70th anniversary of the Falkland Islands Government Air Services celebrated on four new stamps


06 December 2018
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Pobjoy Stamps has released details of four new stamps issued on behalf of the Falkland Islands to mark seven decades of FIGAS, the government air service of the Falkland Islands.

The Falkland Islands Government Air Services (FIGAS) has been a crucial part of Falkland life since 1948, when the Falkland Islands Government purchased two light single engine Auster aircraft.

Captain Vic Spencer was appointed as the first FIGAS pilot along with Maurice Smith as first engineer. The aircraft arrived in the Falklands in November and were assembled at the Stanley racecourse which was originally used to take off and land.

FIGAS on the Falkland Islands

The first test flight was conducted from there by Vic Spencer on 19 December 1948. Shortly after this first test flight, on 24 December, a small girl suffering from Peritonitis was flown from North Arm settlement to Stanley. This resulted in the first passenger/medical flight undertaken in the Falklands.

Seventy years later, FIGAS remains an essential part of the Falklands transport infrastructure and way of life. The fleet now consists of five Islanders, one of which is a dedicated Maritime Patrol aircraft. Flying is becoming increasingly more seasonal with ground-based tourists; Cruise Liner passengers and local passengers making up most of the traffic. Round Robin flights, freight, fishery zone surveillance patrols, commercial charter operations and scenic flights complement the core business.

The four FIGAS stamps

G-AJCI (VP-FAB) Auster 4       31p

Constructed in 1944 the aircraft was purchased by the FI Government and arrived in Stanley November 1948 and test flown by Vic Spencer, FIGAS’ first pilot who can be seen on the stamp holding a map, the following March. The aircraft remained marked as G-AJCI until late 1949 when the FI Registration Certificate (VP-FAB) was issued but the FI Registration Letters were never worn. Its last known flight was 30 October 1951, after which it was withdrawn from service.

 

VP-FAD Norseman V           76p

Purchased by FIDS in 1949 for an Antarctic rescue mission VP-FAD was involved in the rescue of 5 of 11 men who had become marooned on Stonington Island, Graham Land. After this it was loaned to and then purchased by FI Government in 1950. It was withdrawn from service in 1953 due to advanced corrosion.

 

VP-FAH  DHC-2 Beaver     £1.01

VP-FAH was purchased new by the FI Govt for FIGAS. Wearing a "Consolidated Blue" cheat line on a silver airframe, it was shipped on 'Fitzroy' to Stanley, arriving there in July 1958.  Unpacked and assembled as a floatplane prior to being flight-tested from Stanley Harbour by Jim Kerr of FIGAS on 19 August 1958. Despite being damaged in 1960 at Shell Point, Fitzroy, when it was driven on to a rocky beach at high tide whilst being maneuvered through some narrows, it was repaired and remained in service until 1967 when it was sold.

 

VP-FBM BN-2B-26 Islander     £1.22

VP-FBM entered service in May 1989 and is one of the 5 Islanders currently in service with FIGAS.

Stamp details

Issue date: 19 December 2018

Designer: Bee Design

Printer: Cartor Security Printing

Process: Stochastic Lithography

Perforation: 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size: 42 x 28mm

For more information, or to place an order, visit Pobjoy Stamps.