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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

Old 7th Sep 2020, 14:56
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My first visit was 11.05.63 (XP447/267 Sqn) and there were lots more ahead of me. Last visit 05.03.71 (XR135/114 Sqn).
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 16:36
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Thanks!

Great thread - I was lucky enough to fly BA Staff Travel LHR-HAJ-TXL on my days off in November 89. IGS - Internal German Service. I do wonder what became of those German BA Cabin Crew

Superb experience to see the Wall falling. Berlin history capital of the World
Thanks to all for their memories.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 09:45
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DCS99 :-
I do wonder what became of those German BA Cabin Crew
Indeed. Dan-Air's were all local too, though not necessarily West Berliners. One I remember had fled with her parents as a little girl into West Berlin before the wall went up. What had it been like to live behind the Iron Curtain? "I remember my mother making it very clear to me that I was never to repeat anything I heard that she or my father might have said at home. Never!".

Loading was quick at Tegel as the Terminal had been designed to allow for the rapid mass evacuation of the population should Soviet Occupation of West Berlin seem imminent. The roadway, specific check in desk, gate lounge, and air bridge were all within metres of each other in the 50p coin with a hole in the middle shaped building, with a roadway loop in the hole and airbridges on the outside. A matching second terminal was planned and the apron layout clearly showed where it was going to be. It never happened; the wall came down, the city re-united, and Tegel obtained makeshift extra terminals until Brandenburg/Schonefeld in the East was ready to become the new dedicated city airport. This has taken much longer than planned but Tegel is destined for closure imminently. It has an honourable history of serving the Capital in the turbulent post war era, for its very survival during the airlift, and keeping it sane by ensuring escape to foreign holidays (usually Greek ones!) thereafter.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 8th Sep 2020 at 09:57.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 11:43
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The status of the 4 occupying powers was strongly enforced and sometimes as visiting aircrew (especially at a weekend) we were encouraged to visit East Berlin in uniform to show the locals that we Brits were still there. Part of our brief was that we were to studiously ignore any East German police or military and in the event of any incident we were to insist on dealing only with Russian officers. If the level of tension was raised, we sometimes would send additional aircraft to Berlin to again 'show the flag' and our freedom over the city. Checking my logbooks, I see that on Feb 3rd 1975 we took 2 X Hercules to Gatow at very short notice and for 4 days each crew flew 4-hour long sorties remaining within the Belin CTZ ! We stayed below 2000ft and filled our boots (and some!) with approaches to Gatow, Tegel and Templehof. The residents of the East would be in no doubt as to who we were and our intentions. We returned to Lyneham on the 7th.

Last edited by friendlypelican 2; 10th Sep 2020 at 09:02. Reason: spelling
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 14:39
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I flew to Gatow as part of my ME training in Dec 1991 in the Jetstream (XX482). After an entertaining night in Berlin we departed back to Finningley, I was no 2 in a stream of 3 ac, the last RAF ac to fly down the corridors as they closed at the end of that day & became normal airways.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 14:49
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Originally Posted by chopper2004 View Post
USAF did lots especially in The early days with EC-97G And RC-130A up and down the Berlin corridor 60s/70s. Then the Fulton recovery equipped mC-130E/H Combat Talon operated by the Rhein Main 7th Special Ops Squadron (now based at the ‘Hall) we’re sighted flying up and down the corridor in the 80s.

Also slightly digressing, the FAA had variety of C-47, C-131, DC-6, T-39 Sabreliner going into Tempelhof from the 60s onwards till the wall came crashing down. Think they were runway calibration / checker a/c.

cheers
Out of interest, is there any evidence that they were retrieving people/packages with Fulton gear along the way?
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 16:11
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The status of the Occupying Powers was made clear to me during a couple of visits. First, the RAF Staff College visit in 1978 when we Brits plus the Americans on the course (all in uniform) went through Checkpoint Charlie with minimal fuss whilst all the other nationals in another coach had quite a difficult crossing. (Our Yugoslav MIG 21 pilot colleague, a fairly hardline communist, was outraged at such treatment of a comrade!) Some years later, my NATO Defense College course had Berlin as part of the European tour. The Belgian Air Force B727 that we used for transport was not permitted in the corridors and, as I recall, we flew in/out using Pan Am. And as this was a NATO rather than national visit, there was no question of anyone on the course going into the East on that occasion. (The wife of one of our US Army officers had grown up in East Berlin and, on the day they started to build the wall, she had crossed into the West. Prior to the tour, she had gone through all required formalities to see her family during the visit and, despite that, got a pretty hard time when going through Charlie.)

