D-Day Squadron Officially Welcomes Two International Sensations, Historians and Notable Writers to the Team
December 17, 2021
In an effort to grow the D-Day Squadron’s global footprint, education and outreach program, two DC-3 historians, freelance aviation writers and dedicated warbird enthusiasts of the Dakota come aboard. Holland resident Paul van den Berg and Netherlands resident Michael Prophet now add a new flavor to the social media and newsletter channels for the D-Day Squadron. Giving followers the best content on flying history, the accomplishments of the DC-3 in war and peace, telling the compelling stories of veterans is the focus. Paul and Michael have years of experience capturing history with an engaging writing and visual style.
Read below their bios to get to know these international sensations!
Paul van den Berg, 62, has been in love with the DC-3 since he glued his first Airfix 1:72 scale Dakota scale model together in the late sixties. When the Dutch Dakota Association (now DDA Classic Airlines) acquired their first DC-3, PH-DDA, Paul joined the club in 1984 and volunteered to become a technician. This time on the 1:1 scale!
He was heavily involved in the 12-years deep-restoration of PH-DDZ, which was ferried from Malta to Amsterdam in 1987 and flew again in 2000. During that rebuild/restoration, Paul really learned to appreciate the brilliant Douglas-design and its systems. A McDonnell Douglas representative visiting the DDA-hangar during the 90s regarded PH-DDZ as the last new-build DC-3! Of course he was being polite, but still a tremendous compliment for that Dutch all-volunteer group.
While working and flying during the weekends with DDA, Paul met his wife Anneke who was at that time a young volunteer cabin attendant on the Dakota. During their marriage day, they and family made an unforgettable pleasure flight over Amsterdam in their beloved PH-DDA.
Later on, Anneke also became DDA’s office manager, the ‘spider in the web’ of the organization, later only operating DC-3 PH-PBA ‘Princess Amalia’.
Besides the technical work as a licensed mechanic on the DC-3, Paul is a vivid photographer and involved with the DDA-Magazine ‘Logboek’ as editor/photographer. He also is co-moderator of the DDA Facebook-page.
One of the highlights in his DC-3 career was the 2019 ‘Daks over Normandy’ event at Duxford an Caen. As ‘ground handling guy,’ he was allowed to come up-and-close with aircraft and crews. That’s where he met many of the D-Day Squadron participants.
Working with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as systems engineer in the engineering department since 1986, Paul worked with all of the KLM fleet types during his career, including the Fokker F-27, MD-11, Boeing 747 and last, the ‘plastic fantastic’ 787.
Now (early) retired, he is able to spend more time with his early love, the Douglas DC-3.
Michael S Prophet (65) is a freelance aviation photographer based near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands. Born on the Island of Curacao, Dutch Antilles, he spend his early years in the tropics before moving to Holland.
Early in life, Michael developed an interest in aviation and used to draw and built WWII model airplanes. When he finished his mechanical engineering degree, he started working at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. As a junior engineer, Michael worked on the early wide body jets within the KLM fleet, such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Boeing B747 Jumbo.
Later years, he started working at the famous ‘Fokker Aircraft’ builders at Schiphol Airport. As a cabin design engineer, he was involved with the new developed Fokker Aircraft, such as the Fokker 50 turboprop and Fokker 100 twinjet. In the mid 1980s, Michael purchased his first copy of ‘SKYTRUCK’ Osprey Color Series magazine which depicted the world of piston engine transports, photographed by the UK journalist Stephen Piercey. After viewing his fascinating pictures, he was hooked on the world of ‘round engines’.
During that time, there were many cargo operators that used vintage propeller aircraft such as the Martin 404, Curtiss C-46 Commando, Convair 340/440, Douglas DC-4/6 & 7, and the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation as freighters. In addition, the Douglas DC-3 was still widely used in many parts of the world. Michael’s first official aviation trip was in August 1984 where he traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to catch some of the local freighters in action, while spending some time enjoying the beach and tropical paradise.
Knowing all these hard working piston engine transports were a dying breed, he decided to travel the globe in search of working propliners. In August 1985, he traveled to the Caribbean Islands of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. During this trip, Michael flew his first ever passenger Dakota flight, onboard an Aero Virgin Islands DC-3 between San Juan (Puerto Rico) and St. Thomas Virgin Islands. The rest is history!