Stampe Vertongen SV-4B
Single engine twin-seat trainer
After a test and evaluation study for which two De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 aircraft were also acquired, the Belgian Government finally decided in the Spring of 1947 to buy 33 Gipsy Major powered Stampe Vertongen SV-4B trainers for the Belgian Air Force initial pilot instruction. This initial batch of aircraft was delivered to Schaffen-Diest airfield between June and December 1948. A second order for 12 Cirrus powered SV-4B's followed in 1952 and a third batch of again 12 Cirrus Stampes in 1953. These last aircraft were the first to adopt the overall orange color so familiar for this all Belgian designed. Previously the Stampes were painted in an aluminum color scheme sporting yellow training stripes over the wings and fuselage. Finally a last batch of 8 Gipsy Major powered SV's was acquired in 1954. The Stampe which by now was based at Goetsenhoven airfield near Tienen was appreciated for its stability and maneuverability and was used by the "Manchots" (penguins) stunt team established in 1965 and well known for their trademark mirror formations. The very last Stampes were used by the Belgian Air Force as glider tugs on behalf of the Belgian Air Cadet but by 1975 these nimble Belgian biplanes finally had to bow out of the military service, V-52 remaining in flying condition until the end of March 1978 for airshow presentations. As a testimony to this robust and clever design it can be said that almost half the Belgian Military SV-4B production survives to this day, the majority of which in flying condition.