A close-up on Berlin (I)

Topics for the future and the “Siegerflieger”

It is Wednesday morning and everything is happening very quickly. A perfectly normal boarding experience, or so it seemed: You scan the barcode, hear a short beep. Next, please. But the series of short lines of people queuing up alongside each other are the giveaway that this is no normal boarding procedure. And none of those waiting in line are intending to depart on a flight. In fact, these people are just arriving – at the 2016 ILA Berlin Air Show.

The doors have been open since this morning. Commenting on the event, Volker Thum, Managing Director of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), said that ILA was synonymous with innovation and put further topics for the future of the industry, such as sustainability, digitization, Industry 4.0 and 3D printing, directly in the spotlight. These played a vital role for the success of the industry in the global competitive arena, also in the future, he continued.

Over the last few weeks the event organizers have put together a fully functional exhibition center from scratch. For the next four days, more than 1,200 exhibitors from almost 40 countries will be showcasing their products, systems and processes from all areas of the aerospace industry to the 120,000 trade visitors expected to attend. Guests will have the opportunity to peek inside various aircraft types, meet astronauts and pilots from different countries and even have a go at taking the controls in a flight simulator.  

100,000-square-meter outdoor display area

Other attractions include numerous conferences and, of course, the flying display. Some 200 airplanes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles will be exhibited, both standing on the ground and flying in the air from June 1 through 4. The figures alone show the importance attached to the flying and static displays at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport in Schönefeld. Of the exhibition’s total area of 250,000 square meters, 100,000 square meters are reserved as an outdoor display area for the aircraft – for a Lufthansa Airbus A320neo aircraft with PW1100G-JM engines, for example, the newest and quietest member of the German flag carrier’s fleet. And for one of Emirates’ Airbus A380 four-engine widebody jets and one of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s. And not just any 747-8. This particular aircraft comes in special “Siegerflieger” (Champions plane) livery and is the jet that carried the members of the German national soccer team back to Germany following their victory at the World Cup in Brazil.

Military aircraft displays include, for example, the Airbus A400M, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a flyover by one of the U.S. Air Force’s Boeing B-52 eight-engine long-range bombers. One example of cutting-edge scientific research can be seen in the form of an Airbus A310 Zero G, Europe’s only aircraft capable of parabolic flight. Representing the aerobatic sector will be the renowned Patrouille Suisse.

Team of experts assumes coordination responsibility   

Tasked with ensuring everything runs smoothly, an average of 5,000 staff, such as booth personnel, service employees from cleaning, security and catering organizations, as well as media representatives from around the world will come to work at the ILA exhibition center on each day. Alongside traffic logistics specialists, a large team of experts accounts for a big share of the event organization professionals. 

Among the experts is ILA Flight Director Wolfram Cornelius. Cornelius flew for the Navy for more than 20 years and has spent many hours at the controls of the Starfighter and the Tornado. He then flew passenger aircraft in the German states of Saxony and Thuringia before eventually becoming a test pilot for Dornier. Over the next four days, his team is responsible for the entire ILA flight program and also for coordinating the ILA air traffic together with the experts from the ZEKO central coordination office.

ILA is open to trade visitors on Wednesday and Thursday June 1 and 2, both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The show opens to the general public and trade visitors alike on Friday June 3, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. (new Long Friday with extended opening hours) and on Saturday June 4, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.