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Aviation Theme Park to be opened in The Netherlands 
'Aviodrome': new home for Holland's aviation heritage!

Press release
Opening aviation themepark Aviodrome 
postponed until autumn 2003

The Dutch National Aviation Museum is in the process of moving to a new location. The 'Aviodome' museum at Amsterdam Airport has been closed. In the summer of 2003 a brand new Aviation Theme Park named 'Aviodrome', much larger than the old museum, will open its doors at Lelystad Airport. The new theme park will feature many interesting interactive exhibits. Apart from museum pieces demonstrating Holland's aviation heritage, the theme park will also fly two classic airliners from the new location.

In 2003 the Dutch National Aviation Museum will see a new milestone realised. A brand new aviation theme park will be opened at Lelystad Airport, close to Amsterdam. The theme park, the first of its kind in this part of Europe, will be named 'Aviodrome'. This name refers to both the old 'Aviodome' museum at Amsterdam Airport and an aerodrome. The new museum, with the classic DC-2 and Constellation both taking the skies from the theme park site, will certainly become one!

Travelling through time 

The new theme park will have a lot to offer. A 'time machine' will take visitors back to the very beginning of Dutch aviation history; the first Dutch take-off of the Wright Flyer in 1909. From this point the journey through time can begin. At the end of their visit, theme park guests will have witnessed a century of aviation history. One of the historic highlights visitors will encounter is the flight of the "Pelikaan" (Pelican); guests will board a 1930's KLM Fokker airliner for a simulated flight from pre-war Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport). Outside, time-travellers will find an exact copy of the 1928 Schiphol terminal building, the home of the Dutch National Aviation Library. The two flying airliners are the pride of the Aviodrome. Both the Lockheed Constellation and the Douglas DC-2 'Uiver', honouring KLM's successful participation in the 1934 Melbourne Race, will be housed in the Operational Hangar. Visitors can witness maintenance work on both machines or see an engine run-up, or even a flight, on the tarmac outside. The theme park will feature many more interesting sites. Visitors will see an impression of a WW2 British T-2 hangar. The Aviodrome also possesses a genuine German 'Messerschmidt hangar', left in Holland by the German occupier, which in its time accommodated up to nine fighter aircraft. This hangar will be moved to Lelystad to become part of the exposition at a later stage. The main Aviodrome building will provide an interactive overview of the Dutch history of flight, showing Anthony Fokker's legacy at its best. The building will house a large exposition hall, together with a 250-seat cinema, a restaurant, congress facilities and the museum shop.

Planes and events 

The Fokker collection ranges from the now fully restored 1927 Fokker F.7 passenger plane to later Fokker products such as the F.27 'Friendship' and F.50 turboprop aircraft. A Fokker plane also starts the history of military aviation, from the replica of the infamous DR.1 visitors will walk on to a genuine pre-war Fokker C.5 biplane in pristine condition. Military history then takes guests to planes from other manufacturers such as the Spitfire and the prelude to the modern Dutch airforce; the F-104 Starfighter which was the backbone of the Dutch air force until the arrival of the current F-16. The F-104 will be part of a Cold War exposition, 'face to face' with its adversary, the MiG 21. The Aviodrome ThemePark will also host many flying events. Pleasure flights in Fokker aircraft will be organised and the Dutch Dakota Association (DDA) will fly its aircraft from the themepark site. In the summer of each year (September 6th in 2003) the Lelystad Airshow, with a different theme each year, will be organised. The Dutch National Aviation ThemePark Aviodrome is expected to open for visitors in July 2003.

The temporary offices of the Aviodrome are located at the Dakotaweg 11A, 8281 NT Lelystad Airport, The Netherlands, tel. (+31).320.289.840. Please email questions or comments to: r.fischer@aviodrome.nl

Press release

Opening aviation themepark Aviodrome 
postponed until autumn 2003

Lelystad, The Netherlands May 12th - The opening of the Dutch National aviation themepark Aviodrome has been postponed until the autumn of this year. Aviodrome will not open on the initially intended opening date in July.

The very strong winter caused a much bigger delay in building the themepark than was initially expected. This means that, instead of completing the themepark before the summer holidays in the construction sector, building activities will have to be temporarily postponed during this period. The opening is now planned for the autumn of 2003.

The aviation themepark Aviodrome will become a unique aviation attraction. The museum will have an exposition measuring over 6000 square meters, it will be housing many aircraft with a significant role in Dutch aviation history. Outside a number of historic aviation related buildings are being replicated, the pre-war Amsterdam Airport terminal building being the biggest eye-catcher.

The delayed opening will take place shortly before a memorable moment in aviation history: a century ago, on the 17th of December 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the very first flight in a motorised aircraft. The opening of the Aviodrome will be the highlight of the Dutch celebrations for the aviation centennial.

At this moment, after the earlier delay, the construction of the Aviodrome is again going as planned. The reconstructed Royal Airforce T-2 hangar is already in use as a storage space for about 70 aircraft, which have been transported from the old museum location at Amsterdam Airport. The roof of the main building is being completed. Apart from the main aviation exhibition this building will also house the reception hall, the wide screen cinema, the restaurant, congress spaces and the museum shop. The construction of the control tower, which is going to be a part of the historic Amsterdam Airport terminal building, has started. The rest of the building is nearly completed. On a number of smaller buildings work has started.

