The town of Sint-Niklaas is a vibrant and modern city in the heart of Flanders (the north of Belgium). It has about 70.000 inhabitants and is a stone's throw away from major Belgian cities as Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Sint-Niklaas is also the capital of the Waas region and has the largest market place of Belgium. Sint-Niklaas is also world famous for its hot air balloon events.
Seven years of age and my first year in Belgium..
BEAUVECHAIN AIR BASE
During a visit with my uncle Guy, I was confronted for the first time with the Starfighter F 104 G. These are probably the first photographs I ever took.
I stood this close when 24 Starfighters took off in formation for the Belgian National Defile. One of the most fascinating moments in my life!
Posing in front of an RF 84 F Thunderflash
A Canadian Starfighter F 104 G.
Sitting in the cockpit of a French Mirage 3.
The SIAI Marchetti SF.260 is often referred to as the Ferrari of the skies, with its 260 HP Lycoming engine, tapered laminar flow wing, and fighter like tip tanks, this aircraft is sleek, fast, and strong. Capable of cruising at or near 180 knots and having an FAA certification for -2 to + 6 G aerobatic rating approval, this little aircraft is the high performance aircraft pilot's dream. After an aerobatic flight in one of the belgian Air Force Marchettis, I had to reconsider my dreams of becoming a jet pilot…
Standing on the extreme left of the last row, my last year in College before entering the Army. Third from left on the first row is Danny Verstraeten who became a well known anchor man of the Flemish commercial TV (VTM).
A portrait of my sadly missed uncle during the early stages of his flying career.
STAMPE & VERTONGEN SV-4B
The Belgian Air Force pilots started their flying training on SV4B until these were replaced in 1969 by the Marchetti SF260.
KAMINA AIR BASE (CONGO)
Flying the AT6 Harvard.
Sergeant Guy Ghys (front) receives his pilot wings from general Van Rollegem at Brustem airbase.
The 137 promotion, posing in front of the T-33 after receiving their wings. Sergeant Guy Ghys is on the extreme right.
REPUBLIC F-84 F THUNDERSTREAK
First fighter-bomber missions at the 10 Wing, 31 Squadron at Kleine Brogel.
International Conversion Course for the fabulous Starfighter F 104 G. Guy Ghys is standing, second from left
STARFIGHTER F 104 G
Registration number FX 78 (31 Tiger Squadron) at Kleine-Brogel air base.
STARFIGHTER F 104 G BADGE
This badge was worn by my uncle when he had his terrible crash in September 1969 and remained undamaged.
STARFIGHTER F 104 G
The F 104 G or «one-o-four» Starfighter has always been my favorite. This originates maybe from childhood when I was impressed by a massive 24 aircraft take-off at Beauvechain air base.
Captain Guy Ghys posing on one of the four pylon tanks of his «one-o-four»
preparing for a mission over see.
Starfighter on a mission over Belgium
JUNE 1969 NATO EXERCISE AT JEVER (GERMANY)
Captain Ghys (front row, left) was part of the Belgian delegation to take part at this Nato exercise during which his fellow, Capt Jack HUYGEN (top, left) lost his life in a crash at Nordhorn with the FX 36.
24 SEPTEMBER 1969 - END OF A DREAM…
Halfway the runway Capt Guy Ghys noticed that he has insufficient engine thrust and abandons the take-off. The pilot follows the emergency procedure by the book, but then his luck ran out. One after the other the emergency brakesystems failed and the aircraft continues straight ahead off the runway into the overrun, starts tumbling when crossing the Peer-Kleine Brogel road and caughts fire. The pilot ejected in the overrun, just before the aircraft was about to cross the road. But the parachute had no time to open and the pilot is found in a swamp outside the airbase, seriously injured and choking, but alive.
KLEINE BROGEL 1970
Ceremony to Inaugurate a remembrance plate in 31 Squadron in honor to the doctor ( second from left ) who saved Captain Guy Ghys´ life immediately after the accident. My uncle is on the extreme left…