Air Show Report : Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide 2013
Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide 2013
Vintage airplanes from all over Europe gathered at Hahnweide airfield near Kircheim-unter-Teck, Germany, for the classic aircraft flyers meeting of 6-8 September, 2013. Report by Ramon van Opdorp on the airshow presented by these oldtimers.
The Hahnweide Airshow
Running already for decades, and every two years appearing on all the big established airshow calendars, the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen at Hahnweide, Germany, doesn't seem to get the "international" attention it deserves. For me personally it's been on the "bucket list" for far too long. With a growing participants list during the build-up to this event, more of my favorites kept being added. In the warbirds section the list looked more than impressive. So I decided this year to make the four hour long drive to the south of Germany. During what became three great historic aviation days there were many unique moments to capture. I was not disappointed.
Located in the south of Germany, Hahnweide is surrounded by large forests, which present a great backdrop for photographers. Entering the show grounds, on your left a couple of serious ridges arise, with on top of one of them the Teck Castle. If you are looking for something more than trees in the background, the Teck Castle is a nice landmark to capture along with the incoming or departing aircraft. On your right, the grounds are more level without any large obstacles in sight. Straight in front of you, the immense forests are appearing. The grass airstrip is slightly at a bank angle, which provides great photo opportunities as aircraft take off.
I arrived on Friday for the first day, to familiarize myself with the show grounds, and to catch most of the arrivals. For me personally it turned out to be a day to remember. The entire day aircraft were arriving, a lot of general aviation visitors, but also the more interesting aircraft with their arrival times clearly announced in advance. At around 12 o'clock the UK-based Hawker Hurricane with Peter Teichman at the controls arrived. Shortly followed by the French delegation; the P-40N Warhawk with Jacques Habert at the controls in the lead, followed by P-51D Mustang "Nooky Booky IV" flown by George Perez, and closing the row was Marc Mathis in his Yak-11. An hour later the two aircraft of Red Bull's Flying Bulls appeared over the Teck Castle in the shape of the massive F4U Corsair with Eric Goujon at the controls, and the gleaming P-38 Lightning with Raimund Riedmann in the cockpit. The latter performed one of the best displays I have ever seen around 19:00. Powerful and tight, fast and high, the amazing display while the sun was going down was a sight to behold against the red/yellow sky.
Air Show Days
Still overwhelmed with the impressive P-38 display from the day before, I was slightly disappointed to see that the P-38 was unserviceable during both show days. I was however happily surprised that it had prompted Red Bull to send their Fairchild PT-19, for static display only but still a great aircraft to see as well. From there on out, Hahnweide showed why it is such a unique airshow, with the arrival and display of rarely seen aircraft inside and even more so outside Germany.
The fly-by of five Junkers 52 was a sight you won't see anywhere else on this planet. A formation flight of the Antique Aeroflyers consisted of the unique Ryan STA (1937), Travel Air 4000 (1929), Morane-Saulnier MS.317 (1960s conversion from 1938 MS.315), and a Curtiss Robin J-1 (1929). The display of a very rare Polikarpov 2 (1954) normally based in Hungary was possible after the Po-2 had been transported to Hahnweide by road. The two Waco bi-planes (1932 & 1936) that were present are a unique sight in Europe. And two very rare Klemm 35D (1941) aircraft made the long trip from Sweden. Another rarity in the historic aviation scene, the Swiss F+W C-3605 Schlepp (target tug conversion of early 1970s from EKW C-3603-1 buit in 1943) was certainly an impressive aircraft to see in real life.
Then there was the display of the massive TBM Avenger, gracefully piloted by Laurent Calame. A sight to behold was the N2501 Noratlas, which overshoot the display line a bit during the last show day, and made an overwhelming impression, passing low overhead. New kid on the warbirds' block was the P-51D "Louisiana Kid". Built in 1947, she had a lot of different owners, starting with the Royal Canadian Air Force before entering the private aviation world. Now she's owned by Wilhelm Heinz from Germany and sporting an immaculate paint scheme.
My personal favorite displays were Christophe Jacquard, with his powerful Hawker Sea Fury display accentuated by the smoke trails, and Eric Goujon in the massive bend-wing F4U Corsair, owned by Austrian based Red Bull. But the man that showed how to fly classic aircraft, and let me travel further back in time, was Mikael Carlson with his great personal collection of aircraft. I've already been fortunate to see him flying during several Flying Legends shows, but during this show he brought two of his aircraft to Germany, the replica Fokker D.VII Albatross, and the rebuilt Blériot XI from 1918. Of the latter he happens to own two examples. Just a couple of days before the Hahnweide show he made an unfortunate crash landing due to engine problems in Switzerland. Showing remarkable dedication, he travelled back to Sweden, and picked up his second Blériot XI to show his spirited display in this classic aircraft over the Hahnweide airfield. For me personally this was a goose bump experience, another great historic aviation moment engraved in my memory. Another historic aviation highlight was the display of the Fokker D.VII Albatross and the Fokker DR.I, reliving the military aviation days of 90 years ago.
Photographing these historical and unique aircraft and moments is possible all around the airfield. While some displays are for the most part flown too far away to frame the aircraft, this on the other hand provides the opportunity to capture some of the scenery as well or get different angles. Most aircraft start, or end, their show with a sneak pass in American Airshow style. You can capture every detail of the static aircraft, as you are standing (of course behind a fence) just two meters from all parked aircraft. And if you want, you can have a chat with the pilots before they start their routine.
My experiences and impressions during this show cannot be compared with other airshows. If this article was long-form, I still wouldn't be able to cover all of the unique sights and sounds I experienced. My best tip is to experience this show yourself.
After visiting numerous larger and smaller historical aircraft shows in Europe and the United States over the past few years, I thought I had seen it all. The small, but dedicated, Hahnweide organization ran by volunteers fortunately proved me wrong. All in all this is one of the most relaxed and inspiring airshows I have ever visited. Great aircraft, awesome photo opportunities, dedicated organization , and the possibility to interact with the pilots. All was very balanced, with no rush or hasty actions. The next edition will be in 2015, which for me feels a long time away, however it'll be well worth the wait.
Report and photos by Ramon van Opdorp ( view portfolio )