"A perfect pilot, a good guy and a great professional."
― Colleague Ad de Bruin typifying Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten  source
Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten
Birthday 5 February 1927 in Lisse, Netherlands
Death day 27 March 1977
Adress Elbalaan 3, Sassenheim, Netherlands
Gender Male
Total hours for 27.3.1977 11700
Total hours for 27.3.1977 on Boeing 747 1545
Total hours for 27.3.1977 on last 30 days 61
Total hours for 27.3.1977 on last 24 hours Unknown
Last medical examination 29 December 1976
Last proficiency check 25 January 1977
Certificates and ratings Unknown

Jacob "Jaap" Louis Veldhuyzen van Zanten (b. 5 February 1927, d. 27 March 1977) was a Dutch pilot and flight instructor. He was the captain of KLM Flight 4805, where he perished, along with the other crew and passengers.

Biography and career in KLMEdit

Veldhuyzen van Zanten was born in Lisse, The Netherlands. He obtained his private pilot's license on the 21th of July, 1947, and his commercial pilot's license on the 18th of April, 1950. The same year he got hired by the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and became a First Officer on DC-3. On 19 October 1956, he achieved his Transport Pilot Licence. It was valid until the 16th of June, 1977. He also had the licence of Radio Operator. During his career, he used to fly aircrafts such as Tiger Moth, Beechcraft, Harvard, Dakota, Convair, Viscount, Constellation, Douglas (DC-3, DC-4, DC-6, DC-7, DC-9) and finally Boeing 747. Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten was chief instructor on the Boeing 747. He also was one of the three pilots who imported the very first Boeing 747 from Seattle to the Netherlands.

On January 25, 1977 he made his last proficiency check. The last aviation medical examination by National Air Space Medical Center took place on 2 December 1976, with the result of 'appropriate'. On 27 March 1977, he made his last flight from Amsterdam to Las Palmas.

Personal lifeEdit

Veldhuyzen van Zanten was married to Henriёtte Veldhuyzen van Zanten-Segers (b. 1926) and had two children.


  • During the 70s he took part in numerous advertising campaignes for KLM. The reason he was choosen as airline's "model" is a matter of dispute: according to the book "Disasters In The Air - Mysterious Air Disasters Explained" by Jan Bartelski, the main reason for that was the fact Veldhuyzen van Zanten was the only captain who was available: all other pilots were always out flying, while Veldhuyzen van Zanten spent most of his time on the ground, training other pilots. But there are very different suggestions and theories as well, which claim that he was chosen because he was very experienced, high-ranking and had the right looks ([[1]).
  • Besides aviation, Veldhuyzen van Zanten's hobbies and interests included music, the USA, cars and road racing. At the time of the crash he owned a Ferrari Dino.
  • In a movie "Crash Of The Century", Veldhuyzen van Zanten is being portrayed by a Dutch (Agence Cindy-Brace, Paris, France) actor, Michael Hofland. In this movie, van Zanten is shown as an imperious, arrogant and rude captain who constantly demeans his colleagues. In reality, none of the sentences which are in the script can be proved either by a CVR nor by witnesses: the producers of the movie made these phrases and moments up to make the event look more dramatic.