View Full Version : Berlin Tempelhof 1960s-1970s question

Lone Star One
19th Feb 2007, 17:28
I am trying to find out what commercial aircraft would have been operating into and out of Berlin Tempelhof during the 1960s-1970s. I know that most of the commercial services would have been dominated by the IGS (Internal German Service) operations of the former Allied powers. So far I have come up with the following:

Pan American



BAC 1-11

Air France

Vickers Viscount

Did BEA fly Tridents, Viscounts, or Comets into Tempelhof? I'm not so sure about the Tridents and Comets as Tempelhof's runways might have been too short, but I've found nothing so far on possibly Viscounts.

Were any other airlines allowed to operate into Tempelhof during this timeframe?

Thanks in advance for any information!

19th Feb 2007, 20:27
BEA most certainly did fly Viscounts (802/806) into Tempelhof. I did a year with them (seconded - on and off) in 1964.

PanAm did not use DC-6s into Tempelhof but they did use DC-6Bs. (In fact, I'm not sure that PanAm ever operated a DC-6 - I know that PANAGRA did). I commuted from Dusseldorf to Tempelhof several times with PanAm in a DC-6B and very comfortable it was too.

Air France of course operated from Tegel (which was built from scratch during the Airlift).

The British (RAF) airfield was at Gatow which is now the site of the Luftwaffe museum.

19th Feb 2007, 20:58
In 1961 BEA operated Viscounts and Panam DC6Bs and DC4 freighters.
In the 1968 timetable there are a few Comet flights.

Liffy 1M
19th Feb 2007, 21:00
Here is an excellent website about the Berlin airports which I came across recently. Many of the photos on it are mouth-watering in nature! They can be accessed through the menu on the left.


The Tempelhof section is at http://www.planeboys.de/thf/indexthf.htm

Lone Star One
19th Feb 2007, 23:05
Egads, that site is positively mouth-watering! That is precisely the information I'm looking for, thank you much!

20th Feb 2007, 16:36
That's an interesting site about Tempelhof's history.

BEA was all Viscount at Berlin by 1960. Their competition was Pan Am with DC-6Bs, and the Viscounts were preceived better. When Pan Am introduced the 727s in 1965 BEA was suddenly at a disadvantage, and they refitted some Viscounts with better seat pitch etc and they operated as a subfleet within BEA out of Berlin.

The Viscount's replacements were the fleet of One-Elevens that came in 1968-69. This coincided with Air France giving up their small IGS operation (which always operated out of Tegel, and they had used Caravelles latterly) and going into a cooperation with BEA. For this reason the BEA branding was taken off the new One-Eleven fleet, they operated with plain blue tails with just "Super One Eleven" written on them, and with joint BE/AF flight numbers.

In the 1960s there was also a Pan Am daily 707 service to New York via Hamburg, but the 707 could not operate out of Tempelhof so this always used Tegel.

The German holiday companies used German charter flights to the Mediterranean from other German airports, but from Berlin they had to use Allied airlines. Dan-Air was to the fore here, I presume they had a crew base there. Other UK charter companies came and went over time, although runway restrictions meant they really favoured Tegel.

Due to the 4-powers restrictions operators from Berlin had to use pilots who were nationals of their own countries, but the cabin crew were locally-recruited Germans.

20th Feb 2007, 18:34
If an ad hoc charter counts, did a Templehof - Prague in an Argonaut in June '65. It was an Eastern European tour with the Boston Philharmonic, and their instruments and stage props tagged along in an Ace Freighters 749 Connie. Remember it mostly because my Captain ( ex 617 sqd; Half page obit in Daily T'graph a lot later ) didn't see why we should waste time on the corridor to FRA. Russians got all crinkly and chased us back on. Well - more or less. CB's, No VOR's, but a PanAm DC6 up ahead, and listening to all the fuss claimed to have an on-board MF beacon TX. Never managed to tune it, and I appologise for straying away from the thread, but does anyone know if this really was normal equipment on the PanAm IGS DC6's?

