DDA Classic Airlines
formerly: Dutch Dakota Association
I have taken the opportunity of the DDA's presence at the air show at Leeuwarden AFB (on July 06th, 2001) to present some photos as well as some info on the Dutch Dakota Association.
The DDA is based at Amsterdam IAP with their own hangar. I suspect many in the Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities don't share any enthusiasm for "classic airplanes", so for the DDA life has not always been a smooth ride. The EU regulations these days don't help much either; and I suspect the Amsterdam IAP Authorities would rather see them move elsewhere..
But the Dutch Dakota Association managed itself with a high degree of professionalism and continues its quest to preserve the Dutch Industrial Heritage in aviation.
This 'Dakota' (the English name for the DC-3) flew with the US Army Air Force (USAAF) in Operation Market Garden (the airborne assault at
Arnhem in The Netherlands). It was then designated a C-47A "Skytrain" (one of the US names for this aircraft) and carried serial 42-100971
(Douglas c/n 19434).
Photos © R.Leeuw
From twenty-three air bases in England, the airborne effort commenced on September 17, 1944, and continued until September 25, 1944. On the same day, the ground operation also started from its base in Belgium. This Skytrain, coded "6E-B" operated with 316th Troop Carrier Group/44th Squadron and was part of an aerial armada of 1073 transports (imagine !), 500 gliders and about 1500 fighters. "6E-B" dropped her 16 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division on that Sunday Sept.17th 1944.
Below on the page you'll find a link to more on this, look for Dakota Squadron.
On Feb 06th 1946 this Skytrain was declared surplus and stored, possibly in Germany. It was entered in the Dutch Aviation Register as PH-PBA in the name of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The initials are not hard to find in the registration.
In 1960 its role as Royal Air Transport was terminated as Fokker F.27 PH-PBF took over. This was fitting as Fokker Aircraft Industries was our national pride and the F.27 an excellent aircraft.
The PH-PBA flew from 1960 till 1975 as Navigational Testbed for the Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities (Rijksluchtvaart Dienst - RLD).
The "Pappa Bravo Alpha" retired to the National Aviation Museum "Aviodome" at Amsterdam Int'l Airport-Schiphol and remained there for some 20 years; first it stood outside, as a gateguard for the museum, later it went inside, disguised as the PH-TCB of KLM.
By initiative of the DDA and whole-hearted support of HRH Prince Bernhard, the PH-PBA was restored to airworthiness at Coventry by Air Atlantique (1996-1998); for this restoration a special foundation was created: Prince Bernhard Alpha Foundation.
On Nov. 13th 1998 the PH-PBA was handed over, in the presence of HRH Prince Benrhard, to the DDA (who will take care of this "Dakota" on behalf of the Foundation). The PH-PBA looks splendid in its original colourscheme and could be considered "as good as new" !
This C-47A "Skytrain" was delivered to the USAAF as 45-15288 (cn19754) in March 1944; but its log went missing and the rest of its WWII history is lost.
In 1961 it was declared surplus with the USAF and stored in the desert of Arizona with the MASDC (later AMARC) near Tucson.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) used it for a while as N161 afterwards. But in 1964 it was bought by Somali Arlines and this started a career in East-Africa and the Middle East, which would last some 20 years ! It carried Somalian tailnumbers 6OS-AAA, later 6O-AAA.
In 1980 it entered the US Register again as N920 for ATC Inc (Reno,NV). But the aircraft never got there, it got as far as Malta. After some maintenance there, it went back to Egypt for Pyramid Airlines in Cairo (1982). This time it carried the tailnumber SU-BFY and named "Khephren". In 1985 it went back to Malta Int'l Aviation Company (MIACO).
The DDA was looking at that time for a DC-3, to buy it and store it for future restoration (2010, 75th jubilee of the DC-3). On Feb.13th 1987 the deal was made and PH-DDZ entered the Dutch Aviation Register. It arrived at Schiphol on May 10th 1987. Later that year "Sleeping Beauty", as she was now nicknamed, was prepared for longtime storage.
But the tragic events around PH-DDA hastened the restoration of PH-DDZ and this was started in 1990. It was shown on the 12,5 years jubilee of the DDA on Sep.10th 1994 and she was rolled out in the original Martin's Air Charter (founded in 1958 and presently known as Martinair) colors. But it wasn't until August 01st 1999 that it flew passengers again, with a restoration much complicated by the new rules (Nota Historische Luchtvaart) of the Dutch CAA following the crash of PH-DDA.
In July 2005 I was onboard PH-DDZ for a scenic flight; it also includes a history of this plane, by another source, with a few additional details.
DC-4-1009 PH-DDS (cn42934) is perhaps not quite a logical bird for the DDA but the DC-4 did feature prominently in Dutch Aviation history (with KLM and Martinair), so a welcome addition it was !
