Piip, Piip, Piiip! A short view to the mobile showed that it is 5 o’clock in the morning. Not a time where a student likes to wake up. However, Tuesday the 20th of May was different. Everything went very easy! First a fast shower, then breakfast and only a couple of minutes later, I was sitting on the bike heading to Linköping’s flying club. Here were already 50 people waiting who wanted to make a journey with LuFF which never existed before in our history. Today it was time for our day trip to Berlin where we were visiting one of Europe’s largest airshows called “Internationale Luftfahrt Austellung” (ILA)
After a short introduction and check if everybody was present, it’s time for boarding. The group went to the old Skyways-hangar where our aircraft was already waiting for us. Because it is impossible to get 50 students in our small Pipers we decided to go for a larger plane! Our good connections to SAAB made it possible, we could use one of their SAAB-2000 for this special day. Honestly, it feels a bit special to charter an aircraft in that size, in special if you look to the costs. But together with sponsor SAAB, the Aerocluster Sweden, and the company Etteplan, it was possible to reduce the price for our students so much that it was no problem to fill up the aircraft.
Before taking off, we took some nice pictures in front of our great looking SAAB-2000. When all took their seats, Nina our flight attendant for today closed the door and only some minutes later our engines were running and we took off at precisely 7 o’clock from Linköping.
After we were climbing through the clouds, Nina started with the board service. Coffee is at this time, a very welcome drink! Already on the ground, it got clear that the passengers were somehow special. The 40 young engineers and technicians were looking in all corners and discussed with passion technical details of the aircraft which they discovered. For the most of the students is the SAAB-2000 a well-known aircraft, which they possibly discussed during their lectures at LiU or Anders Ljungstedt Gymnasium. For that reason, this aircraft was extra interesting for us!
Nearly unnoticeable started our aircraft with the descent to Berlin. Looking out of the window I noticed my old airport Strausberg where I learned to fly many years ago. But then only some minutes later, we turned to our runway 25R which belongs to Berlin-Schönefeld airport (EDDB). During the time we taxied, we could see Berlins new Airport and the first aircraft which were presented on the ILA’s display. Our aircraft stopped at an outside parking position where already the ramp agent and our bus were waiting for us.
Shortly after we left the old terminal of Schönefeld, we took the shuttle busses to the ILA display. Here everybody got their ticket and a moment later we were already in. Now there were a lot to see! The students from Anders Ljungsted Gymnasium who will become a helicopter technician went straight to the area where EADS presented their new helicopters. The most of our members could not wait to watch the new A350 and the massive A380.
I was going through the exhibition halls and had a look what is new on the market and which technologies in aviation we might see soon in one of our aircrafts. After that, it was time for our Aeronautic Master students to present their aircraft design project in front of a professional audience. They were designing a small jet engine driven aircraft for the general aviation market.
Check, next point finished on our agenda today and the next one was already waiting! Outside the hall, the A400M was rolling on the runway and got ready for its flight show. But before we got lucky to enjoy the rest of the impressive flight program of the acrobatic team Patrouille Suisse with their six Nothrop F-5E Tider jet fighter.
After a long, warm and sunny day with 27 degree Celsius in the shadow it was time at 6 PM to leave the air show and to go back to the terminal. Here everybody was eating and relaxing a bit during the time we were waiting that Bengt and Håkan our pilots got ready with their flight planning back to Linköping. When we finally arrived back to our aircraft, we were looking not bad and saw that in front of our stairs, a small red carpet laying. Such a service, students normally not used to! But what is LuFF not all doing to please our members! “Smile!”
When we taxied back to runway 07L, it was quite in the cabin. The most of us were tired after a long day at ILA. However, the situation changed immediately, Håkan and Bengt decided to open the door to the cockpit, we reached our cruise altitude. To enjoy the sunset from the cockpit and to have a small chat with the crew during the flight was probably the highlight of the day. And so 50 happy students, teachers, and employees arrived at 10 PM back in Linköping.
For me, it was time to thank the crew for a great trip with SAAB and to make sure that everybody left the airfield safely.
When I arrived home my mobile started again: Piip, piip, piip, but that time it was no clock which was ringing but many SMS from our LuFF members who wanted to say thanks.
The tour guide