The Need for Speed…

If you decided between 1929 and 1935 to journey by air from Amsterdam to Batavia (or the other way round) it would mean travelling in a Fokker FXI or FXVIII  tri-motor. These airplanes were constructed along the lines of the famous WW1 Fokker D VII fighter: a thick plywood wing and a  fuselage of welded tubes, covered with painted fabric. Taking this flight required quite a lot of stamina. It would mean sitting for ten and a half days in a leather-upholstered cane chair, with three  clattering radial engines creating a rather noisy environment. The planes also lacked somewhat in comfort as there was no sound proofing or temperature control…

Something faster and more comfortable was obviously needed.
After the spectacular success of KLM’s standard production Douglas DC2 in the 1934 ‘Melbourne Race’, KLM’s boss Albert Plesman decided to replace all Fokker equipment on the KLM Dutch East Indies Line with the superior all-metal Douglas airliners.


KLM Douglas DC2 PH-AKK ‘Koetilang’ on Arrival at Kemajoran, Batavia (Jakarta) May 31, 1935

May 23, 1935 saw the departure of Douglas DC2 PH-AKK ‘Koetilang’ on KLM Flight 235 , the inaugural flight of the twice-weekly Amsterdam – Batavia service. Apart from six passengers this DC2 also carried 325 kg mail.
The flight was a huge success. Not only were passengers carried in much greater comfort, but the DC2 slashed the total flying time in half! It was cut down from over 10 days down to five and half, as this copy of the 1935 KLM timetable shows…


It also meant the end of the KLM – Fokker partnership.

About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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