KLM farewell flights
Tuesday 11th November 2014 and the last ever passenger flights on an MD11. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated 3 farewell flights from Amsterdam to Amsterdam. KL 9895 at 1030, KL 9897 at 1300 and KL 9899 at 1530. The flights lasted approximately 1 hour and flew quiet low around the Dutch countryside. All 3 flights were operated by PH-KCD 'Florence Nightingale'. Myself and 2 friends were on the last of the 3 flights.
Check in was in a dedicated zone in the main terminal, i was a bit disappointed special souvenir boarding passes were not made for the occasion but that did not detract from the days enjoyment at all.
Boarding was from gate C22 and a bus to the stand. At the gate we were given souvenir last flight bags containing goodies like safety cards, sweets, air sick bags, snacks. The aircraft was parked remote on Schipol South. Also close by was PH-KCB on display (and standby just in case) and DC-3 PH-PBA. We were asked not to take pictures whilst boarding and could do so instead afterwards at our leisure. However i was able to get some whilst waiting to board anyway;
Both MD11's had been adorned with special titles celebarting KLM's long association with Douglas Aircraft. They had the titles KLM - Douglas Aviation History and then DC-2, DC-3. DC-4, DC-5, DC-6, DC-7, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-11 as seen on PH-KCB below, marking the fact KLM were the only airline to ever operate all Douglas types.
The 3 flights used 3 different runways to take off from. Our flight took off from runway 24 and like the other 2 flew low lever around the Dutch country side between 1500 and 5000 ft. Over Rotterdam we climbed from 1500 to 5000ft in one go in an impressive right hand turn with plenty of power. Flight duration was just under an hour.
On board was like a party atmosphere. Farewell cakes and wine were given out. Many peolple were signing words of thanks and memories on the overhead lockers and backs of seats.
On board we were also given a superb book entitled 'The last McDonnel Douglas Farewell - from DC-2 to MD-11. Its really well put together and has some lovely pictures of KLM MD11's right from construction to withdrawl. You can buy one from;
Order the MD11 farewell book.
All too soon we were back in Amsterdam. We landed on runway 24 which was a special treat as normally it is only used for take offs. We then were escorted in a loop around the airport by DC-3 PH-PBA before heading back to the Schipol South stands and a water cannon salute from the fire department. By this time it was dark but the stands had some good lighting provided enabling pictures to be taken before climbing aboard the buses to take us back to the terminal again.
A very good day and well done to KLM for putting on such a good show.
We had a great day and one of my friends Mark Fabiano was on his first and only MD11 flight. Something he'll never forget.
The 3 MD11's left at Amsterdam will now go for part and scrap to the USA. PH-KCD should be the last to go in early 2015.
The first 2 pictures below are of Flo taxiing back to stand after the 1st pleasure flight of the day. Flags flying from the cockpit windows are KLM flag and McDonnel Douglas. Credit and Thanks go to Robin Bamps for provding the pcitures before he enjoyed a ride on the 3rd and final flight.
Another friend of mine, Steve Hampton came along to witness the 3 flights and get some pictures. The ones below are his efforts from various points around the airport perimeter.
Here's a really good you tube video from Thomas Nebel of the last flight with outside and on board footage as well.
You tube clip of the last flight