A product of the first flights into and out of the Canal Zone, the first five Canal Zone airmails are known by collectors as 'The Provisionals' or the 'First Air Mail Series Surcharges'. Charles A. Lindbergh's flight from Miami on a circuitous route via Cuba and Central America during the first week of February 1929 initiated the period.
On the initial return flight to Miami a few days later, letters were charged a total of twenty-seven cents—that is, two cents for the 'postage' and twenty-five cents for the airmail service to the United States. Accordingly, a supply of existing Goethals 2-cent regular stamps were surcharged at the Mount Hope Press with a new value of twenty-five cents. Furthermore, it was decided that only airmail stamps should be used on airmail letters, although this was not strictly followed at all times. By the end of 1929, three other surcharged airmail stamps had been issued in denominations of 10-cent, 15-cent, and 20-cent on other regular Canal Zone stamps. In March 1931 a second variety of the 15-cent stamp was prepared when exiting stocks ran short.