Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Centenary of Naval Aviation Stamp Presentation Sheet

Prices and Options

Name Price
Centenary of the first deck take-off and landing at sea stamp sheet - Unsigned £30.00 Sold Out
Centenary of the first deck take-off and landing at sea stamp sheet signed Eric Brown CBE DFC £45.00 Sold Out

Product Information


  • Celebrating the centenary of Naval Aviation
  • Limited edition of just 500 sheets
  • Available signed by Eric Brown CBE

Issue Date: 18/01/2011

Issue Name: Centenary of Naval Aviation Stamp Presentation Sheet

Producer: Buckingham Covers


To commemorate this incredible feat of naval aviation, we have created this stunning stamp sheet. With a beautiful Terence Cuneo painting as a background, and a series of naval aircraft pictures depicting the history of naval aviation, what better way to celebrate 100 years of aviation history than with this wondeful stamp sheet.

We are delighted to be able to offer this sheet signed by Eric Brown CBE DFC AFC, former Royal Navy officer and test pilot, who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history! He also holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings, and therefore makes him particularly fitting for this sheet.


  • Celebrating the centenary of Naval Aviation
  • Limited edition of just 500 sheets
  • Available signed by Eric Brown CBE


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Naval Aviation

In October, 1910 Eugene Ely and Glenn Curtiss, founder of the US aircraft industry, met Captain Washington Chambers, who had been appointed by the Secretary of the US Navy to investigate military uses for aviation within the Navy. This led to two experiments. On November 14, 1910, Ely took off in a Curtiss pusher from a temporary platform erected over the bow of the USS Birmingham. The aeroplane plunged downwards as soon as it cleared the 83-foot platform runway, and its wheels dipped into the water before rising. With his goggles covered with spray, Ely landed on a beach nearby, and in doing so became the first aviator to take off from the deck of a ship. Two months later, on January 18, 1911, Ely landed his Curtiss pusher airplane on a platform on the USS Pennsylvania anchored at San Francisco Bay, and in doing so became the fist ever aviator to perform a shipboard landing of an aircraft. This flight was also the first ever using a tailhook system.

Naval aviation has gone on to play an incredibly important role in conflicts at sea. It became very prominent and often decisive in the Second World War, and was used in pre-emptive stikes against naval units in ports, support of ground forces, and anti-submarine warfare.


What are stamp sheets?

A stamp sheet is around A4 size and contains 10 first class stamps (the Airplane stamps in this stamp sheet being an example) contained in a special design. The stamps are valid for postage, but you don't want to be ripping this up! Most people collect sheets in an album although some of them frame them for the wall.


Want to keep your sheets safe? Click here to see our stamp sheet albums


Total number of sheets printed: 500


Captain Eric Melrose "Winkle" Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC (born 21 January 1919) is a former Royal Navy officer and test pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history. He is also the Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated pilot, and holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings.

Eric was born on 21 January 1919, in Leith. He first flew when he was 18. He joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1939 as a Fleet Air Arm pilot, where he was posted to 802 Squadron, initially serving on the early escort carrier HMS Audacity flying the Grumman Martlet. During his service on board the Audacity he shot down two Focke-Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" maritime patrol aircraft. The Audacity was torpedoed and sunk on 21 December 1941 by U-751, commanded by Gerhard Bigalk. Eric Brown was one of only two survivors of the squadron. The loss of life was such that 802 Squadron was disbanded until February 1942. On 10 March 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his service on Audacity, in particular "For bravery and skill in action against Enemy aircraft and in the protection of a Convoy against heavy and sustained Enemy attacks".

During carrier compatibility trials, Eric crashlanded a Fairey Firefly Mk. I, Z1844, on the deck of HMS Pretoria Castle on 9 September 1943, when the arrestor hook indicator light falsely showed the hook was in the "down" position. The fighter hit the crash barrier, sheared off its undercarriage and shredded the propeller, but the pilot was unhurt. On 2 May 1944 he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire "for outstanding enterprise and skill in piloting aircraft during hazardous aircraft trials."

In 1945 he successfully, if raggedly, flew a Sikorsky R-4B helicopter with instruction solely from reading a manual.

