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This article has arisen out of correspondence between the editor and Canadian member, Geoff Dryden on the subject of how many series of postcards were issued by the UK aviation magazine Flight International.

The magazine, copies of which used to carry the subtitle “The first aeronautical weekly in the world”, was founded in 1909 and traded as “Flight” until 1969 when the title was expanded to the current “Flight International”. It issued real photographic postcards in the 1960’s which for many years were very common in dealers stocks, probably due to residual stocks having been sold off by the company. Due largely to the photograph quality, some the civil airliner issues are now more sought after, and indeed a number featuring Heathrow are shown in the catalogue. But these were not the first such to be produced. 

Each series of Flight cards featured a mixture of contemporary and historic shots from that companies huge photo archive. For that reason, it is not clear when the first photo series was produced but it was probably in the 1930s. The Bristol F2B is one of these and can be identified by the Flight logo with the large F trailing off to a small T and the fact that under the type description, the engines are quoted with their horsepower.

The back of these cards is similar to other cards of that era – see Example a) at the end of this article. There also exist cards of 1940s subjects in an identical style – with engine details and the same back – but no Flight logo. The Airacobra shown is one of these.

Many cards from the 1930s were reprinted, in 1969 as evidenced by the addition of International to the magazine title. Otherwise the most obvious difference is the card back, with more “modern” fonts and the addition of a stamp box. A more subtile difference is that the engine horsepower is deleted and simply the number of engines given. There are a few cards in circulation where this change is made on an original 30s card in red ink. It is thought that these were used to instruct the printer of the reprinted edition and subsequently disposed of. The Hawker Hind is one of these reprints and the back style is as in Example b).

The magazine added International to its title in 1969 and this also appears on a new set of cards from this time. These included current items and some from more recent history. For example Heathrow views from 1949, 1954 and 1957 were included. Card descriptions in this series either include a date or engine details. The Meteor 7s from this set have the engines described. The Flight logo is in the same style as the pre-war cards.


In 1970 the magazine adopted a different logo with more squat letters of almost equal size. Some cards were reprinted with this logo, which on the cards actually reverses the sizing of the original with the F slight smaller than the T. The Autair Viking below illustrates the reprint and the “date” as distinct from “engine” text.

The back fonts were also different as per Examples c) and d). So far all cards were gloss finish real photographic but the final variation appears to have been to print some with the latest logo with a more matt finish. The Autair Viking is one of these.

It is unlikely that Flight has produced any cards since – except flimsy “tear-offs” with a pre-printed address for promotion purposes. However, given that it was founded at the height of the Edwardian postcard era it is possible that much earlier cards may exist. Back text styles of  Flight magazine postcards, top to bottom.

a)      1930s style

b)      1969 reprints

c)      1969 new series

d)      1970s updated



 by Christian Gerbich

The starting point of this article was finding the following post card (no publisher details) depicting Hamburg Airport of the end 40’s or early 50’s. To me this card has two interesting aspects:

1. It reminds me of a feature in the Aviation Postcard Club Newsletter No. 26 (1999), where a discussion started about British and later worldwide airline issued Viking cards. Beside a terrifying low level flight of an airplane - may be a Viking - another "Pregnant Dakota" is clearly visible. The registration could be identified as G-AJBS. In addition to the flying key insignia this leads to it being of BEA. Unlike the formerly discussed G-AHOK this registration is no fake. After service for BEA it became registration T-93 of the Air Force of Argentina.

2. It inspires me to present the early days of more than 90 years history of Hamburg Airport.

Triggered by a speech of the well known Graf Zeppelin on March, 5 1910 in Hamburg several private investors started a search for a suitable area (45 hectare) to build an airship production hangar. In January 1911 the Hamburger Luftschiffhallen GmbH (HLG) was founded in the Village of Fuhlsbuettel, located in the outer area of Hamburg. Already in 1913 the area was enlarged to 60 hectare now including an airfield for aeroplanes. During WWI the airship production hall burned down and it was said that the airfield was paved with aeroplane wrecks. Still in desolate conditions one of the world first airlines (DLR) started regular service from Hamburg to Berlin on February 5, 1919. Due to the restrictions of the Versailles treaty DLR finally ceased operations in 1921 and the airship production hall was completely removed. But in 1921 the City of Hamburg started to rebuilt the airport area. Subsequently this resulted in the world wide first radio station (1923), location station for landing aeroplanes (1926), linking the airport to the city by trams (1926) and finally terminal A and B (1929) including passenger and cargo services, administration and cafe. Over 80 cities (20 international) were serviced at that time. This 1929 status is visible on this recently issued card.

The following card again recently issued, showed the airport area in 1932 with the largest landplane at that time - the Junkers G38.

