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Austrian Parabel Mission 8 to 12

On February 27th and 28th 2004 the Missions APM 8 to 12 took off from the airport Wiener Neustadt East. Because I had just finished my practical semester and could get two days off, I had the time to follow Pauls invitation and fly as an instructor, after over a year without parabolas.

On February 26th I came from Floeha (where I spent my practical semester), respectively with the luggage from half a year. That was really kind of hard. I also have to say I came by train. In the evening it began to snow.

Friday 27th, 2004

In the morning, when I looked out the window of the youth hostel, it still was snowing. That was really great, we wanted to do parabolic flights and it was snowing! That was the reason why I got a message to come to the airport at 10 o'clock a.m. instead of 9 o'clock. Nevertheless it was stressful to get there with all the luggage. But that was necessary, because Paul had organized a stay for me for the other two nights. On the way to the airport it already cleared up, so the hope came up that the flights would take place.

The interior of the airplane, prepared for floating

Paul Bierl (left) and the Pink pilot, Philipp Artweger

At first the mood at the airport cafe, where we had placed us, was kind of down, because Paul said our flying area was in a zone where the clouds were still sitting tightly. But these clouds also disappeared over the time and around 11 o'clock we knew that the possibility was high that the flights would take place. Only one mission was definitely cancelled.

The passengers, who partly had to be informed that the weather was against all odds clearing up, also arrived one after another. In the meantime we had lunch. Two missions were to be flown, one at 2 p.m. and one at 4 p.m. That meant that the first briefing was scheduled an hour before takeoff. A TV team from RTL Hungaria also was with us on this first flight. Everything went as planned, and on the second flight we had again a TV team with us, this time from Pro7 Austria, together with Miss Austria Tanja Duhovich. Even though she didn't really know what the TV team was taking her into, she liked the flight. I guess there are many people out there who would have wanted to be Miss Austria to get that chance...

Saturday 28th, 2004

Right in the morning we had good weather, so all flights could take place as scheduled.

Free flying people

Again we had journalists with us, one of them was Maria Pflug-Hofmayr from the astronomy magazine "Star Observer" on APM 11 . Like on the day before I could lead some passengers to maybe the first successful somersault of their lives. But I myself also had the chance to fly free sometimes:

Instructors also have fun with floating

On the last flight (APM 12) we additionally had an escort airplane, a "Saab Safir", from which pictures and videos of our parabolas were taken. Some of the pictures you can see here.

Parabola sequence with the "Pink Skyvan"

The "Saab Safir"

Paul free flying

Happy passengers

Like every time since all our passengers were pleased very much and had lots of fun experiencing weightlessness with us. Here are some quotes:

Volker, student from Stuttgart (from Pauls guestbook):
"Y E E H A W !!!
I was one of those who participated in the 9th parabolic mission and I have to say it was really GREAT. The feeling of weightlessness is simply undescribable. I would do it again right away. If you are thinking to eventually fly on such a mission: THEN DO IT!
Again lots of thanks for this fantastic event."

Claudia from Grossrussbach:
mail to me:
"I can [...] hardly express it in words, it was so overwhelming!"
from Pauls guestbook:
What should I say, in the beginning I went there with mixed feelings (I won the flight) and I didn't really know what was coming up on me. But it was just "indescribable, wonderful, great". I also want to say to Paul and his team: You are just super and I felt good being with you from the first moment on, you took every fear from me that I had in the beginning, even my daughter - who was my company - would have flown at once. I would take off with you again right away!!!
So beloved greetings to Paul, Ruth and our pilot who flew us safely and made this experience possible for us.
Looking forward to meet you again

The always happily grinning Pink

In the next morning traveled back to my home town Gengenbach in the Black Forest by train.

An article about this flight was published in the June issue 2004 of the german astronomy and space magazine "Star Observer" (german, PDF 154 KB).