Beaver Airplane Stamp Don’t Take Off With Canadian Airmen

It was intended to honor the De Havilland Beaver – a workhorse of Canadian aviation – but one small stamp causes great upheaval in Canadian aviation circles.

Canada Post unveiled the new stamp to much acclaim on October 13 as part of its Canadians in flight series, honoring the country’s achievements in the field of aviation. The crown corporation even sent its general manager to British Columbia to celebrate the event. Victoria-based Viking Air owns the plans and tools used to build the Beaver and, importantly, the spare parts.

But sharp-eyed aviation historians noticed a flaw. The aircraft depicted on the stamp bears the markings N995SP – an American registration belonging to Sportsman’s Air Service, based in Anchorage, Alaska.

“(The aircraft) originated in Canada. It was salvaged there as wreckage,” said owner Joe Schuster, who refurbished the plane in the 1990s and still flies it more than 500 hours a year, ferrying tourists, fighters and outdoor enthusiasts to hard-to-reach destinations.

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“It flies slowly, rarely exceeds 1,000 feet and carries a large payload.”

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The Beaver was the first all-metal bush plane designed and built in Canada, with 1,692 built between 1947 and 1968. It still holds the record for best-selling Canadian plane. More than 700 are still flying, including 14 in scheduled passenger service on the British Columbia coast with Vancouver-based Harbor Air.

“Somewhere along the line (Canada Post) dropped the ball by putting an American registration on the plane,” said Tim Cole, a Canadian aviator and author whose book Tight floats and tailwinds recounts his life as a bush pilot and administrator for Transport Canada.

“It would be a bit like having a foreign flag behind Terry Fox on a Canadian stamp.”

Click to play the video: “Postage stamp pays tribute to an Indigenous Canadian war hero”

Postage stamp pays tribute to an Indigenous Canadian war hero

Cole’s love affair with airplanes dates back to 1968 when he flew the prototype Beaver, built in 1947. “It was an old airplane then. I wasn’t that happy. It had a nice paint job, but it didn’t fly like a regular Beaver.

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This aircraft is now in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

“Canada Post’s iconic stamp program tells our stories,” spokesperson Phil Legault said in a statement. “We must also shine a light on how Canadians, through their hard work, technology, science and ingenuity, have earned the respect and praise of their peers around the world.

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Stamp collector Brian Grant Duff, owner of All Nations Stamp and Coin, calls the inclusion of an American plane a mistake.

“It’s a funny mistake,” he said. “Obviously the aviation community is upset about this. And flying in airplanes is all about safety and attention to detail, so when something sloppy happens the aviation community can get upset. because she’s all about safety and attention to detail.

Canada Post said the stamp shows the popularity of the beaver far beyond the country’s borders.

Photographer Ron Kellenaers captured the image as the plane took off from Lake Hood in Anchorage.

Canada Post’s Legault said the image represents the important role the beaver has played in the community, “a story that can be told in similar communities around the world.”

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Cole wrote to the Canadian government asking them to withdraw the stamp and reissue it with a Canadian-registered aircraft. So far, he has received no response.

“If it’s a Canadian stamp honoring Canadians,” Cole replied, “hey, let’s be proud of Canada.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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