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Mystery of Missing Flight F-BELV (Hardback)

Aviation Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Vietnam

By Stephen Wynn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781473845954
Published: 9th March 2020


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Following the Geneva Accords in 1954, Vietnam found itself separated into North and South, with communist North Vietnam under the control of Ho Chi Min. At the same time, the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC) was established, whose role it was to oversee the implementation of the Accords.

On 18 October 1965, an ICSC aircraft, F-BELV, was on a regular weekly flight from Saigon to Hanoi, stopping at Pnohm Penh, in Cambodia, and Vientiane, in Laos. Twenty minutes after leaving Vientiane, the captain contacted the authorities at Hanoi to give his ETA, but the aircraft never arrived. It is believed to be the only aircraft never to have been recovered from the Vietnam War.

But what really happened and why? Did the aircraft crash, or was it shot down? Did it happen over Laos or North Vietnam?

Mystery of Missing Flight F-BELV examines all aspects of the Vietnam War, particularly the events of 1965, and how tensions in the region heightened as the first American combat troops arrived in Vietnam. It investigates the role of the CIA, and whether their involvement had any bearing on the disappearance of flight F-BELV. It looks at those on board the aircraft, including James Sylvester Byrne, a sergeant in the Canadian Army and a relation to the author of this book. Was he just a regular soldier? Or was he really an intelligence officer gathering information to share with the Americans?

An interesting story and kept as simple as is possible given the numerous options as to what might have happened to this aircraft. Possibilities include mechanical failure, accidental shooting down, or even deliberate destruction if, perhaps, one of the civilian occupants was a spy.

A worthwhile read.

Richard Parkhurst

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.

Read the full review here


The author looks at both the history of the Vietnam War, its background and the many factions and organisations involved, as well as the the aircraft and disappearance itself. His uncle was lost on board the plane, so he has done a lot of research into the events and made numerous enquiries to find out what happened.

The book looks in detail at the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and the histories of all ten aircraft, and even includes a chapter on an unusual visit to a clairvoyant!

Read the full review here

Airport Spotting

About Stephen Wynn

Stephen is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police as a constable for thirty years between 1983 and 2013. He is married to Tanya and has two sons, Luke and Ross, and a daughter, Aimee. Both Stephen’s grandfathers served in and survived the First World War, one with the Royal Irish Rifles, the other in the Mercantile Marine, whilst his father was a member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the Second World War.
When not writing Stephen can be found walking his dogs with his wife, Tanya, at some unearthly time of the morning when most normal people are still fast asleep.

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