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blair.jpg (3582 bytes)My favourite stamp is of  Captain Charles Blair which is from the Irish Aviation Presentation Pack of the Pioneering Age. My stamp was issued on the 24th February 1998. It is a 52p stamp,which is used to send letters to foreign countries.This was the first non-stop commercial flight from Foynes (Co. Limerick) to New York. The name of the plane was the Excalibur. Foynes is  on the Shannon estuary was the European terminus of these flights –which were made by huge flying boats. It was the first passenger plane invented and the first to land on water. Previously passengers went by ships from Cobh (Co. Cork) where the Titanic sailed to America. When the plane landed on water, the passengers were transported by boat to shore. Today is the June 2nd 1999 (57 years later). They were sixteen passengers on board. The flight was supposed to go to Botwood in Newfoundland but there was heavy fog in Botwood and Spediac. They were to land in Halifax (Nova Scotia). The fuel tank was low so they ended up in New York on June 2nd 1942. In 1968 Charles Blair married actress Maureen O’ Hara. He was killed in a plane crash in 1978 This was the first time for an airliner with passengers and mail to fly non-stop to New York, this is now considered as one of Ireland’s greatest achievements.