Our Fokkers – A Fleet Full of Memories

Posted by at 10:40

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Fokker? Terrible puns? (Admit it.) Terribly funny comedies starring Robert de Niro? Or a brand of reliable aircraft that proudly sported the KLM livery for 97 years? Some of you will know that this weekend marked the end of a 97-year partnership between KLM and Fokker. That’s 97 years’ worth of passengers, maintenance, flight hours, and lots of ups and downs. In short: 97 years’ worth of memories. I spoke to eight former and current KLM employees whose working lives were entwined with this cool aircraft. What do they think of when they hear the name Fokker?

Nicole, cabin attendant at KLM since 1993

“I’ve always really enjoyed working aboard the Fokker. It’s a great plane. I was a stewardess on the very first commercial Fokker 70 flight in 1996. And soon, 21 years on, I’ll be a crewmember on its very last flight from London to Amsterdam. It’s very special to have worked aboard the very first and very last flight of the Fokker 70.”

Group crew Fokker

Stefan, worked with Fokkers for almost 20 years and is currently Fokker 70 Fleet Manager

“Fokker connects people. At KLM Cityhopper, so many different divisions have cooperated closely with Fokker. They really are a brilliant team. It’s very special that we’ll be ringing down the curtain on 97 years of history. That’s truly unique. When I started out as fleet manager back in 2011, we had 31 Fokkers. We now only have seven left. I now supervise the phase-out of all Fokkers currently being sold and have been working with these birds for 20 years. You really develop a bond with these machines. Every time one leaves, it’s like a little part of me goes with it.”

Reinout, pilot at KLM since 2006, flew Fokkers for 11 years and now operates the Embraer

“I started as a co-co-pilot on the Boeing 747 and ten months later I started flying on the Fokker 70 and 100. I vividly recall flying the first time I flew the Fokker myself. After ground school and simulator training, it was wonderful to fly solo for the first time, practising take-offs and landings in an empty aircraft alongside an instructor. We flew to France and spent two days practicing touch-and-goes with a great group of people. Flying a jet for the first time really is fantastic!”

Waldo, an ex-KLM Cityhopper pilot from 1986 till 2006 and flew Fokkers for other operators till 2010

“I flew the Fokker 27, 28, 50, 70 and 100. Back in the day, the Fokker 70 was a modern aircraft. She was my favourite. Flew like a lady – very pleasant, everything in perfect order, a great piece of machinery. The others were more like workhorses, especially the F27 and F28. But the F70 was lovely. I’ve always said: The Fokker 70 really is a pilot’s plane.”

 

Fokker hangar

Bas, head of Flight Operations at KLM Cityhopper

“Fokker is a Dutch-made plane, which is why we’re all so fond of it. A Dutch plane operating for a Dutch airline, all over the world. That makes us proud and it evokes emotions, especially because we enjoyed working with these planes and because they carried lots and lots of passengers. I vividly recall flying to London City in glorious weather aboard a Fokker 50, with a magnificent view of the city. And then landing on that very special runway, in the heart of that great metropolis, with a propeller-driven plane. Fantastic.”

Agnes, flying as a cabin attendant aboard Fokkers at KLM Cityhopper for 4.5 years

“I always call the Fokker 70 “my little dolphin”, because of its lovable, little nose. When I board a Fokker it’s like coming home. Such a comfy, welcoming feeling. Very pleasant indeed. I’ll never forget it. A piece of Dutch heritage.”

 

Alex Pilot KLM

Jeroen, joined KLM in 1998, project manager of the fleet renewal programme (GREAT) at KLM Cityhopper since 2015

It’s the aircraft that always brought me home. I grew up in Italy. When my parents still lived there and I was studying, there was a Fokker 100 service between Amsterdam and Milan Malpensa. I often took that flight back and forth to Italy, which meant I regularly flew aboard the Fokker 100. I always liked the fact that during landing, it looked like a big plane, with the landing lights flipping up out of the wingtips, when it’s actually quite a small plane. I always found that charming.”

Alex, pilot since 2007, flew Fokker 70s for nearly 10 years and will start on the Boeing 777 this December

“In 2015, I piloted the inaugural flight to Southampton. We were welcomed by the fire brigade and a festive committee, which was a great photo opportunity. I’ll never forget that day. But I think the farewell will be my favourite memory. It feels like a highlight in my career. We worked really hard and there has been such a warm response from the community and passengers. It really is a crown on ten years’ work.”

 

33 Responses to Our Fokkers – A Fleet Full of Memories

  1. Loreto

    So now what happens to the Fokker,where do we go from there?!

    • Renée Penris

      Hi Loreto, the Fokker 70 aircraft are sold to other operators! In 2008, KLM Cityhopper began replacing its Fokker fleet with modern E-Jets – the Embraer E-190 and Embraer E-175+. These new aircraft allow further expansion of our existing network, increase flight frequency (more than 106,000 flights a year) and reduce costs substantially. So you’ll see more beautiful blue Embraers!

