Baltrum Flug: yesterday, today, tomorrow
Our history

On this page we would like to tell you the history of flying on Baltrum and the history of the airfield in pictures and text. You will learn how it all began in the early 1970s, the difficulties that had to be overcome over the years and how everything turned out for the better.

Read the historic speech given by Olaf Klün at the inauguration of the new paved runway in 2002.

Dear Mr. District President Theilen. Dear Mr. Mayor Tjards together with the councilors. Dear shareholders of Baltrum Flug and the company groups. Dear island neighbors. Dear friends of aviation and guests. As managing director of the operating company of the Baltrums airfield, I am pleased that you have come here on the occasion of the finally completed paving of the runway. I can proudly say: what the fathers started, the sons were able to finish. Baltrum 1972 Baltrum 2002 – today. It's not just 30 years of flying on this little island, it's also a lot of memories.

In 1972, the island community received permission to operate a special landing site on the southern edge of the island. Modest as the island is, so are the flight operations and the airfield. A more or less green meadow with the roof turrets that marked the runway, a signal field, and then the tower - initially a VW Bulli with the appropriate equipment, then a large construction trailer made of wood, then a mobile home and, for a good 4 years, 2 insulated office containers with heating. Everything grows modestly. One should feel the forces of nature in the following years. The southern beach was in the immediate vicinity, and due to sand drifts, flight operations had to be temporarily suspended in the 1970s. We responded to these drifts with sand trap fences in the form of willow and alder branches, which promptly took root in the sand. In the early 1980s, the "South Beach" area was cleared up for the construction of the new waste transfer station. So the problem was already solved.

 

Also due to the location on the Heller, one had to report "land below" more frequently, and not only in the winter months, when there was a risk of storm surges, but also occasionally in the seasonal period, i.e. summer. Of course, the water also comes from above - heavy rainfall led to considerable restrictions on air traffic - and thus to displeasure among arriving and departing passengers. Or those who just wanted to see their beautiful island from above, or others who wanted to visit another island for a few hours as quickly as possible. Then there are the rabbits. Who dug holes so diligently that many a golf course owner paled with only ridiculous 18 holes. All of these worries and problems are now a thing of the past, and we as the operating company are pleased that the “battle” for the paving of the runway has now been completed for a good 25 years. Behind every action and achievement there are people. Until the end of the 1970s, it was Willi Steinsiepe who controlled the airspace around Baltrum in his very unique way. In the years that followed, however, the island community, as the operator, also had to realize how expensive it was to maintain the airfield. In the early days of Baltrumflugei, a young man from Emden made sightseeing flights on the island. The night was spent in a tent just a few meters away from the plane – behind the boathouse. That was none other than Jan Brunzema, current president of the company Luftverkehr Friesland at Harle Airport. Without further ado, he also infected others with the air sports virus. And so it didn't take long until they met at Käpt'n Brass and quickly founded Baltrum Flug. A plane was needed, and as soon as it was said, it was implemented immediately.

The founding members of the society: Wolfgang Schmidt - Werner Gaiser - Artur Abram - Carl Schmidt and Karl Klün were full of energy. Wolfgang Schmidt and Werner Gaiser took to the air and learned the craft of flying. On April 29, 1976, the founding of the company was notarized. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in the year 2001, when the slope was being paved. But there was no celebration, because only today's occasion is sufficient for the crowning honor. The unstoppable zest for action of these "wild youngsters" was expressed in the lease agreement between the municipality and Baltrum Flug from 1978. Since then, Baltrum Flug has been and still is the operator of the Baltrum special landing site. Further forward-looking plans were immediately started. The mentioned problems with the grass runway could only be solved with a paved runway. At the same time, a new tower with an aircraft hangar was planned. The municipality of Baltrum, as the owner, submitted the application for a paved slope. At that time there was still considerable funding, since neither the operating company nor the municipality would have been financially able to carry out the expansion on their own. Nevertheless, there were considerable objections to this project by the population. Factual discussions did not lead to any approximation. It was feared that there would be a significant increase in flight operations.

That was in the early to mid 80's. In the summer of 1992, the court of last instance decided that one could build, but now there was no more money. It took another 9 years before the new attack. Together with the first full-time mayor of Baltrum, Gerd Althainz, we dared to try again. Due to the opening of the Schortens military airfield near Jever for the civilian connection between the Alpine region and the North Sea coast, and the requirement to bring these guests to the islands quickly by smaller planes, the strengthening of the runway was again seen as urgently needed. Of course, people also looked enviously at Langeoog - that's when the permanent runway that Baltrum also wanted was being built. In his well-known direct manner, Mayor Althainz opened the doors to the district and district government. Unfortunately, he left the island in May 2001 due to private circumstances. From now on, community worker Harm Olchers was the person who processed the applications in multiple copies and maintained contact with the relevant authorities so that the project "Stones for the Baltrum special landing site" could finally be completed could find a happy ending.

At this point I would like to express a special thank you to Harm Olchers as well as to Gerd Althainz for a job that not everyone does as a matter of course. In the meantime, the island chief has changed, and we were grateful to see that Mayor Tjards also had a positive attitude towards the matter. It is also thanks to his good influence that the planning and financing received the finishing touches, and today we have what we wanted. 360 meters long - 15 meters wide - 5400 square meters - about 770 packages of concrete paving stones with a thickness of 10 centimeters. Construction time 5 working weeks. All in all a successful birth. At this point, a big thank you to the NLWK as the planning office, and of course to the employees of the Jeschke company, who were only slowed down by the bad weather and watched that Baltrum was able to quickly get back on the flight route network. The sole purpose of paving the runway is to make flying even safer for man and machine. Of course also to keep the offer constant.

Hoppel Eiland is a thing of the past. Take-offs and landings in the mud are a thing of the past. The runway is not long, but we can live with that, or rather FLY. It is up to the community to ensure that the sky above Baltrum does not darken. And that's all of us who live on this island. So far, aircraft up to 2 tons, including 2 engines, have been allowed to land here. And helicopters up to 5.7 tons. The shortness of the runway puts some people off and, with the commissioning of the new runway, only single-engine aircraft up to 1.4 tons, motor gliders and ultralight aircraft, and helicopters up to 5.7 tons are allowed to fly to the island. Flight movements are limited to 500 in June. 800 in July and August. The air connection is a clear addition to the more flexible accessibility of the island, but will hardly compete with the ship connection. All of these facts are not bad to say and show that the problem of aircraft noise has been dealt with critically. I'm not Neil Armstrong, but after my first landing on the paved runway, I realized: a short runway for a small island, but a great achievement for its future. I hereby wish us good starts and landings at all times. Thank you, Olaf Klün

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