Scenic flight with DDA's PH-DDZ
© Ruud Leeuw
Click on the images for a larger photo
On July 03rd, 2005 I had the pleasure of joining a scenic flight with a DC-3 of the Dutch Dakota Association
The day began a little hazy and I was a bit worried the flight might be cancelled because of low visibility, but the day improved and PH-DDZ was ready and waiting at Amsterdam IAP to take us up!
We even left on time, no small feat in modern day aviation...
The Martin's Air Charter colourscheme looks splendid on this 'Dakota'!.
After the Pratt and Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial engines had warmed themselves with a good "revving up" before take off (which had us warming up to the venerable DC-3!), we took off from runway 22 and made a sharp righthand turn in north-easterly direction, which had us soon looking down at rural Holland; this is Broek in Waterland, not far from Amsterdam: a classic Dutch village.
The yellow coloring in the top-right corner is the tip of the prop leaving its mark.
|The crew had things firmly under control, steering by hand, an eagle eye on the controls and the surrounding airspace!|
They also offered comments on the P.A. on where we were.
On the left is Nanne Dijkstra, pilot flying. Later he added some "info from the flightdeck": the engines were run up, before take off, to 1700 rpm, required to check the props and the electric feather pumps; manifold pressure was a healthy 30 inches, equal to the outside air prssure -QNH 1013 mb- and magnetos were checked and ok; Papa Hotel Delta Delta Zulu was ready for departure!
Large part of the sensation of flying a vintage transport such as the DC-3, is the feel of all those pistons hammering away in their cylinders, a vibrating feel that passes through the entire aircraft... Must be tiring if you were a passenger or crewmember on some 20+ hour flight across the Atlantic, but quite the thing on a 30 minute scenic flight!
We cruised on an altitude between 1.200 and 1.500 ft, which is below Schiphol's TMA (Terminal Air Space) and out of the way of the large jets inbound or outbound our international airport.
The DC-3 needs a firm hand on the controls while flying on this altitude, one feels the flow of the air tugging at the aircraft, but on the other hand the pilot should not over-compensate on the controls as the passengers in the back might get an unsettling feeling in theirs stomachs...
Lex Bosman, here in the righthand seat, must have considered the operational differences with his routine in the cockpit of Transavia and Dutchbird jets: this is back to basics!
A look at the instruments; the 2 boxes on top are navigation- and communication equipment. Below are (left to right) rpm's, pressure air intake ("manifold pressure"), oil and fuel.
Another classic: the mill in the Dutch landscape. This one could have been used for draining water, but it also could one be of the grain-grinding variety.
I am fond of those mills, I like them as part of the landscape, I don't think they are not corny at all!.
The route ("Zaanstreek") took us overhead Muiden - Marken - Volendam - Purmerend - Zaanstad.
The Netherlands, a land below sea level (at least most of it) and water management is very important, as you can see.
Meanwhile the passengers are enjoying themselves, a visit to the cockpit was as popular as looking at the scenery below us.
Veteran of many flights on Propliners, Michael Prophet, relaxes here from his usual obligation to write an article about flights on board vintage transports and shows his satisfaction.
Many large greenhouses dot the landscape in these parts, in there they cultivate tomatoes, exotic plants, et cetera. Hailstorms can create havoc here!
While "Papa Delta Zulu" was turning for an approach on rwy 22, we passed over the woods around Amsterdam city and the "Bosbaan", famous for its rowing contests.
The airport can be seen in the upper-lefthand corner.
After landing there was an opportunity to take some photos around the aircraft.
PH-DDZ is a DC-3C with construction number 19754; it was named 'Doornroosje' (EN: 'Sleeping Beauty'), because it was bought by the Dutch Dakota Association with the intention to store it for a long time before restoration, but things progressed differently and the restoration was advanced.
|History||C-47 "Dakota" PH-DDZ cn19754|
|1944||Delivered to USAAF, 43-15288|
|1961||Stored in Arizona Desert|
|1961||To FAA as N161|
|1964||To Somali Airlines as 6OS-AAA|
|1970||Reregistered as 6O-AAA|
|1981||To ATC Inc., Reno(NV) as N920|
|1981||Got as far as Malta|
|1982||Bought by Pyramid Airlines, Egypt,
registered as SU-BFY, named "Khepren"
|1985||To Malta International Aviation Company|
|1987||Bought by the Dutch Dakota Association,
flown to Amsterdam as PH-DDZ
|1989||Deregistered for a long storage,
|1994||Its new colourscheme revealed: Martin's Air Charter|
|1999||First flight after complete overhaul and restoration|
A satisfied customer: me !!
The crew posing in front of PH-DDZ: part of the job, guys!
Also thanks to Ruben and Remco, who took care of the cabin, as well as the DDA groundstaff.
Something to be grateful for: people who invest their time and effort to keep these vintage transports flying, our industrial heritage, esspecially for those working in aviation, such as me!
The following history was published in the book "Douglas DC-3: 60 Years and counting" by Ed Davies, Scott A.Thompson and Nicholas A.Veronico (Aero Vintage Books, 1995):
In June 2012 PH-DDZ became grounded due to an engine failure; the costs for repair or replacement were probitive for the DDA and PH-DDZ remained grounded over the years.
My morningpaper on 22Apr16 brought some good news (DDA's Chairman Feije Jaski was quoted and seems to confirm some of the rumours that had been going around).
See my Sep.2016 update, PH-DDZ's transport by barge to the Aviodrome in Lelystad, HERE.. It will be restored to flying condition!