A B-52 over Antwerp airport, that’s
what you get when local press announces that a B-25 Mitchell is due to
attend the annual Stampe Fly In at Deurne. As it happened, neither the
B-52 or B-25 materialized, though it is unlikely many people minded at
this free event.
It was and still is a celebration of what is arguably Antwerp’s
greatest aviation achievement: the Stampe Vertongen SV4 biplane
training aircraft. Joining in the fun were a host of interesting
classic aircraft: Ercoupe, Stearman, a Beaver and Harvard of the KLu
Historic Flight, Super Cub, Bell 47, Ryan PT-22, a formation of
Chipmunks that was attending the Chipmeet at nearby Zoersel, a Rearwin
Cloudster, a Pilatus P.3, the list goes on.
Eric Vormezeele brought along his Fiat G46 for the static display.
His son Frederic was present with one of the star attractions of the
event, the P-51D Mustang “Old Crow”. During the course of the weekend,
he performed 3 demonstrations together with a Spitfire MkXVIII of ARCO,
flown by Rod Dean. A second Spitfire, a MkIXT in Dutch colours,
unfortunately suffered a landing gear mishap at Lelystad on its way
back to Antwerp and was therefore unable to attend.
On Sunday, in keeping with tradition, a dozen SV4s from all over Europe
took to the sky for a formation flight, a fitting tribute to this
This year, more than ever before, it somehow seemed that the SV4s were
a little lost between the other classic aircraft, which has led to
some discussion about the purpose of this event.
It must be said that these other aircraft certainly add to the appeal
of the event and probably attract a broader audience, resulting in
record crowds this year, in turn raising awareness and perhaps
implicitly even support for classic aviation in Belgium. Surely this
growing public interest can only be welcomed in a country that is not
In any case, the Stampe Fly In was once again a rousing success, helped
by glorious weather, a positive mood and affordable drinks. Who cares
if some more aircraft than expected turned up? One negative point of
all the press coverage was that the view was often obscured by a mob
of fluorescent jackets. Perhaps the organizers should look into this issue,
making sure that press never stands in the way of the general public?
Still, this is only a small gripe, the organizers deserve ample praise
for their efforts in providing such a wonderful free event!
by Chris Janssens
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present