  2. Loreto

    Also miss the 747

  3. Sam

    I flew on this aircraft on my maiden visit to Europe,flew from Aalesund Vigra airport to Amsterdam,took off from vigra on a cloudy and windy winter skies of Norway,I thought the take off and flight was gonna be turbulent but it wasn’t as I had anticipated the professional pilots took us safely and comfortably to Amsterdam.That’s my memory about it.

    • Renée Penris

      What an honour that you chose KLM for your first flight within Europe. Nice one, Sam, thank you!

  4. Fred Lammers

    Very nice story

    • Renée Penris

      Thanks Fred!

  5. Glen Hannan

    I have flown a few times on the “Fokker” from Amsterdam to Leeds, before they were replaced on that route. The flights were always memorable, for fantastic scenery as you flew over the sea, and I always felt comfortable in the aeroplane.

    • Renée Penris

      Thanks for sharing, Glen. Good to hear you enjoyed the flights and scenery!

  6. Dick van den Berg

    KLM was a large operator of Fokker aircraft. However, it is not true that KLM operated these aircraft for 97 years. The first Fokker aircraft at KLM was the F.II in 1920. Until 1940 KLM operated Fokker aircraft but in 1940 only one, the F.XXVI. After WW2 it was the daughter NLM that started flying F.27s in 1966. Later this became KLM Cityhopper. Hence KLM operated Fokker aircraft for 71 years but not continuously because there was a pause of 26 years (19409-1966).

    • Renée Penris

      Thanks for your contribution, Dick.

      • kev ramsay

        Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, Dick, – I like the 97 year version better :)

  7. Harry Sluijter

    I flew on the last scheduled flight from Norwich to Schiphol, last saturday. Having worked with Fokker for many years this was some special flight not to be missed. I got myself a special T-shirt depicting both the F 28 prototype I flew 4 july 1968 when working with Fokker as wel as a photo of PH-KZU in special livery. Most of all, it depicted a portrait of mr. Jack van Hengst, deceased 6 years ago. He was trhe Godfather behind the Fokker 50, 70 and 100. Being my mentor all those years, I dedicate my flight in PH-KZS to him.

    • Renée Penris

      Ah, wow, Harry, what a beautiful gesture! I hope you had a fantastic experience on the flight from Norwich.

  8. M. Stallenberg

    I really loved to work on the Fokker-aircrafts!
    It wil be different every time i look up and can’t see the Fokker 70 but an embraer instead… So think back with a good feeling and look up to a bright future KLM Cityhopper

    • Renée Penris

      That’s a great way to look at this farewell, thank you!

  9. Tyler

    I flew on the KLM1079 flight to London on the last day. Was great to be part of history and the crew signed a special design shirt I made for the event!

    • Renée Penris

      That’s what I call dedication, Tyler. Nice!

      • Tyler

        It was worth doing for such a special flight! I also did a video which I’ll publish in a few weeks!

  10. EMUAKPEJEKESSENA

    hi

  11. onthew

    The first time I was a passenger on a F70, I forgot about the terrible noise in the F50:-)
    Now I think, it must have been like flying with Max Verstappen nowadays…Max wasn’t even born on that that day:-))

    • Renée Penris

      Vroo00oOOooommmmm!

  12. EMUAKPEJEKESSENA

    HI LOVE

  13. Frank Mantel

    Parachuted many times out of the Royal Dutch Air force F-27 Friendship during my military service. Great memories although it was always strange to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!

    • Renée Penris

      Wow, Frank, that’s quite the memory! Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Roy

    I flew the last flight from Amsterdam to Hannover (PH-KZK) and Hannover to Amsterdam last Saturday (PH-KZM) which was a delight! The enthausiastic crew made it even more special! I’ll never forget this fantastic and beautifull plane. Sorry to see the Fokker 70 go.!

    • Renée Penris

      Glad to read you had an awesome time on this last flight, Roy. A great way to say goodbye!

  15. Linda

    I flew the last fokker 50 flight ams to Maastricht! I worked for Cityhopper for 3 years as a flight attendant and have fond memories of that time! Specially the fokker 50 I called it mugje! It’s the end of an era for KLM! There is still a movie on youtube from the last flight ams- mst!

    • Renée Penris

      Mugje! So cute. :) Thanks for sharing, Linda.

  16. Olaf

    Helped to develope and build many Fokkers, worked on all the KLM fokker 100’s and 70’s. Shame the goverment stopped helping Fokker to build more terrific planes. Also a shame the goverment let go the “royal” fokker 70. Everytime I flew with one of the planes it was a joy.

  17. Kevin

    I always remember the old Fokker F27 Friendship from my youth. Flying from Humberside to Amsterdam. When you had to pass a flask of coffee around then you knew you were flying through turbulence.

  18. Jojo

    I was on the last flight and as always KLM always pull it off brilliantly!

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