Story and photos by Wayne Campbell
My name is Wayne Campbell. I am a member of YYZ Airport Watch, and this is a brief story of my first flight on a MD11 and the last commercial passenger flight of the type to fly out of Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport. This would also be the penultimate scheduled revenue passenger flight by a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 anywhere in the world.
As soon as it was possible to book the flight on KLM’s website I did. I thought back of when British Airways brought their Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde in for the last time in October 2003. I missed my opportunity to fly out on her to the U.S.A. and I said to myself that I would not let the chance of flying on the last commercial flight of the MD-11 from YYZ slip by me.
I waited almost a year, but finally Saturday, October 25, 2014 had arrived. KLM flight 692 was about to become reality. It was like being a child all over again. I never flown on a MD-11 in my life. I arrived at Terminal 3 and proceeded to check in. Once I cleared security I made my way to the gate. All passengers were greeted with commemorative cake and drinks. Some even received gifts. The KLM crew and YYZ employees then took some group photos. Before boarding the aircraft we were given a brief history of PH-KCB by Captain Tom Swart. The Co-Pilot was Peter Makkinje accompanying the good captain.
We finally boarded “Maria Montessori” and got settled in. KLM’s MD-11 fleet were all named after famous women, and the fleet were entitled the Ladies of the Sky. I was parked in seat 24J economy by the starboard wing. I had wondered if I guessed right for the water canon salute. This was my top priority. So much so, that I did not take any photos of the cabin. When I finally got the salute, I got so excited that nothing else mattered. I did attempt to get a photo of the cockpit while she was still at the gate in YYZ, but I was informed that I would have to wait until we got to AMS.
So off we went rolling down RWY23 into a gorgeous sunset and after a few minutes after departing we would bank right and head east towards Amsterdam. The flight was about seven hours and we would arrive in the early hours. The crew for KLM flight 692 were awesome. I disembarked for my connecting flight to LHR with a one hour layover. During that time I was hoping to get a glimpse of the ultimate scheduled revenue MD-11 flight out of Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to AMS. It departed about an hour after the Toronto flight. MD-11 PH-KCE ‘Audrew Hepburn’ carried out flight KLM 672.
This is a moment I will always cherish and never forget. I have learned that if you are ever contemplating on doing something when you have the means, time and resources, just go for it. Time waits on no one.