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Old 8th Sep 2020, 16:35
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I guess I was lucky re going down the Central Corridor to Gatow. The first time was on my conversion to nice red and white Andover Mk2s from Benson in 1969. The trg capt was friends with OC Ops at Gatow (I think they had been on Comet 2s in the past). We did lots of (radar) circuits to give the PAR controllers some practice. There were quite a few other training occasions during my 3 years as a copilot. Later in my career (1974) I stood in for the CinC RAFG's Andover Mk2 (60 Sqn Wildenrath) captain and made a few trips up and down the corridor with the CinC (Sir Nigel Maynard, I think). Did a Jetstream refresher at Leeming in 1985 which also involved a trip to Gatow and a night downtown with the ubiquitous WRAF Officer who was keen to visit the odd nightclub!! Also took an HS125 (32 Sqn) to a couple of Berlin Air shows, one at Gatow and one at Templehof. The Berliners loved it because I guess there wasn't too much call for airshows in the Berlin area!
I must have been lucky; never saw an unfriendly aircraft and always managed to get back to Gatow unscathed after a night downtown although the headaches were similar to those gained after a night downtown Limassol!!
Boy were we lucky in having those experiences.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 18:41
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In the sixties I ‘indulged’ (are they still called Indulgence Flights’ ?) twice by Argosy from Benson to Gatow and back. It was so cheap, I think, certainly, less than £10 return. Couldn’t understand why more people didn’t do it.I took my uniform and visited East Berlin on each occasion and managed to stay each time at Edinburgh House.
Later when I was based in W Germany I also went by road and by the Military Train.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 21:11
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Concerning Tegel: The commercial airport will close in November but Tegel North Air Base will remain open for some more years to come. However it might be only used for some Tegel North based VIP military helicopters in the future. Possibly only the military apron in the north will remain operational but no more runway.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 22:49
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Berlin Brigade Aviation Det

Not forgetting US Army Berlin Brigade Aviation Detachment with Bell UH-1H, Pilatus UV-24 , Beech C-12. The black Hueys had FReedom City painted in white on the sliding doors, Pilatus Porters perfect for their STOL capabilities. In the 70s the Aviation Det had Cessna O-2 Skymasters (think one of them ended up post Army service at Strike / Top Gun at NAS Fallon as range a/c).

Photos courtesy of US Army Germany website


http://usarmygermany.com/Sont.htm





cheers





Last edited by chopper2004; 9th Sep 2020 at 12:19.
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Old 9th Sep 2020, 17:36
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An ex 60 Sqn Andover C1, XS596, became the UK 'Open Skies' aircraft in the late '80s/early '90s, based at Boscombe Down. It had been highly modified for 60 Sqn to carry vertical cameras and, from memory, an infrared line scan and I was told that it used to fly the Berlin corridors. The modifications made it ideal for installing the equipment required for 'Open Skies' tasks.
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Old 9th Sep 2020, 20:48
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The Pilatus UV-20A Chiricahua had photo recon capabilities as well. On clear days you could see them almost standing still at high altitude. They did special forces paradrops as well.
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 09:06
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I was lucky enough to spend a week in Berlin with the CCF, travelling in from Braunschweig on the British Military Train. Aswell as the normal sightseeing we did FIBUA training at the Ruhleben complex, were driven around the Havel in Rigid Raiders, had a sightseeing ride in a Gazelle, and spent half a day wandering around Treptower Park - in uniform, of course - after going through Checkpoint Charlie. Was quite the eye-opener for a schoolboy who'd never left the UK before. My only regret is that I didn't know more about WWII history; I was pretty much in awe of the Wall, and tales of BRIXMIS derring-do, but when one of our hosts told us he'd met Hess - who was still alive at that point - I didn't really know who he was...
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 09:43
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Lots of detail on air operations by BRIXMIS (Operation "Schooner/Nylon") and USMLM (https://www.16va.be/operation_larkspur_part1_eng.html) on the "Red Stars Over Germany" site.
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 10:12
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There used to be a dedicated department in the UK that used the photography from BRIXMIS, HALLMARK and ‘other’ sources to make extremely detailed scale models of Warsaw Pact equipment for recognition purposes.
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Video Mixdown View Post
There used to be a dedicated department in the UK that used the photography from BRIXMIS, HALLMARK and ‘other’ sources to make extremely detailed scale models of Warsaw Pact equipment for recognition purposes.
Indeed .In my day the JARIC model section at RAF Wyton, A very skilled team sadly disbanded years ago.
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Old 11th Sep 2020, 03:21
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Originally Posted by JW411 View Post
My first visit was 11.05.63 (XP447/267 Sqn) and there were lots more ahead of me. Last visit 05.03.71 (XR135/114 Sqn).
My Dad was a 267 Sqn pilot during that time and I well remember him getting a Viscount checkout courtesy of BEA. He flew into Berlin several times, as I remember him bringing home big jars of excellent German pickles.

Which of the three Berlin airports was BEA using back then?
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Old 11th Sep 2020, 06:55
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Originally Posted by Commander Taco View Post
My Dad was a 267 Sqn pilot during that time and I well remember him getting a Viscount checkout courtesy of BEA. He flew into Berlin several times, as I remember him bringing home big jars of excellent German pickles.

Which of the three Berlin airports was BEA using back then?
It would be Tempelhof. All the scheduled airlines operated out of there, Those airlines operating charter flights used Tegel.
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Old 11th Sep 2020, 07:41
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BA flew to Gatow as well occasionally. There was even a small passenger terminal.
Tegel was used by aircraft needing longer runways. Like Pan Am quads not only charters. Air France flew their Caravelles to Tegel (North) as well.
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