OO-CBG Photo - revisited

by R.G. Pelley

Since my last article, with an unconfirmed photo of the Sabena DC-4 00-CBG before it crashed, I have continued looking for a confirmed photo.  I was very lucky to come across some additional information that was very easy to miss because it was written largely in Flemish, which along with French, is one of Belgium’s two official languages.  Even better, I was able to make contact with the person who had this information.  Though I had never met this gentleman, I felt that we had much in common because his website, like ours, talks about an airport that has gone through radical change.  In his case, the airport has been entirely closed down since 1985.

The photo dates from Sunday, 8th September, 1946, on the occasion of the commemoration of the first anniversary of liberation of the city of Ghent (East-Flanders, Belgium) and the re-opening of the local airfield Ghent Sint-Denijs-Westrem.

This was done at the initiative of the local flying club G.A.C. (Ghent Aviation Club), the city of Ghent and the Belgian ministry of aviation. It also took into account the much-needed post-war commercial element as the opening of the “Jaarbeurs der Vlaanderen” (Annual fair of Flanders).


The show had actually already started on Saturday, 7th September, when participating aircraft from American, French, British and Belgian squadrons arrived in waves. The first were from the Belgian Airforce, 349th and 350th wing with their Spitfires for a total of 24 aircraft. Sometime later, the minister of civil aviation, Mr. Rongvaux, arrived on a Sabena DC-4. This was certainly the biggest and heaviest aircraft that ever landed and took off again from the grass airfield of SDW.



He arrived on a brand-new Sabena Douglas DC-4 type 1009 (Construction number 42986) with the Belgian Civil Aviation registration OO-CBG.

I also got a second photo which tends to confirm the authenticity of the photo posted in the last article. This one shows OO-CBG, either on take-off or landing, in roughly the same area, but with smoke as a wind direction indicator.



Only 10 days later, this same aircraft was scheduled to fly from Brussels to New York but crashed 35 kms south-west of Gander.  Given its extremely short life span, it is easy to understand why photos of this aircraft are practically unexistant.

A very special thanks to the gentleman who furnished the information and photos, Mr. Guy Vanderlinden, a well-respected Belgian pilot.  He has flown the DC-3, DC-6, Boeing 707, Airbus 300, L-1011Tristar  and has almost 11000 hours on the Boeing 747. He retired from commercial flying (Singapore Airlines) in 2002.

Researched and contributed by R G Pelley



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