[Pictures] Exclusive visit of Sabena Boeing 747-300 OO-SGC, currently stored at Pinal Airpark, Arizona


Old lady Sabena (Société Anonyme Belge d’Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne) has left a remarkable history behind, the defunct airline was an internationally renowned company. The largest employer with 10,000 workers, flying 11 million passengers in 2000 to 107 destinations in 48 countries. But sadly went bankrupt in 2001

Mid-september 2017 Bram Botterman went to visit Pinal Airpark, a boneyard for civilian commercial aircraft in Arizona, United States and spotted OO-SGC, one of the flagship Sabena aircraft known as “Golf Charlie”. The aircraft left the Sabena fleet in 1999, new owners tried to reconfigure her into a cargo aircraft but that never happened (unlike OO-SGD who is still flying as a Belarusian Transavia Export cargo 747).

OO-SGC had its first flight in May 1986, was delivered to Sabena in June 1986 and was also the one that did the ‘Farewell-Flights’ on 30-31 October 1999.

© Bram Botterman
© Bram Botterman

At Pinal Airpark Bram met Mister Ski, the new owner of the aircraft. He is a business man and has decided to build a restaurant with her in Tucson, Arizona! He expects to have his restaurant ready at the end of 2019. During the meeting Bram was invited for a visit inside the aircraft, and took some exclusive pictures giving us a trip down memory lane.

Cockpit view
© Bram Botterman
Galley view
© Bram Botterman
Business class (upper deck) – economy class (lower deck)
© Bram Botterman
© Bram Botterman
Remember the first time you were first – Remember when all of Europe was within reach – Remember the first time Africa was so close
© Bram Botterman
© Bram Botterman

Pictures © Bram Botterman – Jean-Marie Hanon – Paul Jongeneelen


  1. I once sat on the right seat, resting my hand on those thrust levers… flew SGC in the late nineties.

  2. Incredible !! If you close you’re eyes it is not hard to imagine you’re cruising at 33000 feet . Unbelieveble that they left all these contemps such as trolleys , containers, seats …even the entertainment system and posters on the wall . Sad to see how such an impressif bird is left behind to rot in a desolate desert .
    I flew on this airplane during the nineties as a senior purser to Kinshasa , Johannesburg and New York .
    Great years when flying was not only “low cost” !!!

  3. I flew on this plane as a, college student, on what was it’s delivery flight from JFK to Brussels in 1986. There was a big celebration up in first class as the Belgian world cup team was aboard on their way home from a great 4th place finish in Mexico City. The pilot kept making announcements about them and the plane. We could hear the party up front and above.
    Upon arrival at Brussels, the plane parked away from the terminal and used stairs instead of the jet-way bridge. They used two stairs, one for first class and one for coach. The coach door opened before the one in first class and I was one of the first to exit. The huge throng of people, pressing against a fence far across the tarmac, who came to welcome the team, must have believed that from that distance I was one of the players and erupted in a tremendous cheer. I raised my arms high in acceptance of the warmest welcome I ever have had to a country.
    The planes interior smelled like a new car. I also think that there was a Boeing crew aboard to familiarize the Sabena crew. Not positive about this, but I remember someone telling me this. It made sense to me because the touchdown was about the softest landing I have experienced. I have thought that the Sabina crew was trying to show off to the Boeing guys how good they were.
    Fond memories of this aircraft. I get to Arizona frequently, perhaps I will meet up with her again.

  4. I got to jumpseat one of the Sabena 747-300’s out of Brussels to Cincinnati (CVG) in 1989. My wife and I went to Spain for our 15th wedding anniversary and I was a Delta frequent flyer, so I made sure to book two business class tickets roundtrip CVG->BRU->MAD. I had talked to CVG gate agents who helped me learn how to make some arrangements for the jumpseat though ultimately it was up to the Captain. I think it helped that in Brussels we were sitting in the upper deck in Business Class when I asked the flight attendant if I could talk with the Captain. She did, but then came back and asked for a business card. At the time I had my own software company, so giving the Captain a “President” business card may have helped! More on the story to follow…

  5. Once in the jumpseat, the crew was putting the flight plan into the computer when things started to go wrong. Everything went in fine, but when the final “Enter” was pushed, nothing happened! They tried multiple times, multiple ways, and I saw my jumpseat out of Brussels evaporating. After some time, the cockpit was full of techs, and I was able to read one of the badges and realized it was the head of avionics for Sabena! Being a computer guy, I was not surprised when I heard them say “reboot” the system! Literally, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” But it had to be a hard reboot, so they literally had to disconnect from land power and shut down the APU. We then sat at the gate for a few minutes with no power whatsoever, then went through the full cold start up process. Then everyone held their breath while the crew input the flight plan again. And Voila! The last enter worked, the cockpit cleared (except for me and the crew), and we departed Brussels.


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