De Schelde S.21: Tadpole sting.

With its pusher engine, twin boom tail feathers and hugely glassed cockpit canopy, the S.21 looked right out of a pulp aviation comic of its era. This late 1930s/early 1940s Dutch single-seat fighter design was the brainchild of T. E. Slot, the former chief designer of Pander & Son. Of all-metal construction and powered by a German 1050hp DB 600Ga, as conceived, the S.21 was heavily armed with four fixed light machine guns and a curious 23mm Madsen cannon which could be directly handled by its pilot.
The construction of the prototype was initiated in the early 1939, and it was still uncompleted when the German invaded the Nederlands in May 1940. Seized by the conquerors, the prototype, still unfinished and unflown, was destroyed by them during some terminal structural tests.

Magnificently done contemporary cutaway.

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Fokker T.V: In the genes.

This boxy and inelegant aircraft was Fokker answer to a Netherlands Army Air Force’s dubious late 1930s requirement: the Luchtkruiser (aerial cruiser). An aircraft with a primary role of enemy bombers heavy interceptor with could be used also as a bomber itself. The product Fokker presented was quite modern at first sight but not structurally though, being of Fokker’s usual mixed-construction. First flown in 1937, the T.V proved to be decent enough during its tests. Anyway, by then sane minds prevailed and the few T.Vs produced (around 15) were purchased as mere medium bombers. Beset with engine problems, during the German invasion of 1940 the T.Vs performed more than decently mainly as bombers. Curiously, in their first combat the T.Vs shot down, by chance, two German bombers. Luchtkruisers they were, after all. To no avail, the German steamroller was unstoppable.

This precious classic style cutaway uncovers the obsolescence under the T.V.s skin.

Fokker F.XII(?): Chronic clones.

These “generic” Fokker trimotors looks like an artist interpretation of the F.XII. The F.XII was conceived by Reinhold Platz in 1930 as a further improvement of the iconic F.VIIb-3M. As usual nothing bold in this airliner, just an evolution of the proven Fokker formula. The about ten acquired  served in their intended KLM Far Eastern service (Amsterdam to Batavia route).

Almost half of the KLM’s F.XII fleet was present in this sublime 1931 Art Déco poster…., all with the same registration.

Douglas DC-6A Liftmaster: Trust in the right place.

The relation between the Dutch airline company KLM and the Douglas Aircraft company has been one of almost total fidelity. Through the years KLM operated all the stallions in the Douglas stable.

Gorgeously composed ad. Those superb money-making machines that were the DC-6s served them right; first as airliners and later as productive freighters.

Fokker S.11 Instructor: The way ahead.


In 1945 even if the war had devastated Fokker company’s Schipol plant, the Dutch Fokker company was determined to restart its own aviation activities. Back to the basics. The design team came up with the idea of a very simple elementary trainer which could be produced employing the simple tooling available while the company was being rebuilt. The S.11 prototype had its maiden flight in 1947 and was soon in production for the Royal Netherlands AF. A few other air forces soon followed. The type was also produced under licence in Italy and Brazil. The later produced its own local variants, one of them with a tricycle undercarriage: the S.12.

The pedestrian Instructor and the superb S.14 Machtrainer prototype. With this pair Fokker was able to offer air forces a neat training package from primary to jet. Only the Dutch took it.