Special flight: With the Lufthansa Siegerfluger to the ILA 2016

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 "Siegerflieger" Fanhansa D-ABYI

It's just before seven o'clock on Saturday morning. I'm standing in Terminal 1B at counter 494 at Frankfurt Airport, checking in for a very special flight. It's going to the ILA - Berlin Air Show with a Boeing 747-8! That alone is highlight enough. But Lufthansa goes one step further and lets the “victory pilot”, which flew our national team from Rio de Janeiro to the ILA 2016 in Berlin in 2014, fly to the trade fair.

This year, the ILA 2016 has the motto of sustainability and for this reason, the Boeing 747-8 CO2-neutral will fly to Berlin. Together with the "myclimate" foundation, Lufthansa invests in environmental projects that offset the CO2 emissions of our flight.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 as special flight LH9988 from Frankfurt to Berlin-Schoenefeld

As with any regular flight, we have to go through security here too. Our gate is B1. Boarding begins half an hour before departure and we take the bus to the plane. We board via the stairs at the rear of the jumbo jet. For the outbound flight I sat down at 35 A-C, so I have a nice view of the wing.

The doors close and the pushback is nosed west. We start eastbound on runway 07C. The four GEnx-2B engines accelerate our Boeing 747 with ease and so it only takes a short time until we take off. Passing Frankfurt via Erfurt, Merseburg and Dessau to Berlin-Schoenefeld. The actual flight time is just 50 minutes.

In between, a small breakfast is served by the friendly Lufthansa crew, the coffee is especially good! And before you know it, the final approach is on the southern runway of BER, which was opened especially for the ILA. Rolling and towing to the exhibitor position takes almost as long as the flight from Frankfurt to Berlin. :-) The stairs dock onto our winner's plane and off we go!

But before my feet set foot on the ILA grounds, I have the unique opportunity to visit the two pilots in the cockpit. Flight Operations Manager and Captain Uwe Strohdeicher, with his Senior First Officer, flew us to Berlin this morning. From the jump seat, I can ask a few questions about my career as a pilot and the Boeing 747-8. In addition, there is also a lot of interesting information about the special flight LH2014, which brought our German national team from Rio de Janeiro to Berlin after the World Cup final. After the conversation, we meet with other guests in Business Class for interviews.

Boeing 747-8 Cockpit mit Uwe Strohdeicher
Boeing 747-8 cockpit with Uwe Strohdeicher

Sustainability at Lufthansa

The Lufthansa Group is currently implementing the largest investment program in the company's history. A whopping 251 aircraft will be delivered to the Group by 2025, including 59 new Boeing 777-9X and Airbus A350-900 long-haul aircraft. The total investment amounts to around 40 billion euros. The first Airbus A320neo made the start this year. Flight captain and technical pilot Bernhard Zinser reported on his experience and data from around 100 scheduled flights.

The performance of the A320neo is outstanding and the efficiency in daily flight operations is immediately noticeable. Lufthansa currently operates two aircraft of this type, which are used on the routes from Frankfurt to Hamburg, Munich and Berlin. The currently ongoing problem of starting the engines was also discussed. However, Captain Zinser makes it clear that this will be significantly reduced in the coming weeks due to hardware and software changes. The third A320neo, which is ready for delivery, will already be delivered using the latest technology.

Airbus A320neo D-AINA
Airbus A320neo D-ALWAYS

Not only in the future, but also in the present, efficiency and sustainability play an important role. Since 2007 there has been a cooperation with the non-profit organization "myclimate". This enables passengers to offset their individually caused CO2 emissions from the flight. Jörg-Stefan Fitz, Teamliter Fuel-Efficiency at Lufthansa, presented further measures. There are a total of 1,200 projects, of which 460 have currently been implemented. Technical as well as operational and infrastructural measures lead to a significant increase in efficiency - the big goal is an average consumption of 2.9 l per passenger per 100 km. It is not always easy to find the balancing act between "every kilogram counts" and the claim of a premium carrier with comfortable seats in business and frist class as well as service on china. Nevertheless, the successful implementation of the projects proves the team right.

The ILA 2016 - A look at the air show

Now it's off to the ILA grounds. Crowds of people have already gathered in front of our winning plane, everyone wants to take a look at the jumbo jet. In addition to the large passenger planes, the large military transporters and bombers of the U.S. Air Force crowd pullers.

