Air Route Inauguration Issue
A special triangular airpost issue marked the first airmail service between Beira and Salisbury.
Mozambique Company's triangular airmail stamps commemorating the inauguration of the Blantyre (Nyasaland)-Beira (Mozambique Company)-Salisbury (Southern Rhodesia) air route depict an Armstrong-Whitworth Atalanta airliner over Beira. The four-engine airliner built by Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Limited at Coventry,
was designed to meet a 1930 Imperial Airways requirement for an airliner for its African lines. It was a high-wing monoplane with four radial engines. It was made of steel, plywood and fabric and had a fixed but streamlined undercarriage.
The aircraft had few design flaws and any teething problems were quickly overcome. The Atalanta could carry up to 17 passengers but Imperial Airlines limited the seating to 11 on the African route. Imperial Airways ordered eight aircraft which had all been delivered by 1933. The prototype G-ABPI left Croydon Airport on 5 January 1933 on a proving flight to Cape Town, South Africa.
As noted in the Stanley Gibbons advertisement below, one of the planes crashed with injuries to both pilots during take off from Kisumu, Kenya in late 1935. Imperial withdrew the Atalanta from its African routes in 1937, with two being leased by Wilson Airways for operations in Kenya until July 1938.
Stanley Gibbons advertisement of Mozambique air mail issues depicting the Atalanta over Beira.
Photo of Kisumu plane wreck reported in The Sun, Sydney, Australia on December 30, 1935.
"Armstrong Whitworth Atalanta." Wikipedia. 13 Sep. 2017. Wikimedia Foundation.
Web. 16 Sep. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armstrong_Whitworth_Atalanta.
"Handsome Triangular Air Mails." Gibbons Stamp Monthly. Mar. 1936: iv. Print.
"Imperial Air Liner Wrecked." The Sun. 30 Dec. 1935: 12. Web. http://trove.nla.gov.au/
"Mozambique Company." Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 2015. Print.
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