Aircraft over Pitcairn

This issue follows the 1989 “Aircraft” issue and is entitled “Aircraft over Pitcairn” and features a further four, very different aircraft. Although Pitcairn has no landing strip, contact with others is vitally important even if it is simply a plane flying overhead. If the aircraft are lower than high-flying commercial aircraft they cause great excitement in Adamstown, with most of the residents rushing outside to witness the event.

Aircraft over Pitcairn $1.00Walrus (August 1937)
In 1937 Pitcairn was visited by the cruiser H.M.S. Leander and new signboards were erected to reaffirm British sovereignty. Each read:

This island belongs to H.B.M. King George VI. It was visited by H.M.S. Leander on 6th of August 1937. Signed J.W. Rivers-Carnac, Capt. R.N.

In connection with the Leander's visits, Flight Lieutenant R.A.R. Rae, from a Walrus single-engine amphibious biplane, took aerial photographs of each island. Flagpoles, with the Union Jack flying, were also erected and charted on each island. The visit was to ascertain their suitability for use as land or sea-plane bases in view of the then awakening interest in Trans-Pacific aviation. In 1938 the islands were formally incorporated into one administrative district known as the “Pitcairn Group of Islands.” In December of 1940 the Royal Navy discovered that a Union Jack had been replaced by a Nazi Swastika. The landing party sent ashore also discovered this notice:
With apologies to King George VI, this island is now the property
 of the Greater German Reich.

Aircraft over Pitcairn $1.50Alouette III (December 1971)
The French helicopter cruiser Jeanne d’Arc (10,575 tons, four 100mm guns, 8 helicopters, 6 Exocet missiles and a complement of 627) visited Pitcairn as part of a training exercise, along with the escort vessel Victor Schoelcher. One of the helicopters landed on Pitcairn and the Islanders were invited to visit the cruiser. “There were ‘noisy birds’ flying around all the time” wrote a correspondent for the Island’s newspaper.


Aircraft over Pitcairn $1.80Dassault VP-BMS Falcon 900 (August 2002)
While little is known about this particular aeroplane, Google describes it as extraordinarily widely travelled, having been sighted all over the world. It describes it as a plane with a colourful history. It belongs to a Bermudan company 'Flying Lion' but is based in Boca Raton, Florida. Flying Lion is owned by Lord Ashcroft, formerly the British Conservative Party treasurer, who is alleged to have circumvented British political party funding rules by 'donating' the aircraft to transport Conservative MPs during election campaigns. Lord Ashcroft recently visited New Zealand in this aircraft, following his posting of a reward for the recovery of many famous medals stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum.
In 2002 the Pitcairn Commissioner received this communication:
“This is to inform you that our airspace has just been invaded by VP-BMS Falcon 900 which departed Tahiti Airport at 17h 19UTC and flew over and around Pitcairn several times at around 2000 UTC. A fax informing us of the flyover was here at Satcom when I came in a few minutes ago, after the event. Betty. Com Off”.

Aircraft over Pitcairn $2.50Piper Comanche 260C (March 2007)
The April 2007 edition of Miscellany wrote:
“Is it a bird…no, it’s a plane! A rare and unusual event took place late last month in the skies over Pitcairn Island. At 7.45am on March 28, most residents were outside craning their necks and scanning the skies to follow the progress of a small blue and white plane as it circled around the Island several times before continuing on into the wild blue yonder”.
For some of the younger Islanders it was the first time they had seen an aeroplane. It was in fact Wojciech Mirski who piloted his Piper Comanche during stage two of his world trip and dropped a small parcel, with a parachute and cow-bell attached, for his friend Meralda Warren, but despite several searches, it hasn’t been found yet.  The Islanders described it as like looking for a needle in a haystack, given the Island’s luxuriant tropical growth!
Aircraft over Pitcairn FDC

Aircraft over Pitcairn
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars
Single set$6.80
Gutter Pair set$13.60
Block of 4 set$27.20
First Day Cover with stamps $8.30


Technical Details

Designer:
Barry Spicer, Surrey Downs, South Australia
http://www.barryspicer.com.au
Pitcairn Stamps
proudly brought
to you by:
Bounty Post
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand
Process: Offset Litho
Stamp size:40.0 mm x 30.0 mm horizontal
Sheet Format: 2 panes of 20 stamps with a central gutter
Perforation Gauge: 13.33 x 13.60
Denominations: Stamps $1.00, $1.50, $1.80 and $2.50
Paper: 104gsm Tullis Russell non phosphor gummed paper
Period of Sale:
21 October  2009 for a period of 2 years