Whilst Stuttgart runway was being re-modelled in around 1963, Pan Am had a beautifully restored DC3, in their colours, and polished to mirror standard, that shuttled STR FRA. It's possible it could have operated into Templehof as well.

One further type that did at least one trip out of Templehof to Munich, was a Moreton/BUA DH Heron in about 1965. It was V quietly dispatched from LGW on the occasion of Albert Speer's release from Spandau. I still occasionally keep company with the Lady who went along as translator.

Just looked at the Planeboys photos............The Air Links Argonaut
G-ALHT photo dated 16JUN64 on the THF section, is the same aircraft we operated to Prague on 09JUN65 as mentioned above. The Argonaut was externally similar to the DC4, but pressurised with DC6 type bits. The engines were Merlin family with crossover exhausts. Intercoolers, and two stage Superchargers. Big green leather pilot's seats, ( the important bit ) and CB's that looked like banks of light switches. Huge dials; No weather radar, but drift sight on the floor under the Nav table......

My Dad's Little Boy
20th Feb 2007, 23:55

Thanks for the heads-up on this one.

What a cracking web-site!:ok:



21st Feb 2007, 10:08
I absolutely love THF and it's a shame it will soon be no longer. Landside approach is like Euston Station, drive along a busy city road, turn left and bam, you're there. The terminal is an architectural marvel, inside and out, and the idea of a covered apron just boggles me.

I was last there in November, flying in/out with an SN 146. Departure was on a Saturday late morning and the day's departure board consisted of our flight, a Mannheim, and a couple of city sightseeing trips. I had a bit of time to spare so I perused the monument in the little park outside, to the memory of the fliers killed in the airlift - about 80 of them I counted.

21st Feb 2007, 10:24
I too have always liked Tempelhof, last time in was on Conti Flug in a 146 from London City in the 1990s (shame this route disappeared). On short finals you come down between the apartment blocks that seem closer to the runway than most hangars at airfields !

And that terminal is a real model of 1930s architecture, both inside and out. And the U-Bahn station is just on a nearby street corner next to a greengrocers, yet far more convenient for the terminal than the Underground at Heathrow.

SSK, interesting you compare it to London Euston train station, this was going to be rebuilt in 1939 (whole project cancelled by the war) and the plans of the frontage look remarkably similar to Tempelhof, with the emphasised verticals and big central tower. It was just the architectural fashion of the time. Euston was finally rebuilt in the 1960s to a new and very unappealing contemporary design.

21st Feb 2007, 22:59
Just for further info here is the BEA timetable at Tempelhof for summer 1962. It is all Viscounts. There are 4 aircraft which overnight here and they operate all the IGS services. Two each day return to London and another two come out, so a likely pattern is that aircraft came through from Heathrow and spent two nights at Berlin before returning to base.


0900 BE 672 HAJ
1045 BE 700 FRA
1045 BE 718 CGN
1145 BE 684 HAM
1250 BE 618 LHR-DUS
1450 BE 686 HAM
1630 BE 712 MUC
1845 BE 706 FRA
1855 BE 622 LHR-CGN-HAJ
1915 BE 714 MUC
2120 BE 720 CGN
2225 BE 688 HAM
2240 BE 678 HAJ
2325 BE 698 DUS


0620 BE 671 HAJ
0700 BE 719 CGN
0730 BE 617 DUS-LHR
0740 BE 699 FRA
0930 BE 685 HAM
1115 BE 711 MUC
1130 BE 623 HAJ-CGN-LHR
1235 BE 687 HAM
1500 BE 713 MUC
1520 BE 705 FRA
1800 BE 721 CGN
2000 BE 697 DUS
2010 BE 689 HAM
2030 BE 679 HAJ

22nd Feb 2007, 10:12
Just looked at the Planeboys photos............The Air Links Argonaut
G-ALHT photo dated 16JUN64 on the THF section, is the same aircraft we operated to Prague on 09JUN65 as mentioned above. The Argonaut was externally similar to the DC4, but pressurised with DC6 type bits. The engines were Merlin family with crossover exhausts. Intercoolers, and two stage Superchargers. Big green leather pilot's seats, ( the important bit ) and CB's that looked like banks of light switches. Huge dials; No weather radar, but drift sight on the floor under the Nav table......

