Our Mission: To Capture The Fokker 70 In Flight

In late October, KLM Cityhopper will operate its last commercial flight with a Fokker 70. This special event will mark the end of a historical partnership. For almost a century, KLM has operated aircraft built by the Dutch manufacturer Fokker. KLM will be celebrating this longstanding, shared history with all due pomp and ceremony. To do so, high-quality images of the Fokker fleet were required. Preferably photos of flying Fokkers sporting the new KLM livery, with the Dutch landscape in the background. As chief pilot of the Fokker fleet, I have the honour of planning this special photo flight, and executing it. See some of the photos below!

Special moment

“KL9955 you are identified, expect radar vectors for ILS approach, Runway 27.” The air traffic controller guides us back down to earth. From this point onward, the flight will be just like any other. With a quick round of high-fives, we celebrate the successful completion of our mission: a flight that was anything but ordinary. It lasted only an hour, but it took weeks of preparation.

Fokker small gif

Fokker fotovlucht klm

Check, check, double-check

Together with the photographer, we chart a suitable route, featuring classic Dutch landscapes. Dutch airspace is very busy, with Schiphol Airport alone handling 500,000 flight movements a year. It goes without saying that our flight shouldn’t have any negative impact on other traffic, so we need to coordinate things perfectly with air traffic control. Fortunately, the controllers at Air Traffic Control the Netherlands are very enthusiastic and help us chart the entire route to the smallest detail. They also call their military counterparts at “Dutch Mill”, to make sure there are no objections from their side. They too give the go-ahead.

Safety first, second and third

The idea sounds quite simple: rent a tracking plane with a professional photographer on board. We’ll fly around above the Netherlands while the photographers shoot some lovely pics, and Bob’s your uncle. Finding an aviation photographer and a tracking plane isn’t really a problem, but making arrangements for the flight presents three major challenges: safety, safety and safety.

Even though there won’t be any passengers on board (apart from the photographer), we have to ensure safety at all times. So we gather a small team and get to work on an in-depth risk analysis.

Fokker fotovlucht klm

Fokker fotovlucht klm

Great weather and Plan B

We decide to operate the flight with three pilots, instead of the customary two, because the pressure in the cockpit will be higher, with more duties than normal to be executed. During a training session in the flight simulator, we practice all the flight and cockpit procedures, which will be out of the ordinary. Now all we need is great weather on the day of the flight. We do have a Plan B, however, which is to fly above the cloud cover, but then we’d miss the beautiful landscape.

Last minute jitters…

But the weather isn’t the problem. It’s a glorious day, with a scattered clouds. However, about half an hour before we’re scheduled to head out to the plane, I see a worried face: “Our flight plan has been rejected by Eurocontrol. We have no idea why. And the controllers who helped us are all at a conference in Asia,” says Tyr Beerendonk, who will be taking the jump seat during the flight. “But we may have a solution,” he quickly adds when he sees the concern on my face. Fortunately, it all works out in the end. I’m not exactly sure how, but after a seemingly endless series of calls to various people, the computer in Brussels accepts our flight plan.

Fokker small gif

Fokker fotovlucht klm

Rendezvous above “Neeltje Jans”

And so the three of us board PH-KZM, which has been specially washed for the occasion. Tyr takes the jump seat in the cockpit, with Chris Wijenberg in the left-hand seat, while I take the right-hand seat, giving me the best view of our follower, carrying the photographer. After taking off from the Polderbaan Runway we rendezvous with our follower above “Neeltje Jans”, an artificial island that is part of the famous Delta Works in Zeeland Province.

Fokker fotovlucht klm

We soon have each other in sight and, with the photographer off our right wing, we start our formation flight. After just under an hour, we split up, waving our farewells. The military air traffic controllers at Dutch Mill ensure our safe return to Schiphol. Shortly after we have landed safely, the photographer already sends us the first images via Whatsapp. Wow!

Check out some of the gorgeous photos below!

Haamstede, Zeeland


Neeltje Jans





Photos/videos: Ben Ullings/Frits Kraefft  

Posted by:   Reinout Verkerk  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

charles aryee-hyde

It will be a very sad moment KLM customers to miss such an amazing aircraft.
I feel sad.


Great tribute! Any chance to get the high res images? Especially the one showing Neeltje Jans with Walcheren in the background.



Corneel van Terheijden

Very nice blog, hope to see more of these during the last months of the Fokker aircraft flying in KLM Cityhopper, specialy for me as I painted the F28 and the F100 and the F70 , now I’ m a technical trainer for the Aircraft Maintenance & Training School at Hoogerheide.KLM thank you.
Corneel van Teheijden

Rob de Jager

Great blog and great pictures! It’s a long time ago that KLM published its own airliner published postcards. Is it time to create a special collectors envelope with 10 of these wonderful Fokker 70 postcards? A nice extra gift for the upcoming book ‘Farewell Fokker 70, Dutch at Heart’?

Aart de Vos

Goed idee!

Frank van der Voet

Ditto – good idea Rob, as the photos in this blog are outstanding!


Het zou een eer zijn om deze laatste vlucht mee te kunnen maken!
Met vriendelijke groet


Bert van den Berg

Vol weemoed zullen mijn lezers terugdenken aan het Fokkertijdperk waarin zij op
veilige en vertrouwde wijze naar hun zakelijke afspraken vlogen. Zelf denk met heel veel plezier terug aan mijn binnenlandse vluchten destijds in de Fokker Frendship destijds.

