Gunnestad (in cockpit) and Thor Bernhoft prepare Lockheed Vega LN-ABD for the flight from Gardermoen to Lympne on October 13, 1933. The sponsors’ names have been displayed prominently on the fuselage, including a panel advertising Selo film beneath the cabin windows, and the logo for “Bensin SNE”, a Soviet-produced fuel.
In August 1934 Gunnestad co-founded Fornebu Flyveselskap to operate air-taxi, charter and pleasure-flying services, chartering LN-ABD from Christensen to join another Vega and Avian LN-ABF in the company’s fleet. By mid-1935 the Vega was back with Christensen, the other machines had crashed and the company folded.
In early July 1929 Lockheed Vega 1 NR33E (c/n 34) was dismantled and placed aboard the Norwegian steamer MS Stavangerfjord, which departed New York for Oslo on July 6, arriving ten days later. It was initially registered N-41 and in May 1932, painted red, it became the first aircraft to be given an LN-series registration, LN-ABD.
Bearing the same registration, N-38, as the D.H.60X Moth Gunnestad crashed in the streets of Calais (formerly G-EBSU, c/n 428) in March 1929, Cirrus-engined Avro Avian IV N-38 (c/n 323) was acquired by Gunnestad a matter of weeks later and became LN-ABF in the early 1930s. It later became part of the pilot’s Fornebu Flyveselskap fleet from 1934.
Gunnestad (right) and mechanic Ole Naess beside the Avian at an aviation meeting. Naess flew in the Vega in preparation for Gunnestad’s North Sea adventure in October 1933, but did not join him and Thor Bernhoft on the flight. An accomplished parachutist, Naess was tragically killed during one of his demonstration parachute jumps in 1937.
Gunnestad (left) and Leif Feiring beside Halle & Peterson’s de Havilland D.H.60M N-30 (c/n 1345) at Gothenburg circa 1929-30.