There's a pic of an Ace Freighters Connie dated 7Jun65 with an Air Links Argonaut in the background - and a note that Ace only flew into THF once - could you or they have got the date wrong?

22nd Feb 2007, 11:21
Thankyou, SSK. I didn't spot that photo until after posting the above.

My logbook shows that we arrived from Bergen on the 6th. June, and then left THF again on the 9th. The photograph appears to have been taken on the 7th., after we had put the two aircraft to bed and were waiting for the orchestra to pitch up for the next leg of the tour.

Thankyou, Liffy, for the Web link. At the age of 22, I had yet to aspire to camera ownership, so the glance back is much appreciated.

I assume that the orriginal terminal, if it remains unaltered, must be iconic in the world of Art Deco, and will be preserved. I certainly hope so.

22nd Feb 2007, 11:28
One proposal was to turn it into a fly-in clinic for the rich and famous, but I don't think there's much enthusiasm for that.

Big Bucks Bernie
23rd Feb 2007, 09:38
One proposal was to turn it into a fly-in clinic for the rich and famous, but I don't think there's much enthusiasm for that.

From the Mayor of Berlin and the ruling government's point of view, yes, but according to a poll done about a week or so ago, about 73% of all Berliners would much rather prefer to see Tempelhof remain open as a privately run airport (together with the proposed new clinic and hotel).

But for some reason, which nobody in Berlin can understand anymore, the government just does not want to listen to reason. They are absolutely hell-bent on closing Tempelhof, regardless of what great opportunities get squandered along the way in the process, and to me, that is unbelievably infuriating to say the least... :ugh:

tubby linton
4th Dec 2007, 23:10
Did Templehof have a PAR in the 1970s?

6th Dec 2007, 21:23
Flew a Comet into Templehof in the 60s and a Trident in the 70s

6th Dec 2007, 23:29
Was looking at the THF web site and noticed the picture of the Hermes 'DA taking off - looked in my fathers logbook of the time and lo' it was him!! - taking off to Palma - a 5hr flight in those days - at least it was 10:30 for the return trip


7th Dec 2007, 09:11
Flew the Cambrian Bac1-11 out of Templehof many times in 1971/72, great fun always competing with Pan Am 727 for on time departures

tubby linton
7th Dec 2007, 19:06

tubby linton
8th Dec 2007, 23:33
Csman what was your speed down the corridor in the 1-11?I believe that Pan Am went about 370kts.

9th Dec 2007, 00:11
I bet the folks in those apartments just *loved* the 1-11s

9th Dec 2007, 10:17
It was a long time ago,but if I remember correctly ,the 727 was faster in the cruise ,but we could climb faster,the corridors were low, so top levels were much sort after, especially in the winter

9th Dec 2007, 16:23
Seem to recall we went up and down the corridors at 300kts, I think vmo on the 111-510 at those levels was only about 320 kts but may have been higher, 727's were faster I think - certainly the 707's could cruise at 340kts low down, we regularly overtook the VC-10 between MAN-PIK

9th Dec 2007, 17:43
Autair had a base in Templehof in the 60's.
Started with a DC3 and developed into 2 Vikings.
Great Days !
Saturn had a DC 6 operation from the same hanger. The end one near the flats!
Autair started with ad-hoc freight including some runs from Hannover with explosives ( For demolition - the bits the Allies missed:})
Ended up with the 2 Vikings flying 5 days a week THF-AMS-THF with flowers and quick change Friday night to Pax for runs to Syltt and Bornholm over the weekends:)
The corridor was 10,000 ft high 5nm wide so the ATC radar was pretty active with course corrections.
Pan-Am lost a 727 on the route:ouch:
THF was very nicely located just across the road from the Schultheiss Brewery !;) ( Who delivered !:D)

9th Dec 2007, 19:17
The corridors were a lot more than 5 miles wide. They were two-way corridors and, from memory, I would have said they were 20 miles wide.

