On the 1909 Vichy meeting "Planes" page there are photos of the Wright of Paul Tissandier and the remains of the Voisin/Zipfel of Armand Zipfel, both carrying race numbers.
I have previously had some doubt whether these photos actually were from 1909, or from the 1910 Vichy meeting where similar race numbers were definitely used. I have now recently seen a date-marked postcard which definitely proves the Tissandier photo is from 1909.
This leaves the question: Where the race numbers carried during the July 18th - 25th 1909 Vichy meeting the first official identification markings ever carried by airplanes? Race numbers weren't used during the few previous meetings and I can't really figure out why any planes should have been identified for any other reasons before July 1909. This was a long time before registration systems came into use and the military, who like marking things, hardly used any airplanes in 1909.
There were of course names of manufacturers, pilots and planes painted on planes before, but I don't consider them "official identifications".
What do you think?
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