Keone Dirk Parmentier was an accomplished Dutch pilot who was a pioneer of international aviation. He and fellow aviator J.J. Moll were veterans of the Amsterdam-Batavia air route.

In 1934, Parmentier and Moll and a flight crew flew the Douglas DC-2 passenger aircraft Uiver, of the Royal Dutch Airline KLM, in the MacRobertson London to Melbourne Air Race.

During the race, the Dutch team encountered a severe electrical storm 200 miles short of Melbourne. They circled, trying to establish contact with the ground. Citizens in Albury heard their engines. The mayor called the engineer at the power station and asked him to flash the town's lights to spell its name in Morse code. The local radio station broadcast an appeal for local residents with cars to drive to the local race track to light a landing path. Parmentier saw the improvised flarepath and landed in heavy rain, to considerable acclaim. The team waited until sunrise before attempting a take-off.

Because of the delay the flight was well overdue in Melbourne. News reached Holland, and there people gathered outside the KLM office, refusing to leave until they knew the team was safe. Unfortunately, the plane was bogged in Albury. The local residents hauled on ropes to free the plane, while others laid a runway of planks. Parmentier got the aircraft up, but he left behind two crew, three passengers and the mail. They had to travel to Melbourne by rail.

The Dutch were second to finish the race. The DC-2 team had entered both the speed and handicap sections, but could claim only one prize. They chose to win the handicap section. Parmentier was killed in October 1948 when the KLM Lockheed Constellation he was flying crashed into high ground near Glasgow after striking a high-voltage power line.

References: (in Dutch).
Australian Aviation Archive web site Airways web site

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