This book tells the story of a Dutch boy who grew up during the 1950s in post-war Borneo, where he had frequent encounters with an airplane, the Douglas DC-3, aka the C-47 Skytrain or Dakota of World War II fame. For a young boy living in a remote jungle community, the aircraft reached the proportions of a romantic icon, as the essential lifeline to a bigger world for him, the beginning of a special bond.
In 1957 his family left the island, and all its residual wreckage of World War II, and he attended college in The Hague. After graduation he started a career as a corporate executive, and met the aircraft again during business trips to the Americas. His childhood passion for the Dakota flared up anew, and the fascination pulled like a magnet. As if predestined, or maybe just looking for an alibi to come closer, he began a business to salvage and convert Dakota parts, which meant first of all finding them.
As the demand for these war relic parts and cockpits soared, he began to travel the world to track down surplus, crashed or derelict Dakotas. He ventured deeper and deeper into remote mountains, jungles, savannas and the seas where the planes are found, usually as ghostly wrecks but sometimes still in full commercial operation. In hunting the mythical Dakota he often encountered intimidating or dicey situations in countries plagued by wars or revolts, others by arms and narcotics trafficking, warlords and con men.
This book describes his multiple expeditions in search of the remains of the Dakota legend. It takes the reader to some of the remotest spots in the world, but once there one is often greeted by the comfort of what was once the West’s apex in transportationhowever now haunted by the courageous airmen of the past.
|Product dimensions:||6.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Dutchman Hans Wiesman grew up in post colonial Borneo where his father worked as an engineer for Shell Oil. Growing up in the jungle, Hans was bitten by the Dakota bug at a young age, as the leftover cargo planes from WWII were the only connection to an outside world he had ever seen. 35 years later, while working as an advertising executive, Hans ran into a Dakota during a photo shoot in South America and was immediately mesmerized again. He decided to turn his passion into a full time job and has since been scouring the most remote regions of the planet on a quest to find the last forgotten Dakotas in the world
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Douglas DC-3/C-47/Dakota 7
Chapter 1 Borneo: Born to Be Wild 15
Chapter 2 Holland: In the Beginning 34
Chapter 3 The US Gulf States: Jackpot and Quicksand 57
Chapter 4 Venezuela and Honduras: Angel Falling from the Sky 84
Chapter 5 Bolivia: El Condor Pasa … 110
Chapter 6 Colombia I: Never a Dull Day 142
Chapter 7 Madagascar: Dancing with Colonels 172
Chapter 8 Thailand: Sinking the Dakotas 200
Chapter 9 Alaska and the Yukon: L'aventure se prolongs 228
Chapter 10 Colombia II: Bats Out of Hell 250
Chapter 11 Museums and Projects: The Icons of Victory 284