Mystery of Missing Flight F-BELV

As the World continues to shrink there are still mysteries and the story of missing F-BELV makes an intriguing puzzle. The missing aircraft disappeared as it flew between Saigon and Hanoi. – Very Highly Recommended.

NAME:   Mystery of Missing Flight F-BELV
FILE: R3168
AUTHOR: Stephen Wynn
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £19.99                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, 
Pacific War, Far East, jungle fighting Indo China, Vietnam, Geneva Accords, Cold 
War, Domino Theory, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Boeing 
Stratocruiser, ICSC, accord implementation, anti-aircraft artillery, flight path, air 
crash, missing plane. Overdue Flight

ISBN: 1-47384-595-5

PAGES: 128
IMAGE: B3168.jpg
DESCRIPTION: As the World continues to shrink there are still mysteries and the 
story of missing F-BELV makes an intriguing puzzle. The missing aircraft 
disappeared as it flew between Saigon and Hanoi. – Very Highly Recommended.

The conflict between North and South Vietnam is firmly remembered for the Vietnam War when the US decided to assist the South Vietnamese against a determined Communist infiltration from North Vietnam as one of the key hot surrogate wars of the Cold War. What is largely forgotten is the turmoil of Indo China in the wake of the Japanese invasion and the attempt of recently-liberated France to reimpose its colonial rule on the area. Following WWII, France fought a war against Vietnamese Communist insurgents. The French made the same mistakes the US was to later make by assuming technical superiority of its military and attempting an asynchronous conflict, only to find its army surrounded and forced into a humiliating surrender. Between the two humiliations there was a period of almost phony war.

Following the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into North and South in a similar arrangement to that which had spectacularly failed in Korea after 1946. As with Korea, the South of Vietnam was non-communist and developing into a capitalist society from its roots as a French colony. The North was a Communist armed camp with the Soviet Union and China striving for primary influence. In this volatile environment, airlines began to operate across the two Vietnams and their neighbours Laos and Cambodia. To attempt full observation of the Geneva Accords, the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC) was established to oversee full implementation of the Accords

On 18th October 1965, an ICSC aircraft was on a regular weekly flight from Saigon to Hanoi, stopping in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Vientiane (Laos). The captain radioed his ETA in Hanoi but the aircraft never arrived. This created an enduring mystery which the author has attempted to solve. It is a gripping story, well researched and ably presented.

F-BELV was a Boeing Stratoliner so already ageing in 1965. It was one of a number of airliner designs produced in America and Britain, using a bomber as the basis and making use of the same components for much of the structure. The Stratoliner was derived from the B-29, with a figure of eight fuselage cross section, providing a long range and dependable aircraft powered by proven radial piston engines. The bomber version had been the mainstay of the USAAF heavy bombing raids on Japan and B-29s were used to drop two nuclear weapons on the Japanese main islands, bringing WWII to a conclusion. It was therefore a dependable aircraft and F-BELV appears to have been maintained to the manufacturer’s standards. It was however an aircraft showing its age, with technology that dated back to the late 1930s. Given the technical aids of the time and the weather conditions over tropical rain forest, technical failure and crew error were both strong possibilities. Claims that the aircraft was being used by intelligence agencies could have made it a target for a bomb, or anti-aircraft fire. It could have been mistaken for a war plane, or been targeted by US intelligence agencies in a false flag operation. There could even have been a simple criminal motive. Without the wreckage for analysis there were many possibilities.

The author has examined all potential causes of the aircraft disappearing, including the possibility that one of his relatives, a Canadian soldier onboard the flight, was an intelligence operative. The reader will enjoy following the clues and forming an opinion in what is as suspenseful as any spy novel.