From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Fritzlar Air Base
I had not flown for a while, and the weather on Tuesday January 9, 2018 was such that it would be nice to break the new flying year with a small trip. The plan was to make a little 125 nm round trip in the afternoon from Paderborn-Lippstadt to Fritzlar Air Base and Oerlinghausen. Both airports are nearby Paderborn-Lippstadt, but I had not visited these airports before. For Fritzlar special permission is required, for which I had submitted the application forms by e-mail.
On Tuesday morning I drove to Paderborn-Lippstadt. When I was just on the highway, I discovered that I had forgotten my phone. I took the next exit and returned to get my phone. The loss of the 30 minutes caused that I was not able to visit both Fritzlar and Oerlinghausen, and return back to Paderborn-Lippstadt with sufficient daylight time margin. Officially I am allowed to fly at night, but I never do it. So it was just Fritzlar. Oerlinghausen had to wait for another time.
After take-off runway 24, I made a departure to the south-east (Sierra). There were low clouds over the Sauerland. I first flew to the south-east in the direction of Wolfhagen, and from there to Fritzlar. At Fritzlar I first made a touch-and-go before landing on runway 12. As instructed, I parked on ramp 4, parking place 32. I saw a helicopter maneuvering on the south side of the airfield. A female soldier and a seven year old girl picked me up with a van and drove me to the reporting office.
At the office I completed the formalities. In the meantime I chatted with the girl. Her name was Paula, was on holiday from school, and she was on the air base with her mother. When the formalities were completed I had a coffee in the canteen.
En route to Fritzlar
Final runway 12 Fritzlar
Fritzlar Air Base
Fritzlar Air Base (German: Heeresflugplatz Fritzlar) is a military air field of the German Army Aviation Corps. Construction of the airfield began in September 1935. On April 1, 1938, the air base was officially put into service and the barracks were named "Boelcke barracks", after the fighter pilot of World War I. On 14/16 March 1939 the Staff and the first Group of the Kampfgeschwader 54 "Totenkopf" were established at Fritzlar Airfield. It was equipped with Heinkel He 111 P bombers. With the start of World War II the KG 54 left Fritzlar in September 1939. It never returned to its home base.
Standard bomber Heinkel He 111 P
Since the end of 1939 hangar space at Fritzlar airport was mostly redundant. Starting in 1941, the facilities were used as a backup operation of Junkers aircraft. In the course of 1943, testing, production preparation and the order for series production of the new transport aircraft Ju 352 was relocated from Bernburg to Fritzlar.
Following the bombing of the Eder Dam on 17 May 1943, Fritzlar airfield, 20 km downstream from the Eder dam, was flooded by approximately one meter of water. The Junkerswerke workers were alerted in time to move to the upper floors of their blocks of flats. Foreign workers of the Junkerswerke were brought to safety with rubber dinghies. In the afternoon, the muddy ground floors could be reached again and in the evening trucks were able to drive back to the area to take care of the relief.
17 May 1943, Bombing Eder dam
Staff building in water
The bombing of the Eder dam had no significant effect on the production lines. The production of the Ju 352 was delayed only a few weeks due to clean-up work.
Following the first flight of the Ju 352 from Fritzlar on October 1, 1943, series production of this aircraft began at Fritzlar airport.
Junkers Ju 352 V1 before its first flight at Fritzlar
In 1944, after completing 44 planes, production was discontinued because of lack of material. Junkers left the airfield in October 1944.
Between September 1944 and March 1945 the III. Group of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 were based at Fritzlar airfield. The group was equipped with Messerschmitt Me 110 G and Junkers Ju 88 G. In March 1945 a training squadron of Nachtjagdgeschwader 101 was based in Fritzlar.
Ju 88 C6
The barely damaged Luftwaffe airfield was captured by the Americans on 30 March 1945. On 12/13 April 1945 parts of the 404th Fighter Group and 365th Fighter Group Hellcats moved to Fritzlar and supported ground troops with their P-47 Thunderbolts, until they reached the Elbe river.
Captured Fritzlar airfield
Tower with US markings
P-47s on the apron
P-47 at Fritzlar
In the period until June 1947 various units of the US Army Air Forces were stationed at the Army Air Force Station Fritzlar. In September 1947, the facilities were formally handed over to the US Army's paramilitary police force in the American occupation zone. During the Berlin Airlift (June 1948-May 1949), Fritzlar served as a beacon and as an emergency landing place for the raisin bombers flying from the large American air bases in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main. The military presence of the Americans at Fritzlar ended in 1952. From August 1951 until 1956 French army troops used the barracks.
With the establishment of the Bundeswehr in 1956, the occupation forces withdrew, and in their place came a grenadier and a tank reconnaissance battalion of the Bundeswehr. From 1 October 1957 also army aviators arrived, and the air base became the military airfield Fritzlar.
From Fritzlar Air Base to Paderborn-Lippstadt
After I had finished my coffee, I walked back to the office to be taken back to the plane. In the meantime, Paula had made a drawing for me that she gave to me. Of course it was a very nice drawing, and I was very happy with it.
The same soldier was returning me to the plane. On my request, she first made a picture of me with the old tower building at Fritzlar airport. After contacting tower, I requested to taxi for a departure to the north. Tower instructed me to depart from runway 30, and because of that I requested a departure to the west, that was granted. After take-off I followed the Eder river to the Eder dam, and from there to reporting point Whiskey of Paderborn-Lippstadt. I landed on runway 06. My end-time was 15:30 LT. Daylight time was until about 16:30 LT. If I also would have visited Oerlinghausen, it probably would have been too tight.
René at the old Fritzlar tower
C182 at Fritzlar air base