The Dakota Hunter - In Search of...
A tale of a lifelong passion for a WWII aircraft that changed the author’s life: “It is almost like an adventure novel except it is true” (Air Classics). This book tells the story of a Dutch boy who grew up during the 1950s in postwar Borneo, where he had frequent encounters with an airplane, the Douglas DC-3, a.k.a. 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 excuse 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 conmen. The stories of these expeditions take 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 transportation—however now haunted by the courageous airmen of the past.