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General Philatelic/Gen. Discussion : First Flight covers -- explanation needed

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Bobstamp
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27 Apr 2015
06:54:26pm
Roy Lingen, who hosts Stamporama on his BuckaCover and CoverBox servers, is currently offering this first flight cover (FFC):

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Perhaps someone can explain to me why this is considered a First Flight Cover (and I'm not saying it isn't, because it probably is). I know that KLM started flights from CuraƧao to Amsterdam, via New York and Gander, in 1946. I had a friend who flew that route at about that time with his parents; he tells his story, Consternation on a Constellation on my web site. Here's a FFC, a postcard, actually, for that route:

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So, why would a cover posted in 1957 be considered a FFC? If it was a new type of aircraft was being flown, I'd think there would be some indication of that. Were FFCs issued to commemorate the opening of new routes between previously flown destinations? What am I missing something?

Bob
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roy
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27 Apr 2015
07:34:21pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

We typically get a cover such as this out of a large collection of flights where the collector was "subscribed", or aware of every change in the airline equipment, route or schedule. They end up going to collectors who collect according to the airline. I do not have any KLM catalogues myself, but I do have, for example, a Scandinavian airlines (SAS) catalogue around here somewhere.

Given the date (1957), and the absence of a cachet (implying that it may have been a minor flight change), it could well be the first use of jet aircraft on the route (or it could be something else entirely). Frequently, that is documented on the cover, but since these covers are created by individuals, there are no rules.

Clearly, it will only appeal to the collector who recognizes what it is (whatever it is).

Roy


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roy
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27 Apr 2015
07:43:11pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Scratch the first jet idea -- just found this on the KLM site:

In 1960, KLM acquired its first jet planes.

Roy

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Bobstamp
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27 Apr 2015
08:00:44pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Thanks for that information, Roy, although of course it doesn't address my primary question, except to discount the idea that it was a First Jet Flight Cover, which would be an FJFC! Angel It's not just the cover that you're offering that offers up the puzzle. I've seen many such FFCs issued for airlines and destinations that are clearly not new.

Bob

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roy
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27 Apr 2015
08:07:07pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

I guess the answer to you question then, is that the term "First Flight" is loosely applied.

It may mean the absolute first flight of the route, or for that airline, or for a particular type of aircraft. Heck, I've even seen "first cargo flights"! The airlines were happy to promote anything that their followers liked. You should see the covers that Lufthansa produced! (Likely because they had a large and dedicated collector population in Germany). And KLM was a close second.

Roy

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simothecat
28 Apr 2015
03:43:18pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Hi Bob,

From the Dutch Airmail catalogue:

The first cover you show is listed as "Willemstad - New York" as "Eerste vlucht KLM - dienst" (first flight KLM-service}. I guess that it refers to a new route Curacao-New York. As there was a special flight 10-10-1952 which was the 1000th flight Curacao to Netherlands, it must only be referring to the first part of the flight.

The second cover you show went across the South Atlantic (Willemstad - Paramaribo - Natal - Dakar - Lisbon - Amsterdam), so not via New York. It was the first of 15 trial flights. The first one after the war via New York left 8-6-1946.

It is still not clear to me exactly why the 1957 cover is a first flight.

Jan

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Bobstamp
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28 Apr 2015
04:47:28pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Thank you, Jan! That's interesting! I'll have to add that information to my Consternation on a Constellation web page. As you know, I don't speak or read Dutch, unfortunately. That's rather a handicap when it comes to learning about Dutch airmail!

Bob

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smauggie
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29 Apr 2015
10:29:21am
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

What Roy said has been my experience with these covers. At first FFC were issued just for new Airmail routes. I think that first flight cover subscriptions were rather profitable so they began to issue them for any change such as a new airline or new airplane.

There are also first helicopter flight covers out there.

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Bujutsu
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29 Apr 2015
01:52:05pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

That is a great article Bob regarding your "Consternation On A Constellation". It is articles such as yours that can get a collector interested into this facet of collecting. However, I do not need another topic to collect Big Grin What I do collect are the Canadian and Belgian FFC, particularly those of the SABENA airlines (not sure if Belgium had another carrier or not?). I am down to 7 countries that I still collect because of downsizing so I can concentrate more on what I really want to special in.

I am wondering if there is a specialized catalogue on the SABENA FFCs??

This is a great thread.

Chimo

Bujutsu

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Bobstamp
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29 Apr 2015
10:38:18pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Bujutsu,

Thanks for the compliment. Comments like that keep me going!

About FFC catalogues: I'd be surprised if a catalogue for Sabena FFCs exists, but there are a great many books, catalogues, lists, web sites, etc. which deal with FFCs of all sorts. Google "first flight covers catalogue sabena" without the quotes and you'll lots to keep you busy on a rainy day.

Bob

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cdj1122
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30 Apr 2015
05:20:34am
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

I hope it was not the pilot's first flight as CO ?
Although even if it was, it must have worked out okay.

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EmpireDispatch
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27 Aug 2018
04:26:24pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Trying to revive the thread a little.

I myself have an interest in FFC. As Roy says, often when airlines introduced new aircraft on a specific route, typically when the aircraft in question is big and/or prestigious, they'll issue a new FFC even though the route isn't new.

Since Scandinavian Airlines is mentioned in the thread (briefly Winking ) I thought I should share this FFC of Scandinavian Airlines first flight on the Copenhagen - New York route using their new Boeing 747s in 1971. Although it was a very frequented route it proved to be a financial disaster as the route wasn't large enough to fill the planes. Today SAS operates Airbus A330 and A340 on the US routes, also large aircraft but much more fuel efficient and more versatile to operate on SAS other routes.

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Both British Airways and Air France extensively issued FFC when they introduced the Concorde in service on their routes.

Since a few years have passed since the last post - does anyone know of a website that works as a catalog for FFCs, something in the line of Colnect.com or likewise?

Thank you kindly -

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empiredispatch.wordpress.com
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27 Aug 2018
04:38:40pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

There is a lot of information on this site

http://www.aerodacious.com/

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Bobstamp
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21 Feb 2021
09:36:32pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

I'm working on a new web page, concerning the 1954 crash of Alitalia Flight 451 at Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy Airport) in New York City. In my collection I have a first flight cover commemorating the first airmail flight between New York and Rome. Its receiving postmark reads "ROMA FERROVIA," translated as "ROME RAILWAY". I assume that the railway had or perhaps still has a postal division. Can any StampoRama members provide any details? Here's the FFC:

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Bob

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roy
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21 Feb 2021
10:25:21pm
re: First Flight covers -- explanation needed

Bob,

Here is my example of a crash cover from that flight, from my small collection of airline crash covers:

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Roy

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