This Saturday, the world’s biggest passenger plane Airbus A380 made its first-time landing at Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN/EDDK).
Since I was curious, I had to go and take some pictures. It turned out to be really crowded with all kinds of people. A mountain biker asked me on the way “Hey, do you know what is happening here?”. He thought there would be a kind of open air concert.
The Airbus finally touched down at around 17.30 local time and when it was over my head it was so huge that it did not really fit onto the photo. I was standing in the approach zone of runway 14L, a few hundred meters before the runway threshold (special thanks to this website). NRWeblog also took some photos.
Here are some pictures from the landing:
Not only Norway has beautiful lakes, Germany has, too. My favourite lake in Oslo is Sognsvann, but this one comes close. It is called “Laacher See” and it is a potentially active volcano. At some spots you can see little bubbles coming out of the water.
In contrast to Sognsvann it lacks an efficient subway connection, but the Benedictine monastery Maria Laach Abbey (seen in the background of the first picture) more than makes up for it.
One Google Maps you find the lake here.
I have already visited quite a few flight decks this year (the first one on a Germanwings flight, the second one on an SAS flight) and today a further opportunity opened. The small Bonn-Hangelar airport, just a few kilometres south of the bigger Cologne-Bonn airport, has a kind of “aviation weekend” this weekend and several planes (mostly older ones) and helicopters were shown. Check the short video for a few impressions (broadband connection recommended):
A few notes on what you see: First, there was an information booth from German Air Traffic Control “DFS” (Deutsche Flugsicherung). In there was a simulation of an airport tower from DÃ¼sseldorf airport. The two air traffic controllers were “real” and normally work at Cologne-Bonn airport. First I thought it would be a bit boring to just see numbers move on a radar screen, but what they showed was actually quite interesting.
450 Planes over Germany
There was a screen which showed the current air traffic over Germany. At the very moment I filmed the screen, about 450 aircraft were in German airspace. Quite a lot if you see the littles planes on the map. For every aircraft you can see the flight number, altitude and speed. Besides all the technology involved, they still use a physical “priority list” of planes, where each plane gets a tag and when the plane has landed the tags are removed by hand – one by one. Planes in upper altitudes over Europe are controlled by EUROCONTROL, situated in -believe it or not- Maastricht.
German Federal Police (Bundespolizei), actually headquartered just a few kilometres from Hangelar, showed their helicopters. Although I am not an helicopter specialist, I talked to the mechanic of the Eurocopter model. He told me that it has “everything you’d wish for” and that it’s currently one of the best helicopters on the market. It really looked awesome. It’s used mainly for reconnaissance tasks like patrolling railway tracks. He actually went so into details about their “orders”, as they call their tasks, that I better don’t mention it here.
Air Taxi Service
At the last one of three Bundespolizei helicopters shown, one of his colleagues told me that Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and even the Pope have used it. He said that Bundespolizei provide a kind of air taxi service, the so-called Flugbereitschaft. This air service can be called and then they come and pick up their VIP guests.
After Germany defeated Argentina 4:2 in a penalty shoot-out, long “Autokorsos” or car parades formed spontaneously. These pictures were taken in Bad Honnef. Sorry for the quality, it was a bit dark outside already. Click on the image to see the gallery.
I just read an announcement by the City of Cologne that the public viewing areas for Friday’s match Germany – Argentina will grow even bigger: Due to the high demand, Cologne had already set up an additional public viewing area “Deutzer Werft” for the England – Sweden match. Now this area is again too small to cope with the masses.
On this square alone, 35,000 people followed the England – Sweden match as well as the match, when Germany played Sweden. For next Friday, the “Deutzer Werft” area will now be able to accomodate 50,000 supporters (WDR) when Germany plays Argentina in the first match of the quarter finals.
But not only the place gets bigger: a concert, originally planned for Monday, July 3rd, will be rescheduled and take place right before the match this Friday. The Cologne-based band “De HÃ¶hner” as well as “Brings” and “Basta” will perform. These bands are especially popular during the famous Cologne Carnival, so one can expect a great atmosphere. The best thing is the price: everything is for free, the concert originally was supposed to cost 30 euros entrance fee.
In addition to “Deutzer Werft”, the “normal” public viewing areas “Roncalli Platz”, “Heumarkt” and the square in front of the Chocolate Museum will be opened (and crowded) as well. The city’s official website can be found here.
Yesterday I went to Cologne (KÃ¶ln) to watch the game Portugal – Netherlands. I went to the official “FIFA Fan Fest” on the Roncalli square. The entrance for this public viewing was free, however you are not allowed to bring your own food and drinks. The prices for drinks are okay, so it was really nice to be there.
Since the game itself didn’t take place in Cologne the square was not that crowded. The biggest group of supporters came from Switzerland who play the Ukraine today. There was a huge video wall with a pretty good quality, so no matter where you stay, you can really follow the games.
Well, the game itself was actually a shame: Portugal won and Holland had to go home, but sometimes what was played on the pitch was not even soccer. One yellow card followed the other and sometimes even turned red. In the end, both teams didn’t play with 11 players anymore.
I have taken some pictures, you can see them here.
Finally, it pays off that I did the Swedish course in Uppsala: I could understand the headline of Swedish tabloid “Aftonbladet”. They wrote “12 minutes – then the World Cup was over” after the Swedish team was defeated 2:0 by Germany. Naturally, in Germany everyone is happy about this victory.
All over Germany, it seems that everyone fell ill with the “WM-Fieber” (World Cup Fever) virus. I have never seen so many German flags before, even more than directly after the reunification. After each match, people drive their cars which are decorated in the German colors black-red-yellow through the streets and honk.
The most trendy thing are currently little German flags than can be attached to a car’s side window. On the autobahn motorways, you see many of these flags lying on the side lane because they do not resist the high speeds. I would guess that out of 10 cars, 2 have these flags on.
I am also really happy that the atmosphere during the World Cup is really friendly and nice. No hooligans, instead everyone seems to be tolerant and the supporters from each country can watch the games side-by-side. Even the Turkish “Germans” are supporting the German team, since Turkey didn’t qualify for the World Cup. Our tomcat Peter seems to be supporting our team as well.