This product of the Douglas factories was delivered to South African Airways as ZS-AUA on March 25th 1946. In 1966 it was transferred to the South African Air Force as "6901" and flew with No. 44 squadron. It was leased again by SAA later as ZS-AUA but retired from active service in 1970.
Later it flew with Aero Air as ZS-AUA, but I have little on its history till 1995 when it was registered as ZS-NUR, preparing for a new lease on life. That same year it was bought by the DDA and arrived at Amsterdam Int'l Airport-Schiphol on May 05th 1996. It was reregistered PH-DDS in December.
The extra (costly !) provisions needed for the restorations of the DC-3s and the restricted commercial use as result of the new rules by the Dutch RLD, forced the DDA to take a close and hard look at its own organisation. One result was that the DC-4 had to go and was offered for sale in 2000 for Dfl 1.5 million (aprox. Usd 600.000). A buyer did not present itself. In Nov.2002 PH-DDS (removed from Dutch Register March 14th, 2002) was ferried by Springbok Flying Safaris as ZS-AUA to Germany (for more on this, click DDA's DC-4 Departure !
Considering what's been written above, this beautiful sight could very well belong permanently to the past ! Or you have to go to South Africa for a fly past such as this...
PH-DDA DC-3 (cn19109) was a dream come true for many, when the purchase in 1984 in fact started the operations of the Dutch Dakota Association. This C-47A was delivered to the USAAF in 1943 as 42-100646. In 1946 it went to Finnair and was later registered as OH-LCB. The Finnish Air Force operated it from 1963 till 1983, an impressive service. In 1984 it took residence at Schiphol, Amsterdam Int'l Airport with the DDA, when the final barriers with the Dutch Aviation Authorities were taken. But fate dealt a heavy blow, when on Sep.25th 1996 PH-DDA crashed into the sea near Texel and all on board perished.
Brian Zygo wrote me: "42-100646 carried Lt. Richard "Dick" Winters' stick (group of paratroopers) of Easy Company, 2/506 PIR, 101st Airborne on D-Day. This was the unit featured in tv-series Band of Brothers."
Anno 2002 it is hard to exist in aviation without a JAR-Ops certification. JAR stands for Joint Aviation Requirements and it deals with rules and regulations in the aviation industry: mantenance, operations, training, licensing, etc. Law in the European Union (EU) dictates that every aircraft operator with commercial aircraft over 5.700 kgs need to have a JAR-Ops certificate and need their aircraft to be maintained by a company holding a JAR 145 certificate. There is a link on my Links page, if you want to learn more about the JAA and JAR ops.
All this is responsible for an avalanche of paperwork within a company and non-operational people dealing with it all. The DDA was facing this too, quite un undertaking for an organisation consisting of volunteers.
The DDA found a shelter with JetNetherlands, which has such a certificate and which added the DC-3 in commercial operations. For this, JetNetherlands had to prove itself with the Dutch CAA: "Inspectie Verkeer & Waterstaat/Dienst Luchtvaart (IVW/DL)" and succeeded. So JetNetherlands is now the operator of DDA's 2 DC-3s.
The DC-3s are maintained by Mastenbroek Aeroskill, which is a JAR 145 company.
On the 70th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3 (17Dec05), the DDA published the news it would change its name Dutch Dakota Association (as of 01Jan06) to DDA Classic Airlines and continue under this new brand.
DDA Classic Airlines introduced a new partner at the start of the flying season 2006: "AllPlanes bv".
AllPlanes is an operational services provider for aircraft owners; they are based at Amsterdam-Schiphol IAP.
DDA Classic A/L and AllPlanes have support from Air France - KLM for their quality assurance- program; for crewtraining they have secured support by Martinair.
Amsterdam Airport Authorities, Transavia.com and Amsterdam ATC provide also support and there are of course many (indipensable) sponsors, dedicated to keep the Classic Airliners flying.
In June 2012 PH-DDZ was grounded due to an engine failure; the costs of 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 remain: 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.
And my newspaper on 28Jul16 confirmed the move to Lelystad and the coöperation between DDA and Stichting Exploitatie Catalina (SEC). The Chairmans, resp. Feije Jaski and Arjan Dros, spoke of 'new opportunities'. KLM has set an ultimatum on the move to Lelystad: 01Oct16.
DC-3 PH-PBA had an engine change earlier this month and no news appeared yet about the possible sale of DC-3 PH-DDZ.
DDA Magazine, histories on PH-PBA & PH-DDZ by Jan Algera
Verenigde Vleugels, publication by National Aviation Theme Park "Aviodrome".
Piston Engine Airliner Production List by A.B.Eastwood & J.Roach (TAHS, 1991)
External Links :
An informative website on Operation Market Garden by Dakota Squadron
Here is the DDA's website: Dutch Dakota Association
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(replace -AT- by the @ symbol).
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Created: 18-5-02 Updated: 3-6-05
Last updated 28.7.2016