Between the wars the grassland next to the terminal, which was used by visitors for strolling, was reduced more and more. In 1939, four days before the beginning of WWII the airport was confiscated by German Air Force. Amazingly Hamburg Airport experienced no damage during WWII, but the Royal Air Force took over the administration in 1945. Due to the deployment of British troops the first regular service was implemented on September 1, 1946. The airline, that offered this service was BEA. The route served by BEA was London-Amsterdam- Hamburg-Berlin. So, at this point we've reached full circle. Beside the Vickers Viking shown on the first card of this article also some Dakotas were in service. This is as shown by a card issued by Verlag Hans Andres No. E22

Beside an SAS DC6 and a KLM CV240 in background, that indicate a year after 1948, a C-47A-DK G-AGJV is shown on this black-and-white card. The Construction number of this Dakota is 12195, first registered as 42-92399 then FZ638 and G-AGJV. Since no insignia are visible, we have to deal with the question, what airline we do see here? The only hint is the registration. On the basis of the registration several airlines can be considered: Derby Airways; British Midland, Air Anglia and BEA. On the history of Airport Hamburg only the latter seems reasonable. After registered as N195SP it was finally VP-LVM of Air BVI wrecked at San Juan, Puerto Rico due to a hurricane in 1987.

The third International contribution comes from Leonardo Pinzauti, Florence, Italy and realates to the same period as BEA Viking operations from Hamburg





The tiny independent airlines set up in Italy in the post-war years did not last for a very long time. Most of them collapsed within a couple of years after the start up of operations in 1947. Three of them namely Airone of Cagliari, SISA of Trieste and Transadriatica of Venice, were rescued by FIAT- controlled ALI (Avio Linee Italianne). Starting from Jan 1 1949 networks, fleets and employees of these four companies were merged and operated under a new banner – ALI-Flotte Reunite (=ALI United Fleets). The operational merger was fully accomplished on the following March 1, while the  formal and legal integration date was August 27. In 1952 ALI-FR was taken over by LAI which in turn, in November 1957, merged with the first Alitalia to form Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane – Italy’s main air carrier.

The card shows ALI-FR DC-3 I-TRES at Venafiorita, Olbia old airport, located in NE Sardinia. In the late 40s it was basically a wartime airfield with a grass runway, a small two-story building and very poor ground facilities. This black and white card, where the photographer has tried to “level” the DC-3  and instead  produced a sloping horizon, seems to have been printed in Terni by Edizioni Angeli. The numerical code on the front (5) was possibly given by the publisher. This  could be Puddu, a local shop whose name is on the back of a b&w Olbia 5 view card, one of them being the same image of I-TRES. To make things more mysterious another b&w photo card coded 5 is known. It shows a pair of Airone Fiat G.12L on the grass at Venafiorita Airport. Both printer and publisher are unknown.

DC-3 I-TRES was originally manufactured for the USAAF as a C-47B-1DK (c/n 25573/14128). On February 14 1947 it was registered to Transadriatica as I-TRES. Together with the rest of the fleet it passed to ALI-FR and finally to LAI, being re-registered I-LILI on April 30 1952 and named “Guido Bottoli”. The aircraft found a new owner in the UK as it was registered to Transair on 10 August 1956 as G-AOUD and passed through a series of mergers and de-mergers to British United Island AW . It then returned to the US, being last recorded in 1971.


Our 2002 Catalogue – the first to feature an airport rather than an airliner is now available and an order form can be found here (click on the thumbnail).

UK prices are held at £6 but overseas prices have had to rise due to increased air-mail rates.  Members also have the option to receive updates of the listings sections of the Comet, VC-10 and 111.

The Heathrow volume lists around 230 cards and illustrates 160. The difference is largely accounted for by multi-views and common images between publishers. The black and white sections, which account for about 50% of the illustrations use the same digital printing as the latest Newsletters. One difference from airline catalogues is that, with the airliner being the main card subject, not a lot is lost by small scale reproduction. On airport cards the fascination is often in the detail which can be lost in reduction – so sometimes you will just have to take my word for what is there. As not all members will be familiar with the various layouts of Heathrow over the years an orientation section has been provided by annotating appropriate aerial views. Also, in a break from previous practice, the sequence is chronological, and within that by publisher. This highlights the decline of the Heathrow postcard as the age breakdown is :-

Pre 1945 site cards 4
1945-9 12
1950s 105
1960s 30
1970s  41
1980s 8
1990s 18
2000 3

At intervals, key events, which enable cards to be dated, are listed e.g buildings opened, BEA colour scheme changes, such as the 1972 flag tail scheme shown en-masse in this retrospective Trident card from the Carl McQuaide series.

Earlier issues continue to attract the odd sale and the totals are :-
UK Europe  N America Other Total
Comet 31 11 14 1 57
VC-10 30 14 15 1 60
BAC111 29 11 9 1 50

Which shows the UK uptake as very consistent with the VC-10 gaining due to overseas popularity.  New card issues and old ones uncovered continue to add to all of these – here are a couple.

BUA BAC-111 at ? Ljubliana, then Yugoslavia. Discovered on Ebay by Simon Penn.

Recent issue from the malta Aviation Museum. RAF VC-10 XV104. This series also has a Nimrod on take off and others as background for other take-off shots.



As befits  the Christmas/New Year/Holiday/Other mid-winter festival season, and, being an International publication and thus in favour of goodwill to most men, here is a small contribution to the demolition of national stereotypes. It is accepted that the English are noted for obsessions with obscure hobbies, while we believe that other nationalities are have equally bizarre obsessions with such as food, opera, bullfighting, tulips, etc etc. Equally we believe that we alone possess a sense of humour and this is notably lacking elsewhere. It is therefore totally against this stereotype that probably the only airline to produce a genuinely and intentionally comic set of cards was not only German but East German (DDR) at that.  Interflug produced a set of unusually propelled cartoon airliners and here are the steam and clockwork versions.