‘Canadians in Flight’ issue honours pilots, designers, aircraft

Five stamps celebrating legendary examples of Canadian ingenuity, technological prowess and courage in civilian and military aviation were issued today by Canada Post.

Developed with the support of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, one of three museums under the Ingenium brand, the stamps commemorate a First World War pilot, an aviation pioneer and bush pilot, the first woman in the world to receive a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering plus two iconic aircraft.

“As Canada’s storyteller, Canada Post is proud to share these stories of personal bravery and ingenuity, and to commemorate the aircraft that demonstrate Canadian technological innovation,” said Doug Ettinger, who was recently appointed as the new president and CEO of Canada Post.

The stamp issue – the sixth from Canada Post this year – was designed by Ivan Novotny, of Taylor Sprules, and printed by the Lowe-Martin Group using five-colour lithography and PVA gum. It’s available in booklets of 10 stamps (two of each design) and gummed mini-panes of five stamps.

“For each subject came a wealth of material, stunning old photos, rare artifacts and great stories,” said Novotny.

Five official first-day covers are also available as a set or separately with a print run of 8,500 each.

“Ingenium is thrilled that our collection has helped to bring these ground-breaking moments in Canadian aviation to life,” said Christina Tessier, president and CEO of Ingenium. “We hope that by sharing stories of those who dared to think differently, we inspire ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in all Canadians.”

WILLIAM G. BARKER

First World War pilot William George Barker is a Victoria Cross recipient who remains the most decorated member of the military in the history of Canada and the British Empire.

He flew more than 900 combat hours between 1916 and 1918 and is credited with 50 victories over enemy aircraft.

“In war, our grandfather was a trailblazer during the transition from cavalry to aircraft. In peace, he continued to innovate, flying some of the first airmail in history,” said Ian and David Mackenzie, grandsons of William Barker.

“A stamp is a fitting tribute to him.”

‘PUNCH’ DICKINS

Aviation pioneer and bush pilot C.H. “Punch” Dickins logged more than 1.6 million kilometres flying over northern Canada.

The First World War flying ace and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient made the first reconnaissance flight across the unmapped Barren Lands of the Northwest Territories.

“He mapped without GPS. He could fish, trap or catch food to survive. He could repair any plane engine or part. He was brilliant, kind, compassionate, fearless, careful, calculated, responsible, patriotic—a great human being,” said Dickins’ grandson John Dickins.

‘ELSIE’ MacGILL

Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill was the first woman in Canada to receive a degree in electrical engineering, and first in the world to hold a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and to work as a professional aircraft designer.

She was dubbed “Queen of the Hurricanes” in a wartime comic book for her work in overseeing design refinements and production of Hawker Hurricanes. The fighter plane was a stalwart workhorse in the Second World War, and especially the Battle of Britain.

“It’s a privilege to contribute to the Canadians in Flight stamp issue and the effort to introduce more Canadians and people around the world to Elsie MacGill and her inspiring life story,” said Dick Bourgeois-Doyle, former Secretary General of the National Research Council of Canada and author of Her Daughter the Engineer: The Life of Elsie Gregory MacGill.

LAZAIR AIRCRAFT

The Lazair are a family of twin-engine, high-wing ultralight monoplanes designed by Dale Kramer of Port Colborne, Ont.

Manufactured as kits in Canada between 1979 and 1985, the Lazair is still considered one of the best light aircraft ever made.

Kramer received the Roméo Vachon Award in 1983 for outstanding contribution to the development of aeronautics in Canada.

“When I was told the Lazair was chosen for a stamp, I was overwhelmed with pride. I still fly mine, and I never tire of the feelings of freedom and wonder that I experience,” said Kramer, who piloted the Lazair in the main photo shown on the stamp and contributed the background vector drawing. “I am grateful for the many individuals who have carried on the passion for the Lazair. This stamp will fuel their enthusiasm.”

AVRO CF-105

The twin-engine, supersonic Avro CF-105 Arrow interceptor could fly at more than twice the speed of sound.

It is considered one of the greatest technological achievements in Canadian aviation history. Some of its innovative technologies are still in use today.

“I was delighted when I heard that Canada Post was planning a stamp for this aircraft, and honoured to be consulted on its design,” said Chris Gainor, who’s the author of five books on the Avro Arrow and space exploration.

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