A group of nine pilots from the 99th RAF Squadron arrived in Landsmeer near Amsterdam today after four days of cycling from the UK. They were welcomed with a fanfare by the mayor like heroes. Every year they go to the monument to commemorate their deceased Squadron members. And since the British army is cutting back on expenses, the nine men couldn’t fly over and so they decided in true Dutch style to bike 750 kilometres.
The first question RTVNH (Radio and Television North Holland) had for one of them in true British understatement style was “how are your buttocks?”.
Way back in 2007 we had already posted on the flying car, announced by Dutch company PAL-V, and in 2009 we posted about PAL-V finally demoing it and it didn’t fly.
Earlier this year  Pal-V promised a demonstration of its technology, it disappointed the collected international press by showing a gyroscope and a Carver, but not the hybrid that everybody has been waiting for these past years.
And since third time’s the charm, here below is the video of the flying car, uploaded just yesterday. The PAL-V can be used in road traffic as well as in the air, offering a choice of driving or flying. It can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h on land and in the air, and should have a normal petrol version and biofuel version. I wonder about licenses, insurances, pundits, and the rest of the fallout, but one thing at a time.
The idea is to check Facebook or LinkedIn when you check in to pick where you want to sit according to people’s profiles. KLM believes that would be a good call for business flights and making contacts.
As far as ordinary flights are concerned, I’d be more inclined to eliminate who I wouldn’t want beside me, including any type of person who takes up too much space or makes too much noise, be it tall, big, with small children or a loud mp3 player. Of course, nobody would have to allow this kind of linking to social media, as it could also be used for evil.
What if some strange man who accosts single women during flights sits next to me? He picked me, but I surely didn’t pick him. Or a thief. Just saying.
Great idea for business, but I can foresee a lot of issues for anyone who is tall, big and has small children.
A goose meat croquette sounds to me like a Dutch Christmas appetizer or even a fancy French one. However, the geese in question are some of 100.000 geese a year that are shot to stop planes at Schiphol getting geese in their engines.
Beach side café Beach Inn in IJmuiden, North Holland is serving goose meat croquettes made from the geese shot down at Schiphol airport. As I also saw recently on telly, a goose hunter for the airport said catching and releasing would mean hiring an army (they fly back to the airport anyways, a waste of time) and poisoning their eggs is just not done anymore and doesn’t really help.
The geese are usually destroyed or sometimes end up in cat food. Rob Hagenouw, an artist from Amsterdam, contacted some hunters, score some goose and worked hard at creating his own recipe. He says that with his croquettes, the flavours really come out.
Eating goose, or turkey for that matter, is not really a Christmas thing in the Netherlands for many reasons. First, many people do not have ovens due to a lack of living space. They have combination microwave and and oven devices that barely fit a decent sized pizza. Second, even if you do have an oven like I do, a goose or turkey won’t fit. Guineafowl or chicken is the best you can hope for. Another reason is that it’s just not a Dutch tradition to shove a big bird in the oven.
Two weeks ago in Haarlem I popped into Dutch café in den Uiver, named after KLM’s Douglas DC-2 airplane, Uiver to have a beer and look around again at the cool Dutch airplane memorabilia on the walls. Lo and behold, that weekend besides Haarlem’s Jazz Fest, it was also the Centennial Festival of the Fokker Spin or ‘spider’, the flight of Anthony Fokker’s airplane ‘Spin’ that flew over St. Bavo Church 100 years ago, an aircraft he built and flew when he was just 20.
Although bankrupt in 1996, Fokker airplanes are still around today in KLM’s fleet and are an important part of Dutch aviation history. The Fokker Trimotor, as used by Richard Byrd to fly over the North Pole, is probably the best known of his planes.
For the occasion, Haarlem’s young beer brewery Jopen, of which I could go on about with many stories, brewed a Fokker Spin beer. In den Uiver had it on tap, and it had a proper bitter yet sharp after taste. But never ever drink and fly.
“First job, find KLM passengers who have checked into their flight via one of KLM’s Foursquare locations or left a message through Twitter. Second job, search their social profiles, get to know them in a, er, discreet manner, to think of a personalised gift.”
Free stuff is nice and I guess this is an interesting marketing campiagn, but it does make me feel uncomfortable and I don’t see the use of it. Of course, if you tweet what you do or tell people on Foursquare where you are, you can expect anyone to be able to read it. However, wouldn’t it be better if KLM or any airline for that matter could just serve you better in general?
Although the goal was to see how happiness spreads, all I can think of is all the hundreds of people that were stranded at Schiphol airport recently. No gift can make up for that.
First you follow the link to the cute little Delft blue houses, and then you can click on any of the 91 bottles and find out what house it is and where. Most of them can be found in Amsterdam, but a few of them are from towns like Amersfoort, Delft, Breda and Schiedam.
I spontaneously clicked on number 81 and got ‘proeflokaal’ (roughly ‘tasting pub’) De Drie Fleschjes (The Three Bottles) in Amsterdam pictured above (here is what it looks like today). Ironically, it is a place to sample gin and have a drink.
What I thought was odd though is that there is the same house twice (11 and 23), another ‘proeflokaal’ in Amsterdam, Wijnand Fockink. I think the makers of the site made a mistake, as 90 is a much nicer number.
Two dance music fans wanted to go to the Ultra Music dance festival in Miami in late March, but there were no direct flights to Miami in that period. The guys decided to challenge KLM on Twitter: if they could get 150 people for a flight, KLM would fly them to Miami. KLM agreed, but they had to have the people before 6 December. They started a website and got 285 people!
If this is not a creative use of Twitter, I don’t know what is. It also sounds like a Christmas tale. Well, OK, a little bit like one.
(Link: sevendays.nl, Photo of an unrelated Lufthansa Canadair regional jet 900 (or 700?) flying to Munich out of Schiphol airport)
Artist Marte Röling (often misspelled Martha) has a Lockheed F-104 starfighter in her garden in Uithuizen, Groningen that apparently has to be removed if she hasn’t removed it already. Although it has been sitting there since 1989, some boffins at the Ministry of Defense now think it could be slightly radioactive. Röling received the starfighter as a long-term loan art project. This reminds me of some Peter Tooms in Schoonloo, Drenthe who has a Russian MiG in his yard, although maybe it has been removed as well.
Back in 1976 Prince Bernhard (husband of Queen Juliana) cashed a US$1.1 million bribe from American aviation company Lockheed to ensure that the Lockheed F-104 would win out over France’s Mirage 5 made by Dassault for the purchase contract. Long story short, Bernhard refused to admit it, but after his death in 2004, it turned out to be ‘highly plausible’, but I don’t know if proven is the right word. Lockheed deposited large sums of cash into an account of some guy called Victor Baarn, a person that could never be traced. Co-blogger Branko tells me that Dutch comic strip artist Martin Lodewijk has been milking that story for ages, as in almost every Agent 327 comic book (a character loosely based on James Bond) the secret identity of Victor Baarn threatens to come out.
“How hot are you on your gay capitals?” is the the slogan of a KLM promotional website, klmgaygetaway.co.uk. Guess the gay destination and you could win a trip to a gay capital. I’m going to try it first and then write the rest of my posting.
(time lapse, 2 min)
I got all 10 capitals right, they all had pictures of the skyline and a choice of three answers, so it was too easy and terribly cliché. I’m outing them for you: Amsterdam, New York, Rome, Vancouver, San Francisco, Barcelona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Cape Town and Nice.