The next big highlight on the agenda is the flight demonstration of the Airbus A350 XWB and the Lufthansa A320 neo. I find a good spot by the fence to see as much as possible. Lufthansa is expected to receive its A350-900 in December of this year and will station ten aircraft permanently in Munich.

Flugschau Airbus A350-900 ONLY

Airbus A320neo Lufthansa

Nun kann man hautnah miterleben, was die Technik leisten kann. Die Geräuschkulisse bei Start, Landung und Überflug sind phänomenal leise. Vor allem das geared turbofan PW1100G von Pratt & Whitney (ein Planetengetriebe im Inneren lässt die Niederdruckturbine schneller laufen, als den Fan) aber auch aerodynamische Verbesserung führen zu einer signifikanten Effizienzsteigerung und Geräuschreduzierung.

Preparation for the return flight

It's late in the afternoon now and I'm on my way to the other end of the ILA site. The air show of the Bundeswehr is unmistakable and runs again on top forms. GAT is the meeting point for the return flight. We all have to go through a security check again and take the bus back to the plane. Before we can get on, there is a small photo shoot for our German national team with the crew. A nice greeting that should bring luck, so that we can build on the success of 2014.

Boeing 747-8 Fanhansa
Boeing 747-8 Fanhansa

A good hour before the scheduled start, all the passengers are back in their seats, visibly exhausted from the heat. We are lovingly provided with drinks and snacks by the crew. We are slowly being pulled from our parking space in the direction of the runway in order to take off on time. The engines are started and we taxi onto the southern runway of BER. Before heading straight back to Frankfurt, the Lufthansa crew says goodbye with a lap of honor over the ILA.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 as special flight LH9989 from Berlin-Schoenefeld to Frankfurt

The most important certificate for the day is very present at the entrance. The "myclimate" foundation certifies that Lufthansa AG has a CO2-neutral flight with the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 747-8 on the route Frankfurt - Berlin - Frankfurt. The amount of 67.25 tons of CO2 emitted is offset by the foundation's climate protection projects.

On the short hop to Frankfurt, I can sit in Business Class by the window and have a good view of the wings and engines. The pilots accelerate our Boeing 747 and shortly after take-off we turn right onto the opposite course. We fly over Brandenburg at low altitude and then follow the final approach to the southern runway in a right turn. We float lower and lower and fly over runway 07R at what feels like a constant 5 m altitude. How awesome that is! The thrust levers are pushed forward and the jumbo jet accelerates through. The Boeing 747-8 at the ILA 2016 “waves” goodbye – WOW! To experience something like this is simply unique and makes the aviator's heart beat faster!

Start auf der Südbahn
Start on the southern runway
Low pass über die ILA 2016
Low pass over the ILA 2016

We set course for Frankfurt Airport again and quickly climb to cruising altitude. There is still a small service – all dedicated to football. Of course, a beer after work should not be missing. The short flight time is just enough to talk a little with the crew about flying and traveling before the seat belt signs light up again and we are approaching Rhein-Main Airport.

The approach is from the west. We hover over Mainz on the final approach and land as soft as butter. We dock again at this morning's gate and as the engines shut down I realize this incredible journey has come to an end. With a heavy heart, but overjoyed, I am leaving this great plane. One last look and then the bus takes you back to the terminal. My journey started here a good twelve hours ago – where can you actually turn back time here? :-)

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Potsdam
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Potsdam

Participation in the trip was supported by Deutsche Lufthansa AG. At this point we would like to thank you again for your cooperation and support. This post represents our free and independent opinion.

More information about Lufthansa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lufthansa/
Online booking:Lufthansa* or Skyscanner*

Did you enjoy the post? Then share it on social networks. With this you support our work. Have you already had experience with Lufthansa Business Class on the Boeing 747-8? Then I look forward to your opinion in the comments.

  • overall rating


Hi, I'm Robert and I've been infected by the flying virus since my first flight in 1993, in a Tupolev Tu-154. Chances of recovery are zero. Since I've been dealing with mileage programs even more intensively and am Topbonus Platinum and Star Alliance Gold, everything has gotten much worse. :-) Luckily for me, I have a very understanding family who are happy to share my passion with me and benefit from it. In the summer of 2015 we moved from Berlin to near Munich and now also have a great and above all functioning airport right on our doorstep. So there will be many more exciting trips and pictures, nice that you are there!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.