ILA Berlin Air Show 2012 – first impressions

September is a busy month this year! While the new Ethiopian Dreamliner came to Frankfurt last week, this week is dominated by the bi-annual “ILA Berlin Air Show 2012”. It is the third biggest aviation and aerospace exhibition in the world and I will be there for two days.

I arrived at the exhibition on Day 2 to support our pilots association “Vereinigung Cockpit” at the stand in hall 2. One of this year’s main topics we would like to address is the extension of the flight duty times by the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA. Check out the website of our European campaign at

As it was a bit quiet in the beginning, I walked around a little and took a look at the static display. Airbus had put a number of aircraft on the ramp, including an A320 with Sharklets (newly designed winglets), an Emirates A380 and the new A400M military transport aircraft. However non of these aircraft could be visited by the general public, which was not well received by the ILA visitors! Besides the big jets, EADS also put a lot of helicopters on display and it was very interesting to see the many different types. A few general aircraft were also on display, but the biggest part of the apron was used by the military forces of Germany, the United States and other NATO states (and their befriended nations).

After a press event for Vereinigung Cockpit I had to take care of our stand again, answering questions about our campaign and other issues that are important to us as pilots. In the afternoon our whole pilot group undertook a small “excursion”, visiting some of our military colleagues. We started off at the Luftwaffe Airbus A310 Medevac that is regularly being used to transport injured soldiers and civilians to hospitals in Germany.  Next stop was the Boeing E-3, the AWACS version of the Boeing 707-300. Again we were given a detailed explanation of how everything works and what it means to be a pilot in the air force. Definitely a fascinating job! Of course, I needed to have a photo of me in the cockpit…

The last stop was the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster! The four-engine heavy transport aircraft was originally developed by McDonnell Douglas (there are some similarities to the MD-11 cockpit…) and can transport around 77,5 t. It is really huge inside and you have to go one level up to reach the cockpit. Luckily for us, a German exchange pilot was present and it was interesting to get a “neutral” point of view from an experienced pilot.

The day was over way to early and with the sunset I set out to my hotel, immediately starting to sort and edit photos. Some of them can be seen on via this link -> Felix Gottwald on!

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