The year before the year it was 70 years ago the Netherlands started the first European air service to the United States
The days between Christmas and New Years eve give me some time to reflect (on 2015) and look ahead to the year(s) to come.
After we founded the Flying Dutchman Foundation in November 2013 and when we bought the DC-4 Skymaster, 2014 was a year spend on making plans, changing those plans, tweaking bits and pieces and talking to people from the industry to see if our plans made sense (and subsequently we had to start all over making plans once or twice).
So, 2015 was the year we launched our initiative. Plans have to be executed.
Our plan is to promote or celebrate, call it as you wish, the Netherlands. Holland is a small country with a global reach, because we always have been pioneers, innovators and have a great entrepreneurial spirit. Long ago we concurred the sea in two ways; we build, or invented? dykes as a construction to stay safe behind, to turn a sea in a lake and secondly we used to sea to build trade routes. Those trade routes brought the Dutch all over the world; we sailed around the Cape to Indonesia and we crossed the Atlantic to New York and Surinam.
When the sea wasn’t big enough anymore the air was our next fronteer. First flight might have been the accomplishment of the Wright Brothers, we had our Albert Plesman, Jan Dellaert and Anthony Fokker. The Batavia route was the longest scheduled air service between Amsterdam Schiphol and Indonesia. Without our prior sea endeavours towards the East, Batavia would not have been a relevant place to start air service to. It was a KLM flight, operated from Schiphol with a Fokker aircraft. True pioneering based on our Dutch business instinct.
22 years later in 1946 the same Dutch mentality brought Holland the first European air service to the United States. Again from Schiphol by KLM. Nowadays Schiphol has a participation at New York JFK airport.
What interests me is how many businesses are offspring or could not have flourished without another part of the industry. Without Schiphol there would be no KLM. And how big would the chance be without Schiphol fo company like NACO – world leading in designing airports – to be Dutch. Would any of the Aviation bachelor or master degrees in the Netherlands be leading without the pillars of our industry? Indirectly; would we have a flower auction without our air service network, what about the ‘Zuid-as’?
The Netherlands is a small country with a big reach. We have our global network to thank for it. What if we would bring a group of likeminded Dutch companies together and show what we have to offer together?
2015 has been the year we have been in talks with 15 to 20 companies to be part of our ‘trade missions’. All those companies have business interests in the countries we plan to visit along the ‘vintage’ air routes. With their participation we can tell the stories of Dutch innovation and pioneer mentality by using mass media like television.
Those companies and the media are a healthy starting group – and we will keep looking for a few others. Any suggestions?
Also our crowd funding campaign has ever growing support, small donations come in to get your name on the engine or bigger donations for flights with us.
We are bringing back the aircraft used on that first route to New York; the DC-4 Skymaster. It will be our means of transportation on the trade missions, it will be our ‘flag bearer’ and our meeting place all in one.
2015 has been the year we have started a ‘road map’ to bring her up to modern specifications. We have started a healthy and constructive dialogue with the Dutch CAA; a clear and transparant discussion about what we need to achieve before operation.
Jurriaan has been working on a maintenance schedule and on a list of modifications. After the Flying Dutchman initiative got nationwide media coverage volunteers offered their professional knowledge in air navigation, in maintenance and many other subjects.
With the combined efforts of Jurriaan and those volunteers we want the aircraft to comply with modern navigation standards, so our crew can safely navigation the Cape, the Atlantic and the world.
Looking forward to 2016 – when Schiphol will turn 100 and it will be 70 years after that first flight to New York.
Early 2016 we want our partner Skyclass to start the maintenance on our Skymaster. We foresee about 5 months work to get her ready for a festive return to Schiphol, maybe with an arrival in formation with a new Boeing 787?
We hope to have her ready in time to depart shortly after her arrival on a trip to the Farnborough airshow continuing to New York and the Oshkosh airshow.
For that to happen we still need to sign a few contracts and we need your continuing support!
Happy New Year