KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has had a close relationship with the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker for 97 years. KLM is the oldest airline in the world that still uses its original moniker. Some of their first airliners were Fokker F.II and F.IIIs. Of course KLM has also used the majority of the Douglas DC-X series airliners, every Boeing 7X7 type, Lockheed Constellations, Airbuses, and various DeHavilland and Convair aircraft as well. But over the first 19 years of KLM’s storied history their aircraft were almost entirely Fokker aircraft, ranging from the original F.II through the F.XXXVI.
As far as Regional equipment is concerned, KLM Cityhopper and the other KLM Regional subsidiaries have flown Fokker F-50s since 1991, F-70s since 1995, and F-100s since 1991. Embraer 175 and 190 aircraft have replaced the F-50 and F-100 over the years. The only Fokker aircraft currently in KLM service are Fokker 70s, the last of which are due to be replaced in October of 2017.
The final farewell for the Fokker F-70 will feature tributes to Anthony Fokker and KLM’s relationship with the pioneering Dutch aviator, designer, and manufacturer. The last Fokker 70 in service has received a special commemorative paint scheme with a portrait of Anthony Fokker on the vertical stabilizer and special graphics on the fuselage.
Fokker was known as the “Flying Dutchman.” In 1910 as a young man he designed and built The Spider- his first airplane. Fokker went on to build and test-fly many more of his own designs. An entire series of passenger airplanes, much later referred to as airliners, were his most enduring contribution to aviation, but he also designed and built several of the German Air Force’s fighter aircraft used during World War I. Fokker was the inventor of the synchronization device that allowed machine guns to be fired through the propeller arc while in flight.
Fokker moved to America during 1926. He lost no time building up another division of his company, called Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, in the United States. After a few successful years in the business he sold his American aircraft plants to General Motors, which renamed them the General Aviation division of General Motors. Anthony Fokker passed away in 1939 at the age of 49. He was a true aviation pioneer and his designs became famous and were used the world over. It was a Fokker F.VII that United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd and Machinist Floyd Bennet flew over the North Pole during May of 1926.