The 75th anniversary of the first powered flight


In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright succeeded for the first time in flying a heavier-than-air, engine-powered machine and ushered Year 1 in the history of aviation. This event and the pioneers of the many countries who contributed to this achievement were commemorated in 1978 with an ICAO exhibit in the newly opened UNESCO Pavilion at Man and His World, located at the previous Expo 67 international exposition site in Montreal, Canada.

UN Pavilion at Expo 67. Stamp designed by Olav. S. Mathiesen, Denmark, based on original photograph by M. Drummond.


Expo 67 – Logo.

The exhibition featured large photo reproductions of historic model airplanes from the Quantas Collection and a preview of future aircraft as well as historic photographs from the Librairie Flamarion archives in Montreal. Mr. R.J. Hiscock, noted Montreal philatelist and Chief of the ICAO Management Services Office, organized it.


To mark Canada's centenary, Expo 67 (the abbreviated title of the Universal and International Exhibition of 1967) was open from 28 April to 27 October 1967 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. With the agreement of the Canadian Government, the United Nations Postal Administration had arranged for the first time in history to establish a United Nations postal station outside of UN territory at Expo 67. Five special stamps expressed in Canadian currency, couriers of international understanding and peace, had been designed for mailing and for sale to philatelic collectors at the pavilion, which was sponsored by the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) with the special support from the United Nations Association of Canada. These definitive stamps were the only stamps ever issued by the United Nations in Canadian denominations and became invalid when Expo 67 closed.


Excerpt from the ICAO Bulletin related to the 75th anniversary of the Wright Brothers.

July 1978.


Commemorative cover related to the exhibition, addressed to Mr. R.J. Hiscock.

Franked with the UN New York issued on 12/06/1978 (Safety in the air).



Five special stamps released for Expo 67, expressed in Canadian currency. Issued on 28 April 1967. Peace, Justice, Fraternity and Truth (four principles or aspirations serving the basis of the UN work) designs by Ernest Cormier, Canada, adapted for stamp design by Ole Hamann, Denmark.

The four sculptured panels representing the four aspirations of the UN shown on the four stamps are from the nickel-silver doors at the public visitors’ entrance to the General Assembly Building at UN Headquarters in New York; the panels are the work of Canadian artist Ernest Cormier (1885-1980) and were a gift of Canada to the UN in 1951. More information on Cormier’s art work at the United Nations can be found at the following link: United Nations – Ernest Cormier.



First Day Covers with the stamps issued for Expo 67. United Nations 1967 Official First Day Covers of the World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA).


Souvenir Card Art on United Nations Postage Stamps. Issued on 17 November 1972, with statement and facsimile signature by Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations.


On 20 November 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, hand-copied for the Courrier de l’UNESCO by French Sophie Brabyn, 7 years old at that time. Twenty years later, this Magna Carta for children’s rights was still in abeyance, if not entirely violated. In order to remind the world at large and rally public opinion, 1979 was proclaimed by the United Nations International Year of the Child. To mark the International Year of the Child, the 75 years of powered flight and with the help of some forty national airlines, ICAO held an international children’s art contest throughout 1978 on the theme A World that Moves on Wings. The 100 best entries in this contest became part of a travelling display for exhibition throughout the world. Along with their national media, participating airlines or organizations (one for each country) held domestic contests to select winning entries for the international exhibit, which sought to show how children view aviation at that time. Criteria for selection included spontaneity and freshness of expression reflecting the continuing excitement with or expectations of civil aviation. In addition to honouring aviation pioneers, the contest would help instil an appreciation of the benefits of civil aviation and the universally accepted standards and practices that help make air travel possible.

Ultimate winners were chosen by an international jury drawn from throughout the Organization and presided over by the ICAO Secretary General. The prizes were revealed upon the opening of the exhibit held in Montréal from 1 February through March 1979. At the end of June 1979, the exhibit was shown in the UNESCO Pavilion at Montréal’s permanent exposition Man and His World. In September 1979, the exhibit flew to Europe for the beginning of a tour including the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Algeria, Malaysia, Mauritius and Lebanon. The year 1979 also marked the 35th anniversary of signing of the Chicago Convention; however, due to the confusion left in the dates of anniversary, ICAO celebrated in fact its 35th anniversary on 4 April 1982, as the Organization officially came into being on 4 April 1947.

The prize winners each received a set of silver ICAO commemorative medals issued by the United Nations. Those awarded honorable mentions received an engraved plaque. Seven of the winning original entries, shown hereafter, from the participating countries are displayed at ICAO Headquarters.



ICAO News Release PIO 1/78 announcing the international children’s art contest on the theme A world that moves on Wings to mark the 75 years of powered flight.


ICAO News Release PIO 7/78 announcing the marking of the 75th anniversary powered flight.




Silver ICAO commemorative medal (obverse and reverse) issued by the United Nations in 1978 (Safety in the Air).

ICAO News Release PIO 1/79 announcing the exhibit on the theme A world that moves on Wings and the winners of the children’s art works contest.


Children art contest in the framework of the International Year of Child in 1978.

Third Prize winning entry by Catia Caferelli, 12, of Italy.








Seven of the winning original entries of the international children’s contest on the theme “A World that Moves on Wings”.


Staff Notice annoucing a special exhibition on the Wright Brothers.





Four pages of the souvenir folder available at the Expo 67 exhibition. The third page displays the 5 stamps released for Expo 67. The last page takes the form of a postcard, so that the folder as a whole could be mailed from the exhibition.