100 Years After KLM’s First Arrival A 77-Year-Old Plane Lands At Schiphol

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Some heartwarming news coming out of Amsterdam as a Boeing Stearman celebrated an important milestone in Amsterdam’s aviation history. On May 17th, a 77-year-old plane landed at Schiphol 100 years to the day and hour of KLM’s first landing in Amsterdam.

Boeing stearman
A Boeing Stearman landed 100 years to the day of KLM’s first aircraft arrival. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

The flight

The Boeing Stearman helped celebrate KLM’s 100 years of flight history. The aircraft, N9912H, nicknamed “Old Crow,” flew to Schiphol Airport from Breda Airport. According to data from Flightradar24, the plane spent just under two hours in the air at a low altitude. Finally, at 13:20 local time, the aircraft touched on at Schiphol airport– exactly 100 years to the day and time of KLM’s first flight arrival.

The flight was quite a feat, and plenty were excited. Here’s a quick video introducing the trip along with its two flyers before its takeoff:

Publisert av The Storyteller Søndag 17. mai 2020

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And, after landing, the excitement was equally high:

Publisert av The Storyteller Søndag 17. mai 2020

The aircraft involved in this flight

The Boeing Stearman that flew to Amsterdam is housed at Vliegend Museum Seppe. This museum celebrates the history of flight and has several exhibits. The Stearman exhibit is just one of its highlights.

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As for the history of the aircraft, the museum details some facts about the type on its website. The plane was first developed in 1934. Over 8,400 of the model have been built. Most flew during World War II for the US Air Force and Navy. In fact, former US President George HW Bush obtained his pilot’s license on this type of aircraft.

Boeing Stearman
The Boeing Stearman flew for the US Armed Forces. The particular aircraft that flew on Sunday was built in 1943, making it 77 years old. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

KLM’s first flight

KLM’s first flight flew on May 17th, 1920. Pilot Jerry Shaw flew a leased De Havilland DH-16 from London to Amsterdam Airport. The aircraft was lightly loaded with two journalists, a letter from the mayor of London to the mayor of Amsterdam, and a stack of newspapers.

KLM itself was established on October 7th of 1919. Since then, the airline has grown tremendously.

KLM dh16
KLM’s first flight was flown using a leased DH.16 Photo: The Flight Magazine Archive from Flightglobal via Wikimedia Commons

KLM’s importance to Amsterdam

KLM is the largest airline in the Netherlands. With its one and only hub at Schiphol Airport, the Dutch flag carrier flies to points across Asia, Africa, North America, and South America in addition to flights across continental Europe. The first regularly scheduled intercontinental flight on KLM flew from the Netherlands to Batavia (now Jakarta) in Indonesia.

Fully written out as Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, the goal of KLM was to connect the Netherlands and its colonies around the world. With the end of the Dutch colonial empire, the airline’s role then changed to connecting Amsterdam with the rest of the world.

KLM has been connecting Amsterdam to the world for 100 years. Photo: Willem van de Poll via Wikimedia Commons

The airline is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. It is the largest carrier based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. With its fleet of Boeing 737s, 777s, 787s, and Airbus A330s, KLM can serve destinations near and far. In addition, the Dutch carrier has a strong cargo fleet with Boeing 747s. Over 70 million passengers fly into Schiphol every year. However, the current crisis has largely limited passenger numbers, with most of KLM’s fleet parked.

KLM grounding
100 years after its first flight, KLM is facing a challenge unlike any other. Photo: Getty Images

Overall

This celebration comes at a time when the aviation industry is in its darkest crisis in recent years. However, there was still an opportunity for some festivities. In this case, the Netherlands celebrated KLM’s rich history by flying a vintage aircraft to commemorate the arrival 100 years to the day and hour of KLM’s first flight.

Did you get to witness this landing? What do you think of this event? Let us know in the comments!

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