Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Saved from the dustbin (4)

Back in the old days, everything was different. Sometimes people say this when they are in a nostalgic mood. And of course, they are right, things have changed! Also in air transport methods were used that we hardly remember. Below, you'll find a few examples. I hope they make you smile.

Just envisage the giant catering trucks necessary to provide food for 400 passengers on a non stop flight from London to Singapore. Not so in the old days. A couple of baskets were brought to the aircraft by someone who looked like the local grocer. Then the chief steward took his pick. Please note his uniform which seems to be copied from his colleagues on the high seas.
"Today I can recommend the paté."
These days, privacy is a big thing. But there was a time when your luggage was inspected en plein publique. I am not certain both these gentlemen are customs inspectors but they sure radiate curiosity.
"Honest, I bought this for my wife-to-be!"
Even today weight is an important element in determining whether an aircraft can safely take off (or land for that matter). But admittedly, the weight factor is just a little less important than it was. Today, a passengers' weight is assumed. Loadsheets are calculated based on average numbers. And with the thrust provided by the current jet engines, a pound more or less is not that important any more. But even until after WWII, the weight of every individual passenger had to be recorded and taken into account when calculating the take off weight of the aircraft.
Weighing a passenger at Schiphol Airport in 1945
For the experts in air cargo transportation, this may come as a surprise. You may have thought that nose loading is an invention of Boeing or Antonov. But the aircraft shown below, probably a Fokker F.III, already features this facility around 1925.
Air cargo in the twenties: a shipment of strawberries being nose loaded.
If for whatever reason mechanical power cannot be provided or does not do the trick, you just round up all the guys in the hangar. But although there seem to be a lot of 'volunteers', moving an aircraft with an empty weight of nearly 20 metric tons, still makes this a weighty job.
"OK folks, let's get this thing moving!"
The 'thing' being the KLM DC4 PH-TAT Twenthe
Thanks to my former colleagues Bert Besseling and Aris Zwart, the above pictures, and many more, have been saved from destruction. One way or another they all relate to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. You may read the details of this find in 'dustbin #1'. 
To enlarge a picture please click on it.


  1. Even the nose loader seems odd,I think it was only the space under the captains chair?
    Regards Bert

  2. Judging by the number of boxes going up the stairs, I can only conclude the captain is well seated! But then, we knew that, didn't we...

  3. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  4. Thank you for welcoming me, Dr. Bill. And you may rest assured that I will keep sharing my ancestor stories, at least until 2029 ;-)
    Kind regards,

  5. Welcome to Geneabloggers. II'm sure you'll find quite a number of blogs on Geneabloggers which are very interesting.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  6. Thanks Jim, I know there are many interesting blogs including yours about dating pictures!


  7. A nice collection of photos - and, yes, they did make me smile. Thank you,
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  8. Thank you Theresa, there are more to come.

    For other readers, Theresa's blog is at


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