100 years Lübeck Airport, a homecoming show. Lübeck, a scenic town in northern Germany close to the Baltic sea, was the main base for the Rhein Flugzeugbau (RFB) target towing operation. In the beginning of the 1970s, their famous red painted Hawker Sea Fury T20’s were replaced by 18 OV-10B Broncos. The latter operated till 1990 before being offered to museums or technical schools. All our Broncos are ex-RFB machines, bringing this airshow appearance especially close to our hearts.

In 2010 we flew 99+32 to Lübeck saying "Thank you" to all former RFB employees that helped bring her back to life. For most of the ex-employees, it was the first get together since 1990. It was very special to listen to all the stories from when our birds were in active service. A key person to make this smaller event happen was Thomas Viertbauer, tower chief of Lübeck Airport and Bronco Demo Team Crew Chief. In 2016 an idea was aired to celebrate 100 years of Lübeck Airport in style and Thomas became again one of the main organizers. It was clear from the onset that a Bronco should be among the key participants.

When Bronco 99+18 was sold to the Luftfahrtmuseum Pflumm, most probably no one thought she would ever return to Lübeck again. Never say never though, and after taking part in the most well-known airshows this side of the Atlantic, it was now finally time to pay a visit home again! In the evening of 01.09, 99+18 touched down on Lübeck’s runway 25 for the first time in 27 years! Taking off again shortly thereafter for a happy backseater passenger flight around Lübeck, Travemünde and the Baltic sea, a trip our 99+18 made for so many years on a daily basis. We soon called it a day, but only after joining all the other airshow participants at a great barbecue buffet before enjoying the nice hotel and sightseeing tour to downtown Lübeck.

Both airshow days were gifted with great weather, tasty meals, many nice flying displays and great talks! Udo Stamer, a former RFB mechanic and winch operator on the Sea Fury and Bronco, assisted us during pre-flight checks and with marshalling, bringing his past to the future. The Bronco was a real crowd puller and many people visited us to share stories of former Bronco pilots, mechanics and people who knew the OV-10 and her sound from the flights to the target areas on the Baltic sea. It is fascinating to listen to their stories and see all the happy faces as they were being reunited with an airplane that was part of their life for decades.

Leaving for home base all too soon, it is hard to pick the best moment as the team that made this event happen really did an outstanding job! We are happy having met old friends, make new ones and pleased to bring the Bronco back for this once in a life time event. It made us even more proud to see that Bronco Demo Team is well featured in the new book "100 years Airport Lübeck".

We wish the new airport owner much success to ensure this historic place a good future and who knows, maybe we will be invited to open the new Airport terminal in a formation with a red Sea Fury T20, both our OV-10B Bronco’s and an ex COGEA Spitfire. The story of our Bronco’s and the story of Lübeck airport are closely intertwined indeed.

Dream it, wish it, do it!

 

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