This omnibus issue commemorates the first flight across the South Atlantic, from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, in 1922, to commemorate the centenary of Brazil’s independence.
Due to various problems and accidents, navigator Gago Coutinho and pilot Sacadura Cabral had to use three Fairey IIID seaplanes, named Lusitânia, Pátria and Santa Cruz, to complete the 8,383km long trip. They were rescued twice from the ocean, both times at the St Peter and St Paul Archipelago, by the Portuguese navy cruiser NRP República (formerly HSM Gladiolus) and by the British cargo ship Paris City. The ships took them to Fernando de Noronha, where they got their second and third planes. It took them 79 days to reach Rio, although the total flight time was just over 62 hours.
The voyage was only possible due to Coutinho’s invention of incorporating two spirit levels in a traditional marine sextant, thus providing an artificial horizon that made navigation without reference to the real horizon possible. This revolutionised air navigation at the time.
The mainland stamps were designed by the Post Office Art Department, lithographed by the Mint on enamelled paper sheets of 10×10 stamps with perforation 11¾×12½, and circulated from 15 November 1972 to 31 December 1983.
The overseas stamps were designed by Alberto Cutileiro, lithographed by Litografia Maia on glazed paper sheets with perforation 13½, and issued on 20 September 1972.