Thundering engines

During the early years, KLM advertisements mainly featured aircraft and key maps. However, being a thrifty company, the airline did not always depict its newest aircraft, but often added new information to older material.

Plesman remained convinced that the company could win the confidence of new customers with good propaganda material. He considered 'safety' and 'comfort' to be concepts of the utmost importance.

According to Plesman, insufficient attention had been paid to the latter. In an article on aviation, he said the following about comfort: 'This is too scant at present, but will improve as aircraft increase in size.

The thundering engines are a terrible nuisance, which will be done away with the use of silencers. Airsickness is another unpleasant phenomenon, which is likely to be counteracted by the use of larger and better equipped aircraft in the future."

Airborncertificate for passengers as a souvenir for their first flight

In an information brochure, passengers were advised to 'loosely place a small wad of cottonwool in both ears, to muffle the engine noise".

Pills to counteract airsickness were distributed to passengers at the airport, who were informed that 'it is advisible to keep the cabin windows closed during take-off, but, if you so desire, they can be opened once you are in the air; good ventilation is extremely important and prevents airsickness.

Besides sound aircraft and regular flights, management emphasised the necessity of good personnel: 'The results of the company are largely dependent on the actions of those steering the aircraft. It is an absolute necessity for our enterprise, that these vital people should be carefully selected, well trained and highly disciplined, and that they should have the right attitude."

In those days the passengers were often foreigners who set great store by personal service: 'The station staff and those at the booking office must therefore speak their languages.

They should also have the ability to tactfully deal with passengers who are cantankerous and spoilt.'

Fokker F.XII over a Dutch landscape, 1930

Fokker F.IX, just prior to take-offFokker F9 interior

Fokker FVIIb-3M with 'HOLLAND-JAVA' on its bellyFokker F.XII, tractor bringing it to the hangar, 1930

Fokker F.XII starting engines

Startsignal from the controller at Schiphol tower



Regular airline to the East

After several KLM testflights from Amsterdam to Batavia in the periode from 1924 to 1928 and the two-weekly testservice in 1929, on september 25 1930 finally the moment was there to start a regular two-weekly service to the East-Indies.An enormous organisation was needed for this service, mostly done by Hans Martin, who was specially in charge of this operation.

Crew stood often for big surprises however, flying from mail and passengers


was still a great adventure in those days en the best skills from the KLM pilots were needed to make it a safe journey

The aircrafts used were Fokkers F.VIIb-3M.

At that time the new Fokkers F.IX were delivered to the KLM. They proved to be oneconomic on this service: the roomy cabin of the F.IX just could not be filled with payload at that time of economic crisis in the world.

Not satisfied with new folders

Despite all of this, both of the KLM F.IX's made one flight each to the Indies. The first, PH-AGA named 'Adelaaf' (Eagle), departed on 13 November 1930 on a 13-day flight to Batavia.

The crew consisted of pilots Smirnoff and Aler, radio operator Strijkers and flight engineers Westrate and Waalewijn.

On 5 February 1931, PH-AFIC followed with Hondong and Pellens on board as pilots, and Weber and de Jong as flight engineers.

The radio operators were Hegener of the Nederlandsche Seintoestellen Fabriek (NSF), and Pronk of Radio Holland.

This second aircraft returned to Schiphol on 20 March 1931 after having overcome a series of technical snags. Bulky radio equipment was carried onboard both flights, enabling extensive transmission tests to be successfully performed.

The papers reported that "signals were received at either Schiphol or Bandoeng, Java each day".