nominal self-rule in 1971, and became nominally independent on 6 December 1977. The blue and orange colours used on the philatelic material of this issue are similar to those of the homeland’s flag.

The blue symbolises the infinity of the sky and the striving for progress and development. The orange bar refers to the golden path, which must be taken by the Tswana people in order to bring this development to fruition. The leopard's face is symbolic of the authority necessary to lead the people to the development of their potential. Leopards are traditional symbols of authority for the Tswana people.

The leopard’s face can also be seen on the presentation folder and the first day cover.