Berlin Tempelhof Airport closed

Today is a very sad day – The oldest commercial airport in the world, Berlin Tempelhof (THF/EDDI), has been closed forever, solely because of political reasons. The airport, located in the heart of Germany’s capital, was opened in 1923. With 284,000 square meters of floor area, the airport’s main building was the largest building in the world, before it was beaten by the Pentagon building in 1934. Tempelhof is still the largest building in Europe and still belongs to one of the largest buildings in the world. It’s considered by most experts to be an architetctural masterpiece. British architect Norman Foster described Tempelhof as no less than “the mother of all airports.”

Tempelhof was one of Europe’s three iconic pre-war airports — the others being London’s old Croydon Airport and Paris Le Bourget. 1926 Lufthansa was founded here.

The airport became famous during the Berlin Blockade (1948 – 1949) where it was used by Douglas DC-3s and Douglas C-54s for the Berlin Airlift which was formed by Western Allies to supply the city over pre-arranged air corridors.

Douglas DC-3s at Berlin Tempelhof Airport 1948

Tempelhof was often called the “City Airport”. It mostly had commuter flights to other parts of Germany and neighbouring countries, but had in the past received long-haul, wide-bodied airliners, such as the Boeing 747 operated by Pan Am.

The last 2 planes, a Junkers Ju-52 and a Douglas DC-3, departed Tempelhof at midnight.

After closing Tempelhof, one of the two remaining Berlin airports – Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) needs to replace it. To deal with the additional traffic and passengers, Tegel will be expanded for several Million Euro. But the death of Berlin Tegel Airport is also already a settled matter and hence the expansion a solely waste of money. The second remaining airport will be closed in 2012 after the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (formely Berlin Schönefeld (SXF)) will be completed.

There’s still no reasonable concept for using the airport site.

Photo gallery featuring many historic photos: Photo Gallery

Please also read the great story over at the english edition of An Era Ends with Closing of Berlin Airport

Bombardier – First flight with an all electric braking system

Today, Bombardier Aerospace announced another milestone in the advancement of civil aviation: a Bombardier test aircraft executed a first flight equipped entirely with an all electric braking system – a civil aviation first. The testing lasted in excess of seven hours, included five landings and a series of high-speed braked ground runs. The Bombardier demonstator aircraft was equipped with Meggitt’s electric braking system – known as the EBrake®, and Messier-Dowty’s landing gear with electric brake wiring harnesses.
Bombardier - EBrake - electric braking system
Bombardier - EBrake - electric braking system
On board the test aircraft were engineering test pilots, Gary Bruce and Jeff Karnes, along with flight test engineer, Anthony Dunne. “We tested the Ebrake® system’s normal, emergency and park braking functionality during both ground and flight tests. It provided improved braking control in normal and emergency operating modes, resulting in tight centerline control even during maximum brake applications,” said Gary Bruce, Pilot in Command.

Electric braking is the next evolution in aerospace braking system technology for it couples brake-by-wire control with electric brake actuation. Bombardier’s strategic technology demonstrator aircraft was modified by removing its hydraulically actuated brake-by-wire control system. In its place, a complete electric brake-by-wire system, with fully integrated anti-skid protection, emergency and parking brake functions was installed.

The key benefits of this new technology are an expected increase in the aircraft’s dispatch reliability; elimination of brake system hydraulic leaks with associated fire risk; simplification of the aircraft’s manufacturing process; and reduced maintenance costs for airlines. In addition to these tangible aircraft level benefits, electric brake technology falls in-line with the industry evolution towards more electric aircraft providing a more fuel efficient, cleaner-burning aircraft and reducing the usage of toxic hydraulic fluids.

Earlier this month, on October 6, 2008, Bombardier and Meggitt announced they are collaborating to deploy the newest brake system technology available on Bombardier’s strategic technology aircraft. Featuring Meggitt’s electrically actuated carbon brake system – known as the EBrake® – this aircraft tested all the system’s capabilities, including normal, emergency and parking modes. Meggitt’s system will also remain on the aircraft for an extended period of time to validate the robustness and reliability of its design.

Source: Bombardier
Photos: Bombardier

Wallpaper – Airbus A380 Nose

Always staring at the same desktop wallpaper gets pretty boring over time. I decided to create a desktop wallpaper from one of my own A380 photos. If you like it, you can download this wallpaper below.

Airbus A380 Nose

To fit anybody’s needs I made it available in many different sizes. Just choose the right file, depending on your screen resolution.

Widescreen 16:10
Includes: 1280×800, 1440×900, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, 2560×1600

Fullscreen 4:3 & 5:4
Includes: 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×960, 1280×1024, 1400×1050, 1600×1200, 2048×1536

HDTV 16:9
Includes: 720p, 1080p

Includes: 800×480, 320×240 (Cellphone), 320×480 (Apple iPhone), 480×272 (Sony PSP)

Croatia Airlines orders A319s

Airbus recently announced that Croatia Airlines, the flag carrier of the Republic of Croatia, has signed a firm contract for the purchase of four A319s to add to its growing medium haul fleet aircraft. The new A319s will join its eight A320 Family aircraft already in operation.

