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Old 09-19-2018, 11:35 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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Sept 20th, 2018: KLM Armalite

In 1958 KLM began fly Europe to Japan via Anchorage in 4 engine turboprop DC-7s and DC-8s.
Now airplanes have always come with the possibility of fall down go boom, and the Arctic carries the extra risk of cold and
Polar Bears so these planes were equipped with 800 lbs of extra gear.



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This included: sleeping bags, tents, a raft, a shovel, snow shoes, a camp stove, cold weather clothing, a hatchet and a 7.62x51mm chambered ArmaLite AR-10. KLM bought four 16-inch barrel ‘sporter’ AR-10s from the Dutch small arms company Artillerie Inrichtingen. They were intended for use against polar bears in the event that the aircraft was forced to land or ditch on the Arctic Ice. A former KLM pilot has noted that the rifles were semi-auto only with no fully automatic capability. A batch of approximately 30 other ‘sporters’ we’re built at the time although these were apparently capable of full auto. KLM gave transpolar flight crews survival training and presumably some guidance on weapons handling but no actual trigger time with the rifles instead advising them to simply aim between an attacking polar bear’s shoulder blades.


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In the publicity photographs we can see that the KLM AR-10 is unlike the better known Sudanese and Portuguese contract rifles. It is shorter and lacks a flash hider of any kind, perhaps they thought the flash would help deter the polar bears, the rifles upper and the lowers could be easily separated for storage - with the pins tethered to the receiver with a small chain. Interestingly the stewardess holding the rifle hasn’t been shown the rifle’s cold weather pivoting trigger guard, making the rifle easier to fire when wearing thick mittens like the ones worn in the photograph.


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The rifles and survival kit ceased to be carried by KLM aircraft when different survival methods were developed for larger jet airliners and it was expected that any survivors would be picked up within 24 hours. According to a letter from the airline the surplus AR-10s were sold to a weapons dealer in Chicago in the early 1970s, however alternate sources state the rifles were sold to a dealer in Canada. The four AR-10s bought by KLM can be considered some of the rarest A.I. made AR-10s.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:52 AM   #2
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Very cool find.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:29 PM   #3
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I had no idea. Back in the day, I wouldn't be surprised if they just kept the stuff unsecured in a closet.

I remember when you could take regular pocket knives on a plane if the blade wasn't huge.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I remember when you could take regular pocket knives on a plane if the blade wasn't huge.
A buddy was telling me he and his boy were watching some older movie and the character walked to the gate to meet whoever he was picking up at the airport.

The boy called BS saying "You can't walk to the gate! They'd pile the TSA agents on ya!"

The last time I was in an airport, I walked, unsearched, unhindered, to the gate to meet Auntiedigr.
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