Aerophilately is the branch of philately
Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting, which does not necessarily involve the study of stamps. It is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps...

 that specializes in the study of airmail
Airmail is mail that is transported by aircraft. It typically arrives more quickly than surface mail, and usually costs more to send...

. Philatelists have observed the development of mail
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...

 transport by air from its beginning, and all aspects of airmail service have been extensively studied and documented by specialists.


The scope of aerophilately includes:
  • airmail postage stamp
    Postage stamp
    A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

    s, both official and unofficial (see list of US airmail postage here)
  • other types of labels (such as airmail etiquette
    Airmail etiquette
    An airmail etiquette, often shortened to just etiquette, is a label used to indicate that a letter is to be sent by airmail. The term is from French étiquette "label, sticker" , from which also English etiquette "rules of behavior".- Use :Because the etiquettes are just instructions to postal...

  • postal documents transmitted by air
  • postal marking
    Postal marking
    A postal marking is any kind of annotation applied to a letter by a postal service. The most common types are postmarks and cancellations; almost every letter will have those. Less common types include forwarding addresses, routing annotations, warnings, postage due notices and explanations, such...

    s related to air transport
  • rates and routes, particularly first flight
    First Flight
    First Flight may refer to:* "First Flight" * First Flight , an animated short film* First Flight Airport, in North Carolina, United States* First Flight Handicap, a horse race...

    s and other "special" flights
  • mail recovered from aircraft accidents and other incidents (crash cover
    Crash cover
    A crash cover is a philatelic term for a type of cover, meaning an envelope or package that has been recovered from a fixed-wing aircraft, airship or aeroplane crash, train wreck, shipwreck or other accident...


While most of the study of airmail assumes transport by fixed-wing aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

, the fields of balloon mail
Balloon mail
Balloon mail refers to the transport of mail carrying the name of the sender by means of an unguided hydrogen or helium filled balloon. Since the balloon is not controllable, the delivery of a balloon mail is left to good fortune; often the balloon and postcard are lost...

, dirigible mail, zeppelin mail
Zeppelin mail
Zeppelin mail was mail carried on zeppelins, the German airships that saw civilian use from 1908 to 1939. Almost every zeppelin flight carried mail, sometimes in large quantities; the covers usually received special postmarks, and a number of nations issued postage stamps specifically intended for...

, missile mail, and rocket mail
Rocket mail
Rocket mail is the delivery of mail by rocket or missile. The rocket would land by deploying an internal parachute upon arrival. It has been attempted by various organizations in many different countries, with varying levels of success...

 are active subspecialties. Astrophilately
Astrophilately is the area of philately connected with astronomy and efforts to reach outer space, both manned and unmanned.- Scope :Topics of interest include postage stamps, cancellations, and covers connected to various projects...

, the study of mail in space, is a related area.


International Federation of Aerophilatelic Societies
Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Aérophilatéliques
Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Aérophilatéliques , more commonly known as FISA, is the umbrella association for aerophilatelic societies. FISA represents and promotes Aerophilately and Astrophilately for its collectors within the international world of philately. The FISA Bulletin is an...

, (FISA), is the umbrella organization for aerophilately though aerophilatelists have formed a number of organizations around the world; many of them put out a variety of specialized publications. Federation Internationale de Philatelie
Fédération Internationale de Philatélie
The Fédération Internationale de Philatélie was founded on June 18, 1926 and is the world federation for philately based in Zürich, Switzerland.- Aims :The primary aims of the FIP are:*To promote stamp collecting and philately....

 (FIP) also maintains a commission.

See also

  • Airmail
    Airmail is mail that is transported by aircraft. It typically arrives more quickly than surface mail, and usually costs more to send...

  • Airmail stamps of Denmark
    Airmail stamps of Denmark
    Denmark issued ten definitive airmail stamps between 1925 and 1934 in two distinct series. The 1st series, commonly called The Plow and Airplane was first issued in June 1925. These stamps were designed by Danish artist Axel Peder Jensen . The 2nd series was issued on June 9, 1934 and depicted an...

  • Airmails of the United States
    Airmails of the United States
    Airmails of the United States or U.S. Air Mail relates to the servicing of flown mails by the U.S. postal system within the United States, its possessions, and/or territories, marked as "Via Air Mail" , appropriately franked, and afforded any then existing class or sub-class of U.S...

  • Fitzgerald Collection
    Fitzgerald Collection
    The Fitzgerald Collection is an extensive philatelic collection of air mail stamps donated to the British Library and announced in 1951.In 1953 a further donation of funds was provided by Mrs Augustine Fitzgerald to preserve and catalogue the collection...

  • List of United States airmail stamps

Further reading

  • Richard McP. Cabeen, Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting (Collectors Club, 1979), pp. 207–221
  • Cheryl Ganz, ed. Collecting Air Mail (American Air Mail Society)
  • American Air Mail Catalogue (AAMS, 6th ed. 1998)
  • William Victor Kriebel, A History of the Development of Air Mail Service in Brazil (AAMS)
  • William J. Murphy, Irish Airmail 1919-1990 (Irish Airmail Society, 1996)

External links

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