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KLM’s 1953 ‘Bride Flight’ to New Zealand subject of new movie

Immigrant women story

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SCHIPHOL, the Netherlands - Well known Dutch director Ben Sombogaart is set to film ‘Bride Flight.’ It is the story of the famed 1953 Air Race London - Christchurch, and the story of some of the 26 young Dutch women on the winning KLM flight to New Zealand.

These 26 passengers on board the DC-6A, all brides-to-be, were joining their fiancés, who had gone ahead to get settled before tying the knot in their chosen country. Because of the ‘precious human cargo,’ the journey was dubbed ‘Bride Flight.’ The most important luggage these women took with them were wedding dresses.

Sombogaart’s English-language film centres around the stories of three of these immigrant women. Meeting again after fifty years, they discover they share much more than the actual time spent on board the New Zealand bound flight.

The KLM plane, piloted by Captain Kooper, won the Christchurch Air Race in the handicap category of carrier planes. The DC-6A made the journey in 37 hours and 30 minutes. A RAF Canberra jet won the speed race in just under 24 hours. The Air Race was a ‘repeat’ of the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race from London to Christchurch, when KLM had won the handicap race in the famed ‘Uiver’ DC-2, flown by pilot Koene Parmentier, after just over 90 hours. Actual flying time was 81 hours.