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Compagnie Européenne de Recherches (C.E.R.)

Taken at Brussels in 1979, the B707 OO-PSI had Sobelair titles with the "psi" logo in tail.  (Photo: collection Skystef)


Base: Brussels
Fleet: 1x Merlin (OO-PSM), 1x Falcon 20 (OO-PSD), 1x F27 (OO-PSF), 1x B707 (OO-PSI).
History: Compagnie Européenne de Recherches (C.E.R.) was formed on December 9 1976 by Alain de Villegas with financial aid from some Swiss investors and Elf Aquitaine, a French oil company. Main purpose was to detect oil fields to gain independence of the other big oil companies in the Middle East. Before that during the summer of 1976, a DC-3 "F-BCYX" was leased from Uni-Air to do the first tests with a device developed by an Italian professor Bonassoli which had a partnership with Alain de Villegas. These were quite succesful and therefore with the aid of Elf Aquitaine no less than four aircraft came into being with C.E.R.. First aircraft was a Fokker F27 which was specially equiped with some instruments onboard done by Sabena Technics. Later a Merlin IV and a Falcon 20 were registered, primary for private use by the chairman and his family or for their business partners. Finally there was even one Boeing 707 registered to them for the overseas operations. However not a single oil well was detected and Elf Aquitaine withdrew from the project after smelling some fraud. Ultimate the Boeing 707 was mostly leased to Sobelair and Air Belgium and when this airframe left the fleet in September 1981, the company ceased altogether.


Belgian Airlines