PH-PBA DDA - the Netherlands 1998

PH-PBA DDA - the Netherlands 1998

History of the DC-3 Dakota PH-PBA

Interesting facts:

  • Producer/manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
  • Type designation: DC-3C-S1C3G
  • Version/mark number: S1C3G
  • Call sign: DC-3 or Dakota. The name of the plane is 'Prinses Amalia'
  • Construction/serial number: 19434, built in 1944
  • Registration number: PH-PBA
  • Previous owners/users: US Air Force - H.R.H. Prince Bernhard - Rijksluchtvaartdienst Current legal owner: Stichting Prins Bernhard Alfa Current user: DDA Classic Airlines Foundation
  • Function: built as C-47 cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force in World War II, now in use as a passenger aircraft for DDA Classic Airlines.
  • Technique / construction method: low deck, built for short to medium haul flights for passengers and freight. The semimonocoque hull is non-pressurized and since 2018 can carry up to 18 passengers and 3 crew members.
  • The aircraft is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney R 1830-92 'Twin Wasp' radial engines of 1200 hp each with Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propellors.
  • Short description aircraft: The aircraft has been on loan to the DDA Classic Airlines Foundation since its restoration in 1998. The flying activities are hosted by the DDA Flight Support Foundation. Since May 2019 the last mentioned Foundation has an AOC. During the season (April to November) roundtrips are made from the larger airports in the Netherlands, but also abroad. Annually between 100 and 150 flight hours are made with between 1500 and 2000 passengers.


January 11, 1944 The PH-PBA leaves the factory as C-47 and is delivered with the registration 19434 to the U.S. Air Force.

6 June 1944 The PH-PBA participates in D-Day above Normandy during "Mission Boston" (registration 42-100971). Five hours before the invasion of D-Day began, this Dakota dropped paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment over Sainte-Mère-Église in Normandy. The C-47 had invasion stripes on its wings.

17 September 1944 Participates in Operation Market Garden (paratroopers dropped near Arnhem). The PH-PBA will be named "The Squirrel" on the fuselage near the cockpit. Later on, the PH-PBA operated supply flights from the provisional airport at Keent near Grave. This is her first time over the Netherlands. The PH-PBA executes droppings over Groesbeek and Overasselt. The staff of Brigadier General James E. Gavin was transported aboard this Dakota to the Battle of Arnhem.

18 and 23 September 1944 On September 18, the PH-PBA will fly to Groesbeek including a glider containing four paratroopers and equipment. On September 23rd another dropping flight with a glider in tow, this time with 13 paratroopers on board.

27 September 1944 First landing of the later PH-PBA in the Netherlands. The PH-PBA therefore has a very important historical value for the Netherlands.

1945 After the war, this C-47 will be stored at Oberpfaffenhofen airbase.

Winter 1945-1946 H.R.H. Prince Bernhard buys the PH-PBA after approval by General Eisenhouwer.

6 February 1946 The C-47 is officially registered in the Dutch Aircraft Register by H.R.H. Prince Bernhard with the registration PH-PBA (Prins Bernhard Alpha). The aircraft will have the colour scheme of Inspector General of the Armed Forces and will be provided with the coat of arms of the Inspector General of the Armed Forces (IGK) which function Z.K.H. Prins Bernhard first fulfilled. To this day, the IGK coat of arms appears on the PH-PBA, thus confirming its long and historic relationship.

March 1946 The PH-PBA will be in service as the first government aircraft of the Netherlands.

25 February 1947 Transferred to the Dutch State and deployed as the first Government aircraft.

1950 The PH-PBA is transported aboard the Karel Doorman from Rotterdam to the West for a state visit.

March 1961 The PH-PBA will be replaced by a Fokker Friendship PH-PBF.

Until mid-1975, the PH-PBA was used by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority as a callibration aircraft.

31 July 1975 The PH-PBA was taken out of service and taken over by the then Aviodome at Schiphol. The PH-PBA is then injected into a KLM schedule and received the registration PH-TCB.

1996 Establishment of the Prince Bernhard Alpha Foundation. On the initiative of HRH Prince Bernhard, the PH-PBA became the property of the PBA Foundation and Air Atlantic undertook an extensive restoration programme in England.

13 November 1998 The PH-PBA is completely restored and returns to the Netherlands in airworthy condition. It is on loan to the DDA Classic Airlines Foundation. DDA has to take good care of the condition of the aircraft and keep it in airworthy condition. The aircraft is executed in pre-war KLM colors.

13 November 2006 The sponsorship agreement with KLM will be extended. The PBA will be performed in two styles: on the left side in pre-war KLM style and on the right side in the style of Air France. The Board of KLM flies the PBA to Paris.

12 July 2007 KLM adopts the PBA and bears the fixed costs. LVNL and Schiphol Airport also participate and become sponsors.

7 December 2010 The PBA is performed in retro 50's KLM style and is frequently used at KLM events at home and abroad. With the permission of HRH Prince Bernhard the PBA is named "Prinses Amalia" , named after the first daughter of Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima.

15 March 2016 KLM terminates its cooperation with DDA. The logo and name of KLM will be removed from the aircraft and there will be a provisional DDA livery.

1 November 2016 - 15 August 2017 In cooperation with Fokker, a weight saving adjustment is carried out to bring the number of chairs from 12 to 18. Thanks to a great effort of the technicians and an excellent cooperation with IL&T, the plane is ready in time for a promotional trip to Sweden. for beer brewery Spendrups. In the same period the E-inspection takes place. This is the most intensive inspection of the plane that takes place once every 5 years.

January 2018 The PBA is carried out in the style in which it has flown for most of its years of existence, namely in the colours of the government aircraft with the coat of arms of the Inspector General of the Armed Forces. He gives his unconditional permission to affix the weapon. This livery does justice to the fact that the PBA belongs to the Dutch Mobile Heritage with a clear Dutch image.

November 2019 - March 2020 The wings of the PBA are disassembled, inspected and reassembled. The plane is in excellent condition and ready for the 2020 flight program.

April 2020 Due to the Corona crisis it was decided to put the PBA in storage at the SKHV in Gilze Rijen. (source


Airshow Photography by Henk Tito
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