I did quite a lot of corridor flying in the 1960s; Argosys to Gatow and Viscounts to Tempelhof.

9th Dec 2007, 19:37
In the late 1980s the corridors were ten miles wide.I remember trying to get around weather on the way to HLZ and the US controller saying "you are 9.8nm right of the centerline what are your intentions?"Very long pause whilst we went around cb and then said "coming left back onto track."Going outside the corridor involved declaring an emergency.The PanAm crews used to ask for a shortcut at the western end of the central corridor .It was called the ??? transition and was named after the guy who invented it.
Certainly fun days

9th Dec 2007, 20:12
Yes they were 5 m each side of centerline:)
That sort of comment was the one I was refering to "get back in the middle";)

JW : I remember there were actually 3 separate corridors

Some interesting info here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Berlin_Air_Corridor

Northwestern / Hamburg Air Corridor: Hamburg, Bremen, Northern Europe

Southwestern / Frankfurt Air Corridor: Frankfurt (Main), Nürenberg, Stuttgart, Munich, Southern Europe

Western / Bückeburg Air Corridor: Hanover, Cologne/Bonn, Western Europe

10th Dec 2007, 09:55
On my final flight out of Berlin in 1985 the corridors were 10nm either side of the centre line.
Re the west end of the centre corridor, yes ATC would give a short cut to the south if you asked for a ............ transition. I think it was something like Bedlow, named after a Pan Am captain. What an honour to have an air traffic proceedure named after you !

10th Dec 2007, 10:51
Ex PanAmigo here...
Was flying 727-121s in 1970-71, as F/E, generally on the FRA-THF run.
Then I went on the 707 and was away from the IGS for a few months.
Came back on 727 as F/O in 1972, mostly doing FRA-THF again + charters.
Speed - I remember 340 or 350 KIAS, some guys flew on the "barber pole".
Then got away again on the 707... then layoffs due to the oil crisis OCT 1973...
Later (1977) I joined a Seatte charter airline AeroAmerica, captain 707/720s.
They took over Modern Air (CV-990s) operation in TXL...
Operated charter flights for the "Berliner Flugerring" - Spain, Greece etc.
Mostly Y149 seats 720-027s... ex Braniff airplanes.
Ugly Braniff colors - orange banana, or chocolate blue...!
US cockpit crew, German cabin staff.
I left TXL to work with AeroAmerica 707s in Pakistan...
AeroAmerica/Fluggerring operation taken over Air Berlin, around 1979-80.
Originally, Air Berlin was a US air carrier, they had 707s...
Happy contrails

10th Dec 2007, 11:37
Well, although I have been down all three corridors, my greatest experience (including being used for formation practice by Soviet Mig 19s) was on the centre corridor starting at Hehlingen.

It was a 2-way corridor in the 1960s with 5 nms either side of centre giving a total of 20 nms width for the whole corridor. It is possible that my memory is letting me down but I shall look at some old charts next time I'm in the attic.

10th Dec 2007, 18:56
Had the pleasure of flying the corridors for 14 years in the 1-11. I am pretty sure that in fact they were 10 statute miles wide either side of the centre line due to some quirk when being set up.

The upper level was FL100 and was assigned as per quadrantal rules meaning the centre and northern corridors were FL045, 065 and 085 outbound and 035, 055, 075 and 095 inbound. The south, haaving a track less than 270 degrees was 100 etc. outbound and 090 etc. inbound. The only exception was when the East Germans/Russians were having an exercise on Luneburg Heath when it would suddenly be OK to transit at 150 or 160!

It was possible to deviate outside the corridors if there were cunimbs blocking them so long as a full Pan call was made. PanAm was particularly good and precise at this and several times I heard the call, "Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan - Clipper xxx, heavy weather on the left hand side, diverting x miles to the left/right of the corridor boundary". Never any repercussions that I knew of.