After World War II‚ Eric commanded the Enemy Aircraft Flight, an elite group of pilots who test-flew captured German aircraft. That experience makes Eric one of the few men qualified to compare both Allied and Axis "warbirds" as they actually flew during the war. He flight-tested 53 German aircraft, including the Me 163 rocket plane and the Messerschmitt Me 262, Arado Ar 234, and Heinkel He 162 jet planes.

Fluent in German, he helped interview many Germans after World War II, including Wernher von Braun and Hermann Göring, Willy Messerschmitt and Dr. Ernst Heinkel. He was also able to renew acquaintances with German aviatrix Hanna Reitsch, whom he had met in Germany before the war.

As an RAE test pilot he was involved in the wartime Miles M.52 supersonic project, test flying a Spitfire fitted with the M.52's all moving tail, diving from high altitude to achieve high subsonic speeds. He was due to fly the M.52, but this fell through when the project was cancelled, allowing Chuck Yeager to become the first man to exceed Mach 1 in 1947.

Eric is responsible for at least two important firsts in carrier aviation - the first carrier landing using an aircraft equipped with a tricycle undercarriage (Bell Airacobra Mk 1 AH574) on the trials carrier HMS Pretoria Castle on April 4, 1945, and the world's first landing of a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier, landing the de Havilland Sea Vampire LZ551/G on the Royal Navy carrier HMS Ocean on 3 December 1945. He also holds the world's record for the most carrier landings, 2,407.

In 1946 he test flew a modified strengthened and control-boosted de Havilland DH.108 after a fatal crash involving Geoffrey de Havilland, Jr. and discovered that in a Mach 0.88 dive it suffered from a high-g pitch oscillation at several hertz (Hz). He believed that he survived the test flight partly because he was a shorter man - Geoffrey's body had suffered a broken neck possibly due to the violent oscillation. In 1948 Eric was awarded the Boyd Trophy for his work with trials for the rubber deck landing system. On 30 March 1949 he was granted a permanent Royal Navy commission as a lieutenant, with seniority backdated to his original Captain wartime promotion to the rank. He was promoted lieutenant-commander on 1 April 1951.

In the 1960s, due to his considerable experience of carrier aviation, Eric was consulted on the flight deck arrangement of the planned new UK class of aircraft carrier, the CVA-01, although the ship was subsequently cancelled while still on the stocks. He was appointed a Naval Aide de Camp to Queen Elizabeth II on 7 July 1969, and promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1970 New Year Honours. He relinquished his appointment as Naval ADC on 27 January 1970.

He flew aircraft from Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan, and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for flying the greatest number of different aircraft. The official record is 487, but only includes basic types. For example Captain Brown flew several versions of the Spitfire and Seafire, and although these versions are very different they only appear once in the list.

Due to the special circumstances involved, he doesn't think that this record will ever be beaten.

Eric has written several books about his experiences, including many describing the flight characteristics of the various aircraft he flew, and an autobiography. He is also the author of dozens of articles in aviation magazines and journals.

His most well-known series of articles are the 'Viewed from the Cockpit' which were published (and occasionally re-published) in the journal Air International. Captain Brown's studies of famous naval and captured enemy aircraft are refreshing and compelling reading, and include some remarkable types that would otherwise remain mysterious to the aviation enthusiast. Flight review highlights in this series have included the following types:

  • Dornier Do 217
  • Fairey Swordfish
  • Fairey Fulmar
  • Fairey Spearfish, a prototype torpedo bomber (1947) which Eric did not enjoy
  • Fairey Barracuda, which Eric found lackluster and somewhat disappointing
  • Focke-Wulf 190 A and D Series.
  • Grumman F9F Panthers & Cougars, which Eric found (on initial models) somewhat underpowered
  • Hawker Sea Fury
  • Hawker Sea-Hurricane
  • Heinkel He 111
  • Supermarine Seafire, various marks.
  • Bf 109 E (Emil) and G (Gustav) - Eric successfully flew the G-12 Training sub-type from the rear cockpit, a flight that very nearly ended in disaster given the extremely poor visibility afforded the instructor.
  • Me-163 Komet, which is a unique article, as Eric is one of few pilots to fly one of these and not come to grief.
  • Me-262 Schwalbe.
  • Heinkel He 177 Greif bomber, again a unique interpretation.

Eric stopped being a pilot when he turned 70 but he still lectures. He is a regular attendee of British Rocketry Oral History Programme (BROHP), where the annual presentation of the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards takes place. He was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award for 2007.


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