2019 saw the 19th edition of the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide. You may also call it a fly-in, a pilot meeting or a warbird airshow, and with around 400 participating aircraft it is arguably Germany’s biggest aviation event. It is an avgeek festival, and an aviation photographer’s challenge!
Where? Hahnweide, Kirchheim / Teck, Germany
The Hahnweide is a glider airfield, located in the East of Stuttgart and at the foot of the Teck castle. From the focus of sailplanes and a relaxed fly-in 34 years ago the event grew bigger and bigger throughout the years. Today roughly 35-40.000 visitors came to the Hahnweide to immerse into aviation, and to experience Germany’s largest warbird spectacle.
The organizers do not only invite warbird owners from France or the UK, there are also many pilots that venture their way to Hahnweide from as far as Norway or even Spain. And it has to mentioned that out of the 400 participating aircraft approximately 100 were biplanes!
A Gathering of Warbirds
Few are the airfields around Europe, where warbirds still operate from a grass strip, and even fewer are the opportunities it see it from up so close. Legendary fighters such as the Spitfire, Fury, Mustang or Buchon (the Spanish Messerschmitt Bf109) start up their engines only meters away from the public, and their take-off run isn’t much more distant. It is actually so close that visitors can clearly feel the strong power of those mighty piston engines agitating their stomach.
Due to the location of the airfield and German regulations for flying displays, the following flying displays are unfortunately a lot further away. And there is backlight throughout the day.
This drawback is fortunately compensated by many other highlights throughout the week-end, so that missing those photos of the flying display can be get over.
Nearly the whole Friday for example is dedicated to the fly-in of visiting aircraft. Sitting down in a relaxed atmosphere on the North-Eastern edge of the runway and slightly elevated gives a nice view and good contrast by the trees in the background. Those who want the sun in their back can also actually venture a little walk and try out one of the fields in the East of the approach. Plenty of spectators, that either want to sit down in a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere than compared to the showground, or those who just want to save the (bargain) entrance fee of 15€ a day can be seen setting up their sunshades and picnic goods on this location throughout the weekend.
Despite where you are during the day, be sure to be back around the centre of the flightline for the sunset spectacle. Traditionally the last flights of the day are performed by Mikael Carlson, who performs a spectacular display either in his Bleriot or a Fokker Triplane while the sun sets on the horizon. The daily flying is concluded by glider aerobatics, this year the Blanix Team especially stood out by the additional fireworks that were active on the wingtips of their sailplanes.
After that, it is time to join the hangar party. No written words about that at this space 😉
Warbird Airshow and a ‘mini-Oshkosh’
Saturday and Sunday morning are devoted to the flightline walk. During a short period the public is allowed to walk all around the airfield, has the opportunity to get up close to the parked warbirds without any barriers or to go and see the many aircraft that are parked on the far side of the airfield. As it is already late summer or even early autumn at this time of the year, morning mist usually hangs around the airfield. Strolling around all those aircraft gives the impression of a “mini-Oshkosh”, and while the camera shutters of avid photographers are clicking, the aircrew’s in their tents placed under the wings of their planes roll over and go back to sleep just a little bit longer.
Sailplanes – Back to the roots!
The opening ceremony of the flying display is devoted to the gliders. 12 aircraft were circling in the sky this year. The boldest pilot being the one braving the elements behind the stick of the Schulgleiter SG38 at an altitude of roughly 1000m.
Saturday closes in a similar way as Sunday with the sunset spectacle and once again the hangar party that is not be missed.
Sunday morning, again the flightline walk the sailplanes, and after that the first take-off wave, as many pilots prefer to leave early to be back home on the same day. Aircraft in the flying display quite often also depart directly from their display slot, so in the late afternoon the whole airfield is already rather empty.
Until the next Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide, which might take place in September 2022.
Check out their website http://oldtimer-hahnweide.de/ to get the latest news.