As a young boy I was always fascinated by aviation. During my early year I drew all kinds of WW2 stuff, such as tanks, warships and the fighter planes in my scrapbook. In addition I also assembled a bunch of WW2 fighter and bomber models kits!
After basic school I went to a technical school to learn a trade of mechanical engineering. Part of achieving a school diploma, was a year "on-the-job" training at an actual company, then afterwards writing up extensive report. I worked at three different companies. It was at that time I realized that I was not going to pursue a career in mechanical engineer….(such as welder or construction worker) But instead follow my passion and work in the aviation industry.
During my last two school years I decided to get a summer job at Schiphol Airport, loading and unloading suitcases. I started working for KLM ground handling department, at Schiphol Airport located in the B-pier. I still remember my first day out during a wet and windy day. Dressed in a blue KLM overall I was called out to help load and unload a KLM DC-8-55 at the C- pier. My next job was loading up Delta Air Transport – DAT Convair 440 which was parked next to the DC-8. At that time piston engine airplanes were still common at Schiphol.
During those summer days I loaded numerous KLM airplanes, such as DC-9 twin-jets, DC-8 series, DC-10 Tri-jets and the giant B747 Jumbo jets. I spend most of the time in the cargo belly stacking up suitcases! During that time many of the big American/Canadian companies such as CP-AIR, Panam, Northwest and TWA could be seen at Schiphol. There were many exotic types of aircraft to be seen at Schiphol, such the Tupolev Tu-134/154, Viscount, Boeing B707, BAC 1-11, Fokker 27s/28s, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, IL-62s, Bae-121 Trident and many more. At that time my fascination for airplanes grew stronger and decided to buy a small camera. I was the start of my photographer′s career, but I mostly took random holiday shots. I was able to bring along my camera to work, and photographed some of the interesting visitors. Looking back now, sadly my photographic skills were not good. But I do have some pictures which I can share on this page.
Then my parents received a letter from the Dutch Government and it was a mandatory invitation for 2-year tour in the Dutch Military Forces. I could not join the Dutch Airforce (which what I wanted), but instead my parents decided that I would join the Army Military Police (MP). During my time in the Dutch Forces I would visit Germany and take part in military exercises. The only airplanes I saw were low-flying F-104 Starfighters. It was during my military service I applied for a job at KLM as a Mechanical Ground Engineer.
Several years later after a failed attempt to work in the Canadian Aviation Industry I was back in Holland and this time I applied at Aero Ground-services BV and was hired as an air-side-employee. At first I was only loading/unloading aircraft. But after a while I was able to drive a loading transporter, which made live a bit easier. Part of the job description was also aircraft cleaning. So depending on the work schedule I was also cleaning aircraft cabins.
Fast forwards….in 2010, I found myself working at Schiphol Airport again due to the financial crises. I was able to work for KLM again, working airside at the KLC towing department & KLM crew transport/jet-bridge department. I found it rather special that my aviation career which began at Schiphol airport also would end at here, just before my early retirement. (March 2021).