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... The crew did well, no one "returned" their sweets which were offered ("chicken or beef") in flight!
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: 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 (no, not the hallucinating kind!), etc. 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" (meaning "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,
named "Doornroosje"
1994 Its new colourscheme revealed: Martin's Air Charter
1999 First flight after complete overhaul and restoration

Information from the DDA's inflight magazine.


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!


After exiting the small General Aviation terminal at Amsterdam-Schiphol East, we proceeded to the DDA for the complimentary drink. DDA's other DC-3, PH-PBA, was here plus a good selection of memorabilia (a nice way to sponsor the good cause!).
It had been a splendid day!!


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):
C/n 19754 was manufactured as Douglas type C-47A-80-DL with construction number 43-15288 at the Douglas-Long Beach plant and delivered to the USAAF in March 1944.
It was stored at Davis-Monthan AFB through 1962. Deemed surplus to military needs and earmarked for the Government of Somali by AID in 1962 (along with two other surplus USAF C-47s, msn 20016 and msn 20424).

The FAA agreed to perform the necessary modifications and ferry all three aircraft to Somali and they were subsequently transferred to the FAA by the USAF. C/n 19754 assigned the civil register of N161 on 03Dec1962. Subsequent modifications were performed by the FAA at Oklahoma City. Aircraft in temporary storage, along with the other two aircraft, as of 21 Nov 1963.
Delivered by the FAA to Somali on 06Mar1964 and U.S. registration canceled.

Somali registration of 60S-AAA assigned on 22 May 1964. Aircraft possibly utilized by national airline, though details have not been determined. Reregistered as 60-SAA in Oct 1970. This registration was canceled on 09Jul80.
Application on 29Aug80 to FAA for registration N920 on behalf of International Aviation Development Corporation of Danville, CA. Bill of sale, dated 29Sep1980, for sale from the Somalia government to ATC Inc., of Reno,NV.

Registration of N925 issued to ATC Leased to the Malta International Aviation Company (MIACO) at Safi, Malta Bought in Jun82 by Pyramid Airlines and registered with the Egyptian tailnumber of SU-BFY. Performed service in Egypt, transporting oil field workers. Withdrawn from service in 1985.
Reported service in Ireland for Apple Airways while registered as El-BSJ.

Bought in Feb87 by the Dutch Dakota Association of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At time of sale airframe had logged 25.887 hours of flight time. Registered with the Dutch registration of PH-DDZ.
The Dutch Dakota Association is committed to the preservation of historic aircraft, particularly the DC-3. PH-DDZ was the second DC-3 to be purchased by the group, the first being msn 19109 (PH-DDA).


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.
With little to fall back on, the DDA received another blow when KLM announced in 2014 they would stop sponsoring the DDA's DC-3 in vintage KLM colours, PH-PBA, and expected to see DDA's two DC-3 move out of the KLM hangar #10 at Schiphol.
The KLM had sponsored the DDA in many ways for 33 years.
The coöperation / merger with the Aviodrome at Lelystad, which brought a move from Amsterdam's Schiphol IAP to Lelystad, had collapsed when KLM gave up on it; after each had gone their seperate ways (and DDA moved back to SPL) the Aviodrome went into bankruptcy proceedings during 2011 (in 2012 the Dutch Libéma Groep acquired the Aviodrome museum).
So in 2014 DDA realized that investing in repairs for PH-DDZ and support both their airworthiness them would be too much for the small enterprise, (almost?) entirely run by volunteers.

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).
The DDA was reported as actively engaged in investigating the possible merger with another aviation preservation group, the Dutch Catalina Group (PH-PBY) at Lelystad. It would facilitate another move to Lelystad.
KLM had approved the clearing out of Hangar 10 to be delayed from July 1st this year to October 1st.
DC-3 PH-DDZ will be sold.
Some of the unconfirmed rumors remained persistent: parties interested in buying PH-DDZ originate in the US, but the Libéma Group has also been mentioned. 'DDZ seems to need both engines replaced to get it back in the air.

See my Sep.2016 update, PH-DDZ's transport by barge to the Aviodrome in Lelystad, HERE.. It will be restored to flying condition.


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    Created: 16-7-05
    Last updated 11.8.2005