Aviation photo’s from the fifties

While I was defending my bachelor paper yesterday, the other members of the aviation photocrew left for Turkey, where they will be doing some nice things. (Who said students have an easy life?). With two more exams to come I couldn’t join them. That’s why I’ll be posting some old photos. And I do mean old! It’s actually a very short paper I had to write for school. You might have seen the pictures before as I have posted them a year ago. But this time I actually have something useful to say about them.

Let’s start with the beginning. These pictures were pics in the personal album of Joseph Samyn. The grandfather of a friend of mine who unfortunately passed away some years ago. I have met him only once and had the opportunity to make some photo’s of his album. He was an airplane mechanic on several airbases in the fifties and has a great photoalbum. For school I had to analyze several ‘historic’ pictures. I decided to use 5 pictures of his album. Hopefully I’ll be able to see his album again, because I hope to analyze more of his pictures. I’ll only analyze 3 pics now, I’ll do the next 2 in a later post.


This first picture shows a man standing before a helicopter that looks like a Sikorsky S-51. The type has never been used by the Belgian Air Force and the roundel on the tail looks British (or French). While googling for the specific type I came across a pictures showing the different types and this one looks like the type used by the British Navy. But when looking at other pictures from Navy S-51’s, the roundel seems to be place much closer to the cockpit. When looking at the French, the roundel seems to be place wrong as well. The British option does seem most plausible as Joseph has worked or been in the U.K. for a while. The man in front of the picture is being identified as Bordon from Bruges, who crashed in the Congo with someone called ‘Vallays’. Vallays didn’t bring much information in Google, but I did find an article which recalls a crash from someone who’s called Allaeys and Bordon in 1965. Their remains and that of their H-21 were only found in 2005.



The next two pictures are both of SV-4’s. Both the pictures are probably made at Koksijde (Belgium) as the SV’s were based there in those years. The first pic shows two people who of whom I’m not sure who they are. The plane in the background is the SV-4 with serial number V-24. A search on Google didn’t give me any results on the current state of the plane.

The second photo shows an SV-4 with two people of which the left one should be Joseph. I don’t know who made these photos but it’s sure that this one isn’t made by Samyn. The SV in this pic is V-16. Looking on Google I found this plane was used by the Belgian Air Cadets in the sixties. After that it was sold to a pilot in Canada. A guy, Roger Hadfield, would have bought it after that. Roger happens to be the dad of Chris Hadfield. The astronaut who has just come back from the ISS and got famous on the internet with this video.

I decided to contact Chris on Twitter to ask him wether this plane is still flying. I’m very happy he took the time to respond and as a  matter of fact, this SV-4 is still flying today. Thanks to the good care Joseph has given her back in the fifties? Who knows.

Schermafbeelding 2013-06-05 om 21.34.01


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