Friday, 21 December 2012

Sepia Saturday - There's Xmas in the air

The prompt of this week shows Santa Claus in a Stockholm tram. Living in a country where Saint Nicholas believers still form a large majority, you'll have a hard time catching Santa in a tram. So there is no need to pull out my shoe boxes to look for such a picture. However, stretching the prompt just a little, brings me to people in a vehicle. And thus manipulated, this week's theme offers possibilities.
Readers of this blog may know I spent the best part of my working life in KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. For those readers it will not come as a surprise that my interpretation of the word 'vehicle' turns out to be an aircraft. The first one is the picture of the Boeing 737-800 interior of the aircraft that carried our son's wedding party from Amsterdam to Sicily in 2008. 
Interior of Transavia Boeing 737-800 from Amsterdam to Palermo (Sicily)
That trip took place in September so there is no connection with Christmas here. However, come to think of it, the upholstery of the chairs is (also) Christmas tree green. So mission accomplished. 
During most of my stay with KLM I was involved in the transportation of cargo. So showing you a couple of cargo aircraft is unavoidable. In 1983 I was involved in the organization of an international air cargo exhibition at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. Via a relation we managed to convince the US Military Air Command to put one of their Galaxy's on display in Amsterdam. At the time, and possibly still, this is one of the worlds largest freighter aircraft with a payload of approx 120 metric tonnes.
A USAF Lockheed 5A Galaxy at Amsterdam Airport in 1983
The nose of the aircraft can be lifted (top right). This allows large loads and vehicles to be driven into the aircraft. They can leave the aircraft through the rear exit (bottom). I remember walking on that huge main deck inside the aircraft, that I was very impressed with its dimensions. It is like walking in a city hall. The connection with Christmas? Well, you know that all USAF aircraft display a white star? (Here it is almost hidden behind the starboard wing tip.) And I remember that one of the loadmasters was named Rudolph. What more do you need...
Christmas decorations in a KLM aircraft during the 50's
I can't say I recollect having seen these decorations in real life. But I can imagine it is no longer allowed today because they may be a safety hazard. In any case, it looks nice in this arcraft, probably a Douglas DC-6. (In case you want to know how this picture came to me, please see this earlier post.)
Well folks, this is it for 2012. I am glad I joined Sepia Saturday earlier this year because a) it is good fun, b) it is a nice group of people and c) I learn something every week. Therefore, I like to thank those responsible for keeping me off the street: Kat, Marilyn and Alan. I wish the three of you, and all other Sepians of course as well, a happy Christmas and a good and healthy New Year. And... may you all enjoy your turkey!
For more holiday contributions, please switch to the mother of all Sepia Saturday Sites.


  1. Peter, great Christmas contribution! These cargo aircrafts are so huge; sweet the Xmas decoration in the aircraft. Wish you and your family a very beautiful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2013.

  2. I wonder how many hairdos got caught in those Christmas decorations. Have a splendid holiday, Peter!

  3. Back in the 1980s I used to fly regularly to and from Norway with DanAir. On one boozy Christmas flight I took a lot of photos of the passengers and the stewardesses entertaining us in Christmas dress. They confiscated all the photos when I showed them to the crew in the next year.
    I've searched all my old negatives to try to rescue them for this week - no luck so far.
    Geatphotos Peter. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

  4. I have always thought of Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas has variations of the same character.

    I especially like the photo of the decorations in the plane.

  5. That is an amazing photo of the plane with the under part open. Whatever it is called. I cannot imagine the size of that. All the blessings of Christmas to you and yours. So great having you as part of this linky party.

  6. Those cargo planes are amazingly capacious, but still small in comparison to Santa's sleigh! My best wishes to you, Peter, for a happy holiday.

  7. I was amazed to see decorations hanging in that earlier plane, that is something you would never see now! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

  8. When you mentioned "Rudolph", that did it for me, mission accomplished right then and there!!

    Happy holidays to you and your family!!

  9. @Bob
    I am curious to see those negatives. I'm sure there must have been a good reason to confiscate those pictures :)
    I think they are cousins.
    That 'under part' is called the ramp. Thanks for your kind words!
    It is obvious that a reindeer beats a jumbo any time.

    Thank you all for this Christmas visit. Merry Christmas to you all!

  10. I've never had to fly on or near Christmas day thank goodness but it looks like they knew how to do it on style.

  11. Prettige kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar 2013!
    Häid Jõule ja Head Uut Aastat 2013!
    Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo 2013!

  12. Hi Peter, Merry Christmas to you too! Very interesting post. Those cargo carriers are amazing. It is hard to believe that they can carry such heavy loads.

    Kathy M.

  13. Heel fijne kerstdagen, Peter!

  14. Hey Peter! Wishing You A Great Christmas! Best Wishes,Tony.

  15. Oh the wedding party on the air craft must have been great fun. We were on a train once for a day to a wedding and that still brings a smile. Husband flew many military aircraft carriers while in AF so he enjoyed your photos too. Merry Christmas, belated but Happy New year too. Ha

  16. A very impressive contribution indeed!

    Een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar 2013!
    Head Uut Aastat 2013!
    Felice Anno Nuovo 2013!

    For You and for Your Guests too!

  17. Peter, you have brought back memories of huge tankers that used to fly over our house when I was a child. We lived for a time on a military reservation at the entrance to Pearl Harbor with Hickam AFB nearby. You could hear the beasts coming before the sun was blocked out. No matter what you were doing, if it involved talking, you stopped. Suddenly the sun was blocked and all you heard were the engines as a KC 145 lifted off and cleared our house. I could stand outside and wave at the pilots who would wave back at me. It never seemed scary, just something you were used to having grown up around the military.

  18. I like how you tied all your photographs to Christmas in one way or another, Peter. I've never seen a cargo plane before. It looks positively huge! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  19. @T&L
    Having lived very close to the airport of Amsterdam I know what you mean. But despite the noise, and sometimes the smell of kerosene, aircraft are intriguing. And you keep looking up whenever you hear one.
    Just a minor thing, I think you have seen a KC135 i.s.o. aKC145. The 135 is thé refuelling aircraft. It looks very much like the old Boeing 707. Also it is a lot smaller that the Galaxy in my blog.

    I'm wishing you all a healthy New Year!


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