This summer, a number of special aviation events at Lelystad Airport will precede the opening of the themepark. In august pleasure flights with special themes will be organised with historic aircraft form the 1930's and 40's: the Douglas Dakota and the Junkers JU-52/3M. The two airworthy propliners owned by the museum, the Douglas DC-2 and the Lockheed Constellation, can be seen at a number of airshows and other events in The Netherlands and a number of other European countries such as the UK. News updates with regard to the aviation theme park and the pleasure flights can be found on www.aviodrome.nl.

Connie's Comeback: read all news here!

In 1960 an aviation museum was opened at Schiphol, the Aeroplanorama. The current museum, the Aviodome, was founded on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Fokker Aircraft, KLM and Schiphol Airport in 1969/1970. Since the opening of the new airport Schiphol-Centrum, the unique Aviodome building has been situated at its present location. The aluminium dome has a 60 metre span and it hosts more than 20 aircraft.

A visit to the Aviodome is like a flight through aviation history. The exhibition shows the progress of aviation, from the early pioneers up to modern and future developments. Emphasis lies on the Dutch contribution to aviation development. There are lots of aeroplanes and engines on display. Numerous models and other objects such as flight equipment, documents and souvenirs help to complete a detailed impression of aviation history. At regular intervals films about aviation, among which a documentary on the return of the famous DC-2 'Uiver' are shown in the amphitheatre which is situated under the balcony in the centre of the dome. The upper floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions.

The museum is much more than just a number of static exhibits. Visitors can fly a flightsimulator or make a virtual skydive. You can also take a guided tour on the aprons of Schiphol Airport. Occasionally, special events such as flights in helicopters or vintage aeroplanes are organised. The staff of the Aviodome will be happy to provide you with more information.

Anthony Fokker & the Fokker Aircraft Company
In Germany the technically and commercially talented Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker (1890-1939) built a plane of his own design: the 'Spin' (Spider). In Holland Fokker first became famous flying the plane above Haarlem in 1911. The 'Spin' exhibited in the Aviodome was built to celebrate Anthony Fokker's silver jubilee as a pilot. During World War I, Fokker built over 7.000 fighters for the German Air Force. One of the most famous and most feared fighters was the Fokker Dr.I triplane of 1917. After the German defeat Anthony Fokker secretly moved his factory and aircraft to the Netherlands.

On July 21, 1919, the Fokker Aircraft Company was founded, it produced military aircraft and Fokker's first commercial airliner: the F.2. In the museum visitors can witness the building of an F.2 replica in a setting which resembles the original Fokker factory of the early 1920s. In 1924 Fokker also founded the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the United States. In those times Fokker was one of the world's most famous aircraft designers. His most successful military design was the C.5; this biplane remained in production for 10 years from 1924-1934. During this period more than 900 C.5's were built by Fokker and, under license, other factories. It could be equipped with various upper wings for use in different roles. The C.5 could be used as an observer, a fighter or a light bomber. A C.5 manufactured in 1924 is on display in the Aviodome. One of the most famous passenger aircraft is the F.7, first built by Fokker in 1924. One year later, a few modifications resulted in the highly successful Fokker F.7a., one of the most important civil aircraft in its day. The Aviodome has a completely restored 1927 F.7a on display. The F.7a was built on the principle of "mixed construction": a wooden wing and a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage. This construction method was introduced in Word War I and was followed by many constructors. This technique was maintained until the arrival of the all-metal passenger aircraft in the mid 1930's.

After World War II Fokker started building jet fighters under licence. Soon afterwards the factory designed its own jet: the S.14. The S.14 was the world's first jet specifically designed as a trainer. At the same time Fokker also produced the more traditional S.11 primary trainer and developed a new twin engined turboprop airliner: the F-27, which became very successful. The F.27 Friendship was introduced in 1958. With 786 aircraft produced, the F.27 became the world's most widely sold turboprop airliner. The F.27 was followed by the F.28, Fokker's first passenger jet. The F.27 was succeeded by the F.50/F.60 and the F.28 by the F.70/F.100 series. Two modern product lines renown for their quality. Despite the quality of its products and a history of more than 77 years the Fokker Aircraft Company was unable to survive. Fokker's history ended when the Dutch planemaker went bankrupt on March 15, 1996.

The other Dutch planemaker: Frits Koolhoven
The name of the Dutch aircraft constructor Frits Koolhoven is much less known than the name of Anthony Fokker, although Koolhoven was a very productive designer. In 1911 he built his first aeroplane. Later Koolhoven worked in France and in England. Here Koolhoven built the first passenger aircraft, the FK-26, in 1919. In 1930, after returning to his native country Koolhoven founded his own aircraft factory at the airfield of Waalhaven, near Rotterdam. Koolhoven designed and built a considerable number of aircraft types before the factory was completely destroyed during the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940. The large number of models displayed in the museum provides proof of Koolhoven's creativity and productivity.

