Norway Celebrates 100 Years of Aviation

To mark the occasion of the centennial of Norwegian aviation, Norway Post issued a three stamp set on May 18, 2012. The stamps picture various aircraft that have figured in the country's aviation history: "Start" a German-built Rumpler Taube denominated Kr 14.00, a Douglas DC-3 Dakota denominated KR 15.00, and a Schempp-Hirth Discus B denominated Kr 27.00.

Norway rushed into aviation on June 1, 1912 when Hans Fleischer Dons flew from Gannestadjordet in Borre near Horten, to Øra near Fredrikstad. A Swedish pilot, Carl Cederström, had already flown over the Norwegian capital of Blériot. Anxious to regain their airspace a group of naval officers organized and raised funds to buy a German Rumpler Taube. The plane was named "Start" to note its connection to the birth of Norwegian aviation. A monoplane made from wood and steel wire with canvas wings, the Rumpler Taube was Germany's first mass produced military aircraft. Start was badly damaged in a 1914 crash. However the plane was completely rebuilt and named "Start 2." It can be seen at the Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection at Gardermoen.

The United States built Douglas Dakota pictured in the Kr 15.00 stamp is the military transport version of the DC-3 that figured so prominently in both military and commercial aviation in the 1930s and 40s. More than 10,000 DC-3s were produced, and the fact that some still fly today is testament to their robustness. The Dakota Norway Foundation owns and flies a DC-3 that was purchased from the Finnish Air Force in 1985.

The graceful glider (or sailplane) pictured in the Kr 27.00 high value of the set is a Schempp-Hirth Discus B. The Discus B was manufactured in Germany between 1984 and 1995; production has since transferred to the Czech Republic. The glider seats one person (the pilot). It is 6.58 m (21 ft 7 in) long and has a wingspan of 15 m (49 ft 3 in). Although considered a high performance craft, it is easy to handle and assemble making the Discus B popular with flight clubs.

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