However the ATC was run by the US military and was a training base and they got extremely excited if you went within a mile or so of the edge, giving imidiate turn instructions. On the so called "Super 1-11" we had a wonderful area nav aid called Harco (based on Decca) and when working correctly we could navigate to within a few hundred metres of the boundaries. The main problem was that Harco would often "jump" a lane without warning so you had to be pretty bold to resist the frantic ATC instructions and convinced of your position.

It wasn't uncommon to be asked not to reply to calls from ATC for training purposes and to then see how long it took for the u/t controller to catch on - not long usually to their credit. Also when operating into THF they liked us to do "no gyro" PAR approaches - they too usually worked out well.

As far as speed was concerned we tried to fly the 1-11 "on the bell" at 333 kts, the vno. However the 727-100 did something in the order of 390kts so in the southern corridor which was much longer than the other two, if we got established at FL100 Pan Am would barrel past us at frequent intervals 2,000' below.

Happy days!

12th Dec 2007, 13:32
This is the Pan Am 727 that the East Germans claimed went out of the corridor.:uhoh:


12th Dec 2007, 16:25
Ralf Manteufel uploaded a really nice collection of over 800 mostly Tempelhof pictures from the 70s to airliners.net:
Link (http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?photographersearch=Ralf%20Manteufel&distinct_entry=true).

10th Jun 2017, 21:43
Just found this thread and can offer some info. BEA had operated the German Internal services with Viscounts up until 1968, but planned an all BAC111 service from 1969 onwards. Over the winter of 68-69 most of the Viscount crews had to go on conversion courses to the 111 so to keep the schedules going Comet 4Bs operated most services, the Comets having been replaced on their traditional Eastern Mediterranean routes by Tridents. My logbook shows the first flight I operated into Berlin was on 27th August of 1968. Unfortunately we had to divert to Tegel as Tempelhof was reporting "Nil Braking Action", I guess in August that must have been due very heavy rain. We operated throughout the winter, and the last one I operated was on 8th May 1969 when I operated into Tempelhof from Munich and out again direct to London Heathrow.

Boxkite Montgolfier
19th Jun 2017, 11:43
An abiding memory of doing the checks in a Viscount early morning at Templehof in the '60's!

The cockpit door was shaken by the entry of a large, blue rinsed, female Americano who bellowed,

" Excuse me Sonny, is this the First Class Compartment?"

My eyes didn't dry for days!

20th Jun 2017, 09:40
I remember that the short cut from the south to centre corridor near Hehlingen was a "Bigelow" named after a Panam captain based in Berlin.

20th Jun 2017, 14:12
to keep the schedules going Comet 4Bs operated most services, the Comets having been replaced on their traditional Eastern Mediterranean routes by Tridents.
When the BEA Comets went to Airtours for holiday flights they came back to Berlin, as they managed to get business from the German tour companies. There are some photographs around of them, all at Tegel. I presume for the longer hauls to Tenerife or Rhodes they could not use Tempelhof.

20th Jun 2017, 19:13
Here is the disposition of the corridors in July 1989 (http://www.steemrok.com/berlin/berlin24), just prior to reunification. Britannia Airways did trooping flights into Gatow with 737-200s.

The crew briefing states that "the corridors extend 10 statute miles either side of the center line". (American spelling since Britannia sourced their plates from Jeppesen.) The briefing also confirms the requirement to call PAN PAN PAN to Berlin Center for weather deviations outside the corridors. Another requirement was to have the Interception Procedures readily to hand. The statute (rather than nautical) miles spec probably derives from the terms of the 1945 Potsdam Agreement.

tubby linton
20th Jun 2017, 21:02
Discorde you are correct. I joined Euroberlin in the Summer of 1989. The cbs must have known where the corridors were located as they seemed to grow inside their boundaries, I can still hear the USAF controller telling us we were 9.9nm right of the centreline , as we were avoiding weather and any further deviation would involve a Pan call
I also remember going down the southern corridor and a DDR Mig that was rolling around the corridor around us. This was before the days of tcas , but he did get very close.

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