After his training as airline pilot at the RLS (Civil Government Flying School) the editor of this book flew from the summer of 1955 in the Royal Netherlands Air Force on the Gloster Meteor, ending in 1957 as a reserve-pilot with the 322 Squadron at Soesterberg. He served as pilot with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from 1956-1992, his last function being captain on the 747/400. During his KLM years he studied law at the Amsterdam Municipal University and in 1974 he succesfully defended his Doctorate-at-Law thesis:
'Aircraft Accident Inquiry in the Netherlands'.
He flew on the DC-3 of the Dutch Dakota Association from 1989 - 1996.
'This book contains the story of a special group of military pilots: the group which just after World War II flew the Gloster Meteor, the first (twin-engined) jet fighter of the Dutch air force. It appeared that a special manner of flying was required when one of the engines of this aircraft had failed and rather a lot of the stories in this book deal with the struggle to understand and master that problem. It is written in the words of the (surviving) persons involved and thus is trenchant.
As someone who has grown up only later in aviation, in a safe and structured environment, built on - amongst others - the earlier learnt lessons, this reviewer has happily not needed to operate that close to the razor's edge. This has many advantages, but all the same also a disadvantage. The realisation how hostile exactly the air is, as the environment of aviation, that sometimes gets lost because of the wide safety margins which we observe today. That realisation, and the related respect for that environment, quickly returns during the reading of the present book.'
Benno Baksteen, Captain, Boeing 747, Chairman, Platform for Dutch Aviation
'I believe this book presents a true picture and draws accurately from the official documents covering the Dutch speed and altitude records, which my late husband set in August 1949. I am sure that his reports, together with the other Meteor
accounts submitted by his friends and colleagues, will make fascinating reading'.
Mrs. M. Flinterman - Bryson
'At the Dutch Dakota Association we hold the motto: 'working at the future of the past'. By restoring and operating Douglas aircraft, we enable the public, both in the Netherlands and abroad, to get nostalgic about flying in a Dakota or in a Skymaster. Looking from this perpective, it would have been nice if a Gloster Meteor could have lifted into the air, but in the Netherlands this is 'mission impossible'. The editor of 'Het paard van Phaëthon', former colleague DC-3 pilot and Captain Aart van Wijk, has in an amazing and original manner succeeded in bringing the Gloster Meteor to life.
The stories of more than one hundred former Meteor pilots made me sit down in the cockpit of this first jet fighter of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. During reading I shared with them the strain of twin-engined flying and the joy of a new generation of aircraft, as well as the sorrow over their deceased colleagues. This book should be compulsory reading for all flying schools because of the lessons which can be drawn from it. It is a welcome present for all those who wish to present themselves with a look into the kitchen/cockpit of early post-war flying of jet fighters'.
Anne Cor Groeneveld, President of the Dutch Dakota Association
'It is surprising and at the same time delightful that the editor of the present book has reached for the Phaëthon story by Ovid in order to describe the sensation of flying and the horror of an aviation accident. Amazing because in this pre-eminently modern context a poet of two thousand years ago takes the floor. Delightful because the editor lets his readers enjoy the visionary imagination of a Roman poet from a time when only birds were flying.'
Doctor D. den Hengst, Professor of Latin Language and Literature, University of Amsterdam
About the editor of this book: