The day started with a one hour drive to Amsterdam Airport through lovely weather. We truly could not have been more lucky with the weather: clear skies, no wind and a spring like 15c degrees. As an hobby photographer I could not have asked for more.
We arrived at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport on time and went straight up to the Club lounge where we were welcomed by several Starwood staff member, including our very own Flyertalk member GMamsterdam.
He held a short talk about SPG and the occasion of this event and invited us to have a few drinks and eat some snacks in anticipation to the transfer to the new General Aviation terminal (yes that’s the VIP private aircraft terminal). During this time we had some time to mingle and talk about the new SPG benefits and other travel related stuff . After some time we made it downstairs to the lobby where several minivans were waiting to take us to the airport.
The General Aviation terminal is actually the oldest and original Airport of Amsterdam (Schiphol).
Schiphol-East is the oldest part of Schiphol. From 1916 until the opening of the current Schiphol-Centre in 1967, Schiphol-East was the area where all aviation activities took place. It is still an important part of the airport. The hangars are located here, as well as Air Traffic Control the Netherlands and various companies such as Martinair, transavia.com and Bombardier. It is also the place where small-scale air traffic, General Aviation, is handled.
We needed to check-in here with DDA Classic Airlines who would take care of our flight today. They are a airline who only fly with vintage aircrafts. More info about them can be found here: http://www.dutchdakota.eu/home For most flights the general public can buy tickets as well.
The Dutch Dakota Association was founded in 1982 under the motto “Working on a future for our aviation past”
The Dutch Dakota Association is a foundation with the objective to keep its two DC-3 historical aircraft in the air and make them accessible to a wide audience so they can experience flying as it was done many decades ago.
The objective of the Dutch Dakota Association is to make historical aviation accessible to the public in the broadest sense of the word. With the support of almost 2000 members and our sponsors the DDA was able to maintain the two DC-3 aircraft in perfect flying condition and to transform the organisation into a full fletched aviation company.
We were checked in without any hassle and then proceeded through to security, which we could bypass! Now that's a way of flying! ^ Apologies for the quality of the photos here as there was a huge sign saying, no photography, so I had to be discreet!
We were briefed about our flight by this guy:
He told us to go to the toilet before takeoff as the plane would not have a working lavatory on board. Also we should not carry and knifes or weapons on us, but we would not be checked.
Oh and no smoking on board!
Please note that all staff at DDA Airlines are volunteers, most of whom also work in the Aviation industry. Our captain today was for example a B747 freighter pilot for MartinAir, quite a contrast to today's DC3! They all seemed to be truly enjoying their job at DDA!
We were had to get on a bus to reach to our Aircraft, located only 50 meters from the gate (Ryanair would have had you walk).
And this is where we first saw our ride for today!
Our ride today would be the Douglas DC-3C (C47) factory NR. 19754, the PH-DDZ was registered as 43-15288 by USAFF. (Yes I did some serious research on this plane! ) Where it would be in active service for the US Airforce until 1961. Unfortunately all data and logs about the history of this aircraft before 1961 have been lost. At this time the Aircaft was parked at the Military Aircraft Storage and Deposition Center in Arizona. In 1964 the aircraft was used for a few months by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), they changed the registration of the plane to N1616.
On May 22th of 1964 the Aircraft was bought by Somali Airlines and it was stations in the Somali capital Mogadishu for multiple years. After a short stop in Malta for a few months the plane continued its life at the Egyptian airline "Pyramid Airlines" who would use it as a transport plane for the oil industry. From January 1981 it was stationed on Malta again at the Malta International Avation Comapny (MIACO).
On the 13th of February 1987 the plane was finally bought by DDA Classic Airlines who still fly the plane today. This aircraft was the second DC3 Dakoto for DDA, who had planned to store the aircraft and try to restore it by 2010. After receiving the Aircraft in May of that year all parties were so enthusiastic they stared renovating it immediately. A undertaking which would last for over 12 years, May7th 1999 was a memorable day for DDA, as the PH-DDZ made its first flight. The plane had been transformed form a old beaten down rust bucket to a virtually new airplane. A official delegate of Boeing (McDonnell-Douglas) even stated that the last DC-3 was build in the Netherlands.
DDA crew performing maintenance tasks on the aircraft.