Krijn Ledder

Prachtige foto’s allemaal hoor, helaas nog maar een paar maanden en dan is het over en uit voor de Fokkers van KLM Cityhopper… zo jammer.

Alexandre Jansen ferrari

Congratulations to this kind of mission performed. Great history ⚓️

Laurens Beerendonk

I am very proud that my son Tyr could work with the crew to make this photoshoot possible!

Allard Marx

It was always a versatile, brisk and efficient airliner which exemplifies the Netherlands and the Dutch. Sad to see it go!




Paul Northover

An iconic aircraft. The great shame is that KLM will end its association with Dutch built aircraft on the 29th October 2017. I do hope KLM mark this with special flights as with the MD-11. A great photo shoot tribute.. I shall be on the last F70 out of NWI on the 28th October…. a bittersweet moment!



Anthony Byen

about Fokker,my father worked at Fokker,making WOODEN PROPELLERS,by hand,that was a loooooong time a go,he was well known.

His name was Tonny Bijen,he was THE man who invented,that pilots didnt shoot him self down with his

machine-gun,thats the reason we had to flee Amsterdam,because the German’s wanted him.So I let you know about Fokker You didnt KNOW. thank you for the space


Wow such beautiful images,kudos for the good work.I flew your embraer 170 city hopper from Vigra Aalesund-Schipol

Jochem van Rijs

Sad that the Fokkers are leaving the fleet. Next the 747 will go and then the KLM fleet will be very boaring with twin engine flying tubes….

Gerard Exmann

An great aircraft I have have spend many hours flying it, started flying the F70 when it arrived in the fleet replacing the F28.

Willem Staats

Zelf 5 jaar bij Fokker gewerkt op Schiphol-Oost in de periode 1967 – 1972.
Ik ben trots op die jaren met toen de F-27 en de F-28.
Het was voor mij een wonder alles te mogen aanschouwen van zeer dichtbij en slenterde wat af door de fabriek. Van vleugel tot alles was imponerend.
Mijn Fokker gouden manchetknopen t.g.v. de verkoop van de zoveelste F-27 draag ik bij alle officiele gebeurtenissen.

Erik S

Jammer om de Fokker 70 te zien gaan. Zelf bij Fokker gewerkt aan Fokker 50 en 100 en nu zit ik vaak in het vliegtuig onderweg naar klanten in het buitenland ook in de Fokker 70. :(

Evert Niemeijer

I would like to make a last touch at Eindhoven with a KLM Fokker. This would really put an end on my beloved Fokker’s in the blue livery . Started my career at DAF with the F27, F28, later on F50, F70 and F100 during my other Jobs at Kverneland in Geldrop and Lely in Maassluis.

Lars Franz

Such beautiful images. What a wonderful tribute to the Fokker fleet. Superbly executed!

Ronald Meijer

Sinds ik mij kan herinneren zit Fokker in onze familie, grootvader heeft er gewerkt sinds de fabriek in Amsterdam Noord stond tot aan zijn pensioen begin jaren 70. Iedere keer als ik een Fokker product zie krijg je dat bijzondere gevoel wat niet te beschrijven is. Wat een geweldig mooie opnames zo mooi in de lucht, droom even weg en geniet met de ogen dicht.

Jaap Frickers


Mikael Thieme

Nice photos and an interesting project.
However, since this is a blog post about a dedicated photo flight I feel it would be appropriate to mention the aviation photographer in question by name, and not just as “the photographer”.

Mikael Thieme

Nice photos and an interesting project.
However, since this is a blog post about a dedicated photo flight I feel it would be appropriate to mention the aviation photographer in question by name, and not just as “the photographer”.

Sjors van Kemenade

Is there any possibility that these pictures will become available in high quality for the greater public?

Matthias Sieber

Very nice air-to-air shots! You guys are our heroes, but the photo pilot and photographer are, too! So, please update the blog and also state their names. Giving credit by mentioning a photographer’s name is the least you can and have to do, when publishing photography of this caliber and quality. Thank you!

René Eenhoorn

It brings back great memories when I worked at the Fokker Flight Test department and Fokker Marketing & Sales. There were many of these air-to-air shoots and it was always something very special. It’s an enormous loss that these still state-of-the-art aircraft will disappear from the SPL homegrounds.
This air-to-shoot would have been moe iconic if the Fokker 70 choosen, was the one in the current special Fokker livery with the portrait of Anthony Fokker on the tail. End of october will be a sad period …….

Freek en Anja vermeeren

Prachtig!! Wij zijn trots op onze zoon Stefan Vermeeren voor alles wat hij de laatste 2 jaar heeft gedaan mbt de Fokker vloot

Comanche Pilot

I have to ask why this superb aircraft is being retired?

Duke Ham

Mooi om te zien dat dezelfde gevoelens leven bij de gebruiker, in dit geval KLC, als bij de fabrikant.
Weemoed overheerst, maar ik ben een gelukkig mens omdat ik mijn steentje heb mogen bijdragen.
Bedankt voor het geweldige eerbetoon!

Matt Crawford

Great Blog, I am flying the ex KLM F70 for Air Niugini in Papua New Guinea, after many years on the F100 I am enjoying these little sporty jets. I have a lot of great Pics of these machines flying around PNG and the south pacfic, would love to send them over to you guys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *