March 21, 2013

Bijlmer airplane disaster to be made into a fiction film

Filed under: Aviation,Film,History by Orangemaster @ 6:43 pm

After almost 21 years, someone is finally going to film a fictional story about Amsterdam’s world famous ‘Bijlmer disaster’ (‘Bijlmerramp’), where an Israeli cargo plane taking off from Schiphol Airport crashed into two blocks of flats and killed some 40 odd people, wounding many more. The ‘Bijlmer disaster’ is known as the worst aviation disaster in the history of the country.

The plot of the film entitled “Into Thin Air” by Dutch executive producer Maarten van der Ven will be a 50 minute film about a 50-year-old man living in one of the flats whose wife has died. One day a 13-year-old (we don’t know if it is a girl or boy) comes to live with him from Ghana, and just when his life gets better, the plane crashes into their flat.

On 13 April 1999 I came to live in the Netherlands in the flat right in front of this monument, unaware of the entire story. The next day on April 14 while I was unpacking my things with major jetlag, a local camera crew came to the door and asked me in Dutch what I thought of the report on the Bijlmer disaster, which had taken seven years to investigate. I didn’t speak Dutch back then so I just nodded and shooed them away. When my Dutch roommate got home, I told him about the camera crew and he took me to see this tree, the ‘tree that saw it all’, and explained to me what had happened.

(Link:, Photo of Bijlmer disaster memorial by harry_nl, some rights reserved)

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February 6, 2010

Airport on the North Sea

Filed under: Architecture,Aviation,Science by Branko Collin @ 3:07 pm

The way the Dutch viewed their national airport Schiphol has changed over the years. From the starting point of an adventure, it became the nuisance in the backyard. The Bijlmer disaster of 1992, when victims living (and dying) in Amsterdam’s biggest ghetto were pushed into a secondary role to El Al’s secret cargo, really helped define this latter view.

However, Schiphol’s own ambitions are radically different. Instead of becoming a smaller, gentler airport, it wants to become the major air traffic hub of this part of Europe. People therefore started to look at alternative locations for the airport, not as close to the most densely populated area of this densely populated country. An idea that keeps floating to the top is that of an airport in either the IJsselmeer or the North Sea, even though the Ministry of Transport and Water Management concluded in 2003 that a second national airport was superfluous, for now. Such a water-bound airport could be an artificial island, or a mega-floater.

In 2007 Haskoning and Van Oord, who helped build artificial islands before, proposed rotating, floating landing strips (see illustration). And last week, Jan van Kessel got his PhD for a study into the stability of mega-floaters made of hollow, upside down, concrete ‘shoe boxes’, apparently, 50% more stable than traditional barges.

And even though the government has declared the debate redundant, the Dutch keep dreaming of their airport at sea.

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January 28, 2008

Giant cat story not over yet

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 10:50 am

Poor big cat Shin-Chan has been caged up at Schiphol Airport (but not in this picture) for almost two weeks now, as customs is not sure it should be allowed into the Netherlands. Inspectors want to know if the giant cat, a cross between an Asian leopard cat and a African serval with some house cat mix, is kosher (figuratively speaking). The owners of the cat have decided to hire celeb lawyer Bram Moszkowicz who should get things moving. Having paid a whopping EUR 19,000 for their cat, they want to enjoy it.

And then there’s stuff on the net that points to a scam.


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November 29, 2007

My co-pilot is my co-pilot

Filed under: Aviation,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 3:06 pm

I went to pick up a friend at Schiphol airport and noticed they had a new shop called Planes@Plaza. It has all kinds of plane related knick-knacks, but the best reason to visit the shop is that it is physically built around a KLM DC-9 cockpit and cabin interior, with a huge engine on the other side of the shop. To sweeten the deal, you can have a digital picture of you and a friend taken in the cockpit wearing a cap and uniform, albeit a co-pilot’s one (three stripes for co-pilots, four for captains – the photographer knew that as well). And you can keep taking pictures until they get one just right. It costs EUR 5 and comes in a funny paper frame. Even better, while sitting in the cockpit you can have a look around all the buttons, levers and what not of a real cockpit, which does not happen very often. They had to almost drag me away!

The cabin features a film about Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and then there’s also a flight simulator game on one of the Playstations.

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