[PICS] 100 years since the registration of the first aircraft in the Belgian Register

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On March 1, 1920, exactly 100 years ago, the first aircraft was registered in the Belgian Civil Aviation Register. O-BEBE, a FOKKER D VII registered by Victor Simonet, was spoils of war from the “Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte”.

During the first international aviation convention in Paris, on October 13, 1919, Belgium chose the letters O-B for the registration of aircraft, followed by 3 additional letters.

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Photo: Guy Destrebecq Collection – www.belgian-wings.be

On March 19, 1920, 9 other planes were registered, mainly in the name of SNETA, the National Union for the Study of Air Transport. An aviation company founded by Georges Nélis with the support of King Albert I, the predecessor of SABENA.

O-BBEA was the first hot air balloon in the register on August 12, 1921. It was a 1200 m³ gas balloon used for competitions. Ernest Demuyter was very successful: in 1922, 1923 and 1924, he was the first to win the “Gordon Bennett Balloon Race” three years in a row. He was allowed to keep the trophy. You can still admire it at the Brussels Aviation Museum. Even today, hot air balloons are registered with the initials OO-B, to alert radio users of the fact that it is an aircraft with limited manoeuvrability.

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Photo: Agence Meurisse – www.europeana.eu

At the international conference on radiotelegraphy in Washington in 1927, Belgium chose the initials OO-, as we know it today. It was introduced in 1929 and the first aircraft with such registration was the Renard RSV 26.100 OO-AJT.

The first helicopter was registered in Belgium on August 10, 1950. It was a Hiller UH.12 under the designation OO-MAT.

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Photo: Guy Destrebecq Collection – www.belgian-wings.be

On November 24, 1959, the OO-SJA, a Boeing 707 for the Sabena, was the first to be registered in the Belgian register. The Sabena was one of the first European airlines to have passenger aircraft with jet thrusters in its fleet. These Boeings were used from 1960 for flights to New York.

On February 28, 1969, the first Belgian private jet was registered under the code OO-WTB. It is a Falcon 20. Today, there are around forty private jets registered in Belgium.

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From 1981, ULM and DPM aircraft were being registered. First with the codes OO-501 to OO-999, then (from June 5, 1991) with OO-A01 to OO-Z99. The OO-501, a Grasshopper model Mono 01, is still on display at the Aviation Museum in Brussels.

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Photo: Alan Wilson – www.commons.wikimedia.org (link is external))

On September 24, 2017, the Royal Decree for historic aircraft appears. The OO-PII (a Pilatus P2) is the first aircraft to be registered under this regulation, on November 22, 2017. A number of “warbirds” such as the Mustang, the Spitfire, the Hurricane and the Hawker Fury, but also YAKs and replicas of the First World War quickly followed.

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Photo: Henk Duivenvoorden – www.airnieuws.nl

Since 1920, the number of entries in the Belgian civil status register is as follows:

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Number of entries in the Belgian register since 1920

In recent years, the situation has changed slightly: since 2015, paramotors have been registered with the letters OO-1AA to OO-9ZZ. 789 were thus registered in 2015. From 2016, RPAS (or drones) are also registered. Since then, approximately 3,300 drones have been registered with the letters OO-11AA to OO-99ZZ.

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Aircraft on the Belgian Register in 2020

The registration characteristics of an aircraft are assigned according to certain rules. Below is an overview:

PSAR (drones)

OO-11AA to OO-99ZZ
Sequential, no free choice

paramotor

OO-1AA to OO-9ZZ
Sequential, no free choice

ULM / DPM

OO-501 to OO-999 & OO-A01 to OO-Z99
Sequential, no free choice

Hot Air Balloon

OO-BAA to OO-BZZ
Free choice

Other aircraft

OO-AAA to AZZ, OO-CAA to OO-XWZ & OO-YAA to OO-ZZZ
Free choice

How to register an aircraft?

Since September 2019, DG Air Transport has had an Aviation Portal online. The requests and their processing are now done entirely digitally. Via the portal, you can also consult the Belgian aviation register.

Source: Belgian Federal Public Service Mobility

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