In 1936 Jan Flinterman tried to enlist in the Koninklijke Marine but was rejected because he failed the eyesight test. As sergeant in the Motor Department he managed to escape to England in 1940 aboard the English destroyer H.M.S. Keith and joined the Royal Air Force. From 1941 onwards he flew Spitfires in 126 Squadron on Malta and in 322 and 222 Squadrons. In 1944, over a Parisian suburb he and a number of other Allied pilots strayed into an overwhelming force of German Messerschmidts Bf 109. Without losses to themseves, the Allies downed six out of the 14 German aircraft. For this, Flinterman and the other Allied pilots were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Vliegerkruis. He ended the war with two confirmed victories.
After the war he returned to the Koninklijke Luchtmacht in the rank of Major and became, among other functions, commander of Volkel Air Base. He set a few Dutch speed records flying the then new jetfighter, the Gloster Meteor. He was also a fanatic racing driver and in 1952 he was the first Dutchman to participate in a Grand Prix.
In 1960 he joined the board of Martin Air Charter (Martinair).
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