Aviation Pioneers
After having made an intensive study on the flight of birds, Otto Lilienthal made more than 1000 glides between 1890 an 1896. His gliders had no aerodynamic control, Liliental influenced the glide path by moving his legs, thus shifting the centre of gravity. The lack of adequate controls caused his death as a result of a crash in 1896. The large number of flights and the publications written by this German pioneer resulted in a great interest in the problems of flight. During the first years of the 20th century two American brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, investigated the problems experienced by Lilienthal. They were the first to apply aerodynamic controls. The Wrights built their "Flyer" in 1903 and equipped it with a self-constructed petrol engine. On the 17th of December of that year Orville Wright made the first controlled and sustained powered flight. During this first flight a distance of 36 metres was covered. Frenchman Louis Blériot was another successful pioneer. In 1909 he made the first cross-Channel flight with his model XI. After this flight Blériot XI's were sold in many countries. Many pilots used this plane to give demonstrations, making aviation popular among the general public.

The Aviodome-collection
Underneath you will find a brief description of the most important aircraft currently on display.

The Spitfire, designed by the brilliant British aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell, became famous by its role in the Battle of Britain in 1940. By continuously developing new versions the Spitfire remained a modern fighter throughout the war. The entire production covered a number of 22,351 planes. Some 200 still exist in museums or are used as flying display aircraft. From 1942 a Dutch Spitfire squadron based in England formed a part of the RAF. Right after the Second World War, 72 Spitfires served the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The Spitfire in the Aviodome was manufactured late 1943/early 1944 and escorted allied bombers over Germany. In 1946 it joined the Dutch forces. The Aviodome Spitfire is shown in the colours of those flown in the Dutch Indies shortly after World War 2.

Civil airliners
The single-engined Fokker F.7a carried eight passengers and was ordered by KLM in 1923. With this plane KLM opened up its route to the Dutch Indies in 1924. Later Fokker also built a three-engined F.7. The F.7a which is on display in the Aviodome was built in 1927-28 for the Swiss carrier Balair. Later the aircraft flew in Scandinavia. In 1955 the plane was purchased for the Dutch National Aviation museum by KLM and Fokker. The aircraft is displayed in the colours of the first KLM F.7 of 1925. Between 1983 and 1989 the plane underwent a complete restoration. The Douglas DC-3 appeared in 1935 after the slightly smaller DC-2, which was one of the first all-metal airliners. Many airlines operated the DC-2 and DC-3. With these fast and comfortable aircraft commercial aviation made a large step ahead. In World War II Douglas developed a military version of the DC-3, the C-47. The plane became famous under the name ‘Dakota’. 12000 Dakotas have flown in almost every part of the world. After having been replaced by more modern designs in the major airlines, they remained in use for various transport tasks and some are still flying today. The C-47 in the Aviodome is exhibited in the post-war KLM colour scheme. The museum’s DC-2 ‘Uiver’, which is kept in airworthy condition, is on display at the Uiverdome in Lelystad. The De Havilland Dove is shown in a Martin’s Air Charter guise. Around 1960 Martin’s Air Charter Doves operated popular pleasure flights from Schiphol. The Dove was the first post-war British airliner. It is the first aircraft in which metal bonding has been applied. Later this method became important in the construction of the Fokker F.27 Friendship (an F-27 serves as a ‘gate-guard’ at the entrance to the museum). Several Doves were used in Holland as business aircraft or by air charter companies.

The Sikorsky S-51 was one of the first helicopters. Equipped with a winch many S-51's were used for rescue operations. The S-51 in the Aviodome is shown in Dutch Navy livery, named ‘Jezebel’ (after a popular recording by singer Frankie Laine). The S-51 is placed in a real-life diorama and can be seen as it saves a victim of the 1953 floods from a roof.

An interesting Dutch helikopter design is the Kolibri (Humming Bird). The rotor blades are driven by small ramjet engines attached to the blade tips. Ramjets are jets without moving parts, burning cheap fuels, e.g. paraffin oil. Because the propulsion forces act at the blades the fuselage is hardly effected by reaction torque, consequently a small tail rotor is sufficient. Since 1958 Kolibris were used for agricultural crop spraying.

During the second half of the 1950's the Hawker Hunter flew in most West European air forces. Its maximum speed in level flight was about 1150 km/h (714 mph) but in a dive the Hunter was able to break the sound barrier. The Hunter’s wing has the shape of an arrowhead, facilitating these high speeds. Many hunters were built by Fokker at Schiphol. The Hunter in the Aviodome is shown in the colour scheme of the no.4 Training School at RAF Valley.

In the Dutch Air Force the Hunter was succeeded by the supersonic Lockheed F-104G Starfighter. This plane was capable of flying twice the speed of sound. It has a small wing with a very thin aerofoil to diminish resistance of the air. Starfighters were built in several European countries, with Fokker’s being one of the main contractors. Dutch Starfighters were replaced by General Dynamics F-16 Falcons from 1984 onwards. The F-104 starfighter in the Aviodome is a twin-seat trainer used by the Royal Dutch Air Force.

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