Oshkosh’s little brother fly-in in GermanyBy Marino Bronic, for e-Hotline
September 1, 2011 –When once a year the middle-of-nowhere roads in southern Germany near Tannheim get congested and the air vibrates from the whir of huge spinning propellers, it’s officially “Tannkosh time.”
The small airfield Tannheim (EDMT) is home this time of the year to the flying community in central Europe. The 19th annual gathering took place last week, August 26-28. What began casually - almost accidentally - as a gathering of friends in 1993 has developed into a major air show and one of the biggest fly-ins in Europe. From 25 airplanes that first year, the event drew 1,300 airplanes and 15,000 visitors in the record year of 2008. This year the event registered 1,148 airplanes, 15,000 visitors, and more than 3,000 aircraft operations.
Around 2006, people began calling the event “Tannkosh,” an homage to the annual AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Like its older brother, Tannkosh dates are circled on the calendars of not only German pilots but also those from almost all European countries.
Economically the event is important for the whole region; all hotels within 20 miles are booked. Tannheim’s is the only airfield in Germany that is privately owned and managed. Its owners, Verena and Matthias Dolderer, have succeeded in organizing this small European “AirVenture” with that fabulous and legendary “Oshkosh feeling.” For the Dolderers - both experienced pilots and airplane owners - Tannkosh is their home. Their hangar is a living room, their 3,000-foot grass runway their garden that they share with thousands of friends once a year.
Today 50 commercial exhibitors use the fly-in to market their products. For 10 Euro a day (approx. U.S. $14), visitors are able not only to see a lot but also to literally touch the aviation world and get in close contact with pilots, friends, and personalities otherwise seen only in high-gloss, special interest magazines. As in Oshkosh, Tannkosh visitors attend numerous workshops, watch the daily air show, and enjoy an evening concert with delicious local food.
This mixture attracted pilots who arrived well before opening day - a smart move because Tannheim is also well known for its weather peculiarities. For example, the event started on Friday with hot, summer weather, temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as hundreds of airplanes arrived, making the Tannkosh ATC Europe’s busiest control tower. The crowd enjoyed the show, evening concert, and camaraderie late into the night.
Like 2010, Tannkosh was blessed with heavy overnight rains, cutting the temps in half on Saturday morning and transforming the grounds into “Mud-Tannkosh.” By the afternoon it was a cozy 70, preceding Sunday’s comfortable 80 with light winds and scattered clouds.
Without a doubt, the flyover by an Airbus A380 was Saturday’s highlight. The Airbus has previously flown over Tannkosh as homage to the Dornier Do X that 80 years ago - on August 27 - had its first landing on New York’s Hudson River.
The Breitling Super Constellation was another “big bird” that visited Tannkosh on Saturday. The planned arrival was postponed because of the low clouds at noon but the elegant old-timer flew over the field twice in the afternoon before flying home to Switzerland.
Matthias Dolderer flew his Corsair F4U several times and impressed the spectators taxiing with folded wings.
The Flying Bulls pilot Rainer Wilke, one of five pilots who have a helicopter aerobatic certificate, brought the BO 105 to dance in the air above the stunned spectators.
And, another Tannkosh star was a green Travel Air built in 1929, bearing the label “Pacific Air Transport.” Decades ago, this Curtiss Wright Travel Air 4000 was used as an air mail airplane flown by the legendary female stunt pilot Florence “Pancho” Barnes.
Another air show highlight was Ralf Niebergall and his son Nico. Ralf flew a SIAI Marchetti SF.260 while Nico copied his dad’s maneuvers with an R/C airplane.
The German publishing house Burda used to promote its publications in the post-World War II era with its own aircraft squadron of several yellow Super Cubs. One of the former Burda squadron pilots, Hansjörg Streifeneder, and his son Christian have restored three Cubs and gave new life to the former famous squadron stationed in Tannheim since 2009.
Early Saturday afternoon, a very rare bird, the silver twin-jet Hispano Aviacion HA-200 Saeta designed by Willi Messerschmitt and built by a Spanish/German team, flew overhead. The airplane belongs to the German Messerschmitt Stiftung/EADS Heritage Flight and is one of few still-flying airplanes. The aircraft was successor of a plane that never saw serial production, the prototype HA-100 intended as successor of the North American T-6 Texan.
Also on display: an experimental aircraft along with a world premiere. The basic flight data of the as-yet unnamed experimental are unknown because, well, the airplane has not flown yet. The fast-looking airplane is a heavily modified version of German microlight Impulse that Andreas Kaufmann transformed to a rocket using the 330-hp Allison 350 turboprop engine. First flight of the preliminary D-MKAS-named airplane is due in 2012. The estimated maximum speed is 300 knots! The estimated cost is more than $400,000 U.S. dollars.
German Dynon dealer Uwe Post brought another world premiere to Tannkosh. He presented the SD-1, a single-place, low-wing airplane made of wood and fabric that can be registered as a European 120-kilogram class airplane (roughly comparable with the U.S. Part 103 aircraft) or as a
European ultralight (LSA in the U.S.). The wooden airplane will be offered as a kit or ready-to-fly airplane. The price range is from 10,000 Euro for a kit (less the engine) to 29,900 Euro for the ready-to-fly airplane. The small airplane has already logged 36 hours in the air. Fuel consumption of the four-stroke Verner JCV-360 engine (38 hp) is less than 1-1/2 gallons per hour. Click here for more information.
Crazy new world! A PZL M21 Dromedar Mini was acquired on eBay as a garden decoration. After picking up the airplane the new owner discovered that the airplane was in good condition and he decided to restore and fly it. By the way, after the auction the owner discovered that the Dromedar Mini, which was used to spray East German crops, is actually a pre-production prototype and something really unique.
Another unusual guest on the European fly-in scene is the Aquila A210 all-composite, two-place, EASA certified in Europe. After the approval of the EASA Service Bulletin 2010, the A210 can be operated under day and night VFR conditions. The new manufacturer is making good progress in the field of light training aircraft. The A210 is powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine. Click here for more information.
German manufacturer Moving Terrain AG showed the latest version of navigation devices called MT VisionAir X - the improved version of the well-known European MT VisionAir III that is now quite flexible thanks to the “quick out” capability called Easy Mount. With Easy Mount, it is possible to release the device from the panel mount with only one finger movement and to use the device - fitted with photo-style camera batteries - up to four hours without external power.
The price of the device - widely used in the helicopter community - is being lowered to 4,980 Euro. The device has 3G high-speed data communication capability and an integrated GPS module, and can be used with a 3-D GA cartography database and JeppView. In a few months the EFIS-enriched version is expected. Click here for more information.
Tannkosh is indeed a mini version of Oshkosh and an event any aviation enthusiast would enjoy. To learn more about the event, visit the Tannkosh website.