Croatia Airlines Airbus A319

Croatia Airlines’ A319s will feature the all-new cabin which provides more passenger comfort in a modern and brighter environment. The ordered aircraft will accommodate 132 passengers in a two-class configuration. Powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines, the aircraft will be deployed on the airline’s extended European and domestic networks.

Source: Airbus
Photo: Airbus

Video – “Roadable Aircraft” to be built

Again someone tries to build a “flying car”. A company called Terrafugia Inc., located in the state of Massachusetts, is building the so called “Transition”, a roadable aircraft. The light plane is designed to change configurations, enabling it to operate as a traditional vehicle on public roads. The plane will be capable of flying at 115 miles per hour – in car mode top speed will be 70 to 80 miles per hour.
The “Transition” can carry two people plus luggage and will operate within a range of 100 to 500 miles (800 km), on a single tank of premium unleaded gas .

The estimated purchase price is $148,000. They’re planning test flights later this year.


The company’s CEO said, the design of the Terrafugia vehicle will address some of the problems that pilots encounter when they try to use their aircraft for actual travel, as opposed to weekend sightseeing. When they encounter bad weather in the Transition, they can simply land at the nearest airport and continue their journey on the road.

Read the full story at:

If you ask me, this idea is just ridiculous.

Thanks to Scott for sending in this story!

Video – Ilyushin IL-18D Aborts Take-Off

An Ilyushin IL-18D (D2-FFR) operated by Alada Empresa De Transportes Aereos – Angola, was filmed from close-by as it aborted take-off at Cabinda Airport (CAB / FNCA) Angola. The IL-18 overshot the runway, a few tires blew, but fortunately no one was hurt. The reason for the rejected takeoff is unknown.

Found via YouTube

Volaris receives its first Airbus A320

Volaris, a Mexican low-fare airline based in Toluca, Mexico, has received its first Airbus A320 from Airbus. The aircraft was handed over at a ceremony held in Toulouse. In January 2006, Volaris had signed a contract with Airbus for the acquisition of 16 new A319s, which was renewed in 2007 for 14 more A320 Family aircraft.

Volaris, which started operating in 2006, has since successfully expanded its route network with an all-Airbus fleet, and currently operates 18 A319s.

Volaris’ new A320 will carry 174 passengers in a comfortable single class configuration and will be equipped with IAE V2500 engines. The aircraft will be put into service on Volaris’ high density routes from its Toluca hub.

Volaris is an equal partnership between Inbursa (a Mexican financial institution), Protego-Discovery (an investment fund), TACA (a leading Latin-American airline) and Grupo Televisa (a Latin-American media conglomerate).

Source: Airbus

Stunning Photo – EVA Air Boeing 747 taking off from Amsterdam – Schiphol

Today I came across of some amazing photo at Flickr. It’s showing an EVA Air Boeing 747-45EM taking off from runway 36L at Amsterdam – Schiphol (AMS / EHAM) (Netherlands). The great timing and angle just makes this shot, and the size of the 747, looking quite surreal. Just amazing if you ask me!

VA Air Boeing 747 taking off from Amsterdam - Schiphol
(Click for full size)

All credits go to Flickr User “Points1“. Visit his photo page to leave comments.

Video – DHC-6 Twin Otter Crashed at Lukla – Nepal

A DHC-6 Twin Otter (9N-AFE) crashed on Wednesday on landing at Lukla (LUA/VNLK), Nepal, killing 18 of 19 people on board.
In fog the plane struck the airport security fence, crash landed and burst into flames.
The plane was loaded with tourists to go on a trekking expedition.

Video by AP

Boeing – New AH-6 Program

(Boeing) Boeing today announced a new rotorcraft program, the AH-6 light attack/reconnaissance helicopter.
Designed on a combat-proven platform with a heritage of successful service with U.S. Army Special Operations, the AH-6 is designed to meet the current requirements of international military customers while maintaining flexibility for future growth.

“Boeing has been approached by several potential customers seeking light attack and reconnaissance capabilities in a flexible rotorcraft platform,” Dave Palm, director of Boeing Rotorcraft Business Development, said today at the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. “We believe this system is a perfect fit for those customers seeking long endurance, proven performance and 2,000-pound payload within an affordable helicopter.”

The AH-6 features an Electro-Optical/Infrared forward-looking sight system as well as a mount for weapons that have been qualified on the aircraft, including Hellfire missiles, the M260 seven-shot rocket pod, a machine gun and a mini-gun integrated with a sensor system. A communications package allows the AH-6 to connect to other aircraft and to ground stations.

Boeing will produce the AH-6 at its Rotorcraft Systems facility in Mesa, Ariz., and will draw on that organization’s existing secure supply base to ensure on-time, on-cost delivery.

Source: Boeing