The former Dutch Dakota Association Douglas DC-4 PH-DDS, which has been resident at Rand, South Africa since 2003, is due to return to Holland later this year with the Flying Dutchman Foundation (FDF). The aircraft was a popular attendee at events in Europe during the 1990s and early 2000s, making memorable appearances at the 1998 Biggin Hill Air Fair and the ‘100 Years of Flight’ park at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2003 among other shows. That RIAT was the DC-4’s last appearance in the UK before it headed off for South Africa, where it was initially operated by Springbok Flying Safaris and later by Rovos Air as ZS-AUA.
During early January a team from the FDF visited Rand to work on the airliner, with a view to getting it airworthy again in about six months. The foundation acquired the aircraft during 2013, and intends to licence the DC-4 to carry passengers following its return to the Netherlands.
The DC-4 has a particularly illustrious history in Holland. On 21 May 1946, a KLM DC-4 set off to New York from Amsterdam, making the Dutch flag-carrier the first European airline to offer a scheduled service across the Atlantic to the ‘Big Apple’. The FDF aircraft will feature at several anniversary celebrations over the next few years, including the KLM centenary during October 2019.
This particular aircraft, c/n 42934, also has strong associations with South Africa, having originally been delivered to South African Airways (SAA) on 25 March 1946 and given the fleet name Tafelberg. It was the first aircraft to land at Jan Smuts Airport on 17 April 1952, and flew the final commercial SAA DC-4 service during 1966.