(by David Kromka)
If there are any conclusions to be drawn from Tannhosh, then those two. First: Thursday has become a full-scale Tannkosh day and second: no Tannkosh without rain, in our case plenty of it.
Thursday was designed to be an easy-going day for early arrivals, but this year it saw more than 500 airplanes touch down at the small grass runway in the Allgäu. But no wonder: this day boasted beautiful weather all over Germany which attracted almost a dozen Mooneys, too. And those Mooniacs were on a mission: being the largest type gathering at Tannkosh again and possibly surpassing the number from 2011.
Our Hungarian friends from Jakabszallas (LHJK) had already arrived around noontime and found a nice spot between the hangars. Other EMPOA-Mooniacs started to fill the rows in the afternoon and the evening saw eleven Mooneys parked in two neat lanes.
Like in 2011 the local specialties were unwrapped and the crews made themselves comfortable around the big EMPOA tent. Later that evening most of us went to beergarden and bar for a few „Goldochsen“ beers. But we didn't party all night on Thursday since everybody wanted to be rested and ready for the upcoming days.
The Mooniacs awakened early in the morning to the sounds of arriving airplanes and there were quite a few Mooneys between them who wanted to be guided towards our parking spot. Old and new friends were cheering around our EMPOA tent. Stefan Schlenk, owner of Mooney Classic collection, had created special Tannkosh-T-shirts in Bavarian-Swabian-design and with the historic Mooney logo exclusively for the Tannkosh venue. Those and other classic stuff found new proud owners fast.
For aircraft lovers it was a great day with breathtaking airshows, friendly chats amongst friends and that very special Tannkosh atmosphere. And Lufthansa's historic Ju-52 trimotor did find its night parking spot directly in front of our Mooney alley. The grand old „Auntie Ju“ will certainly forgive the Kerrville „speed fleas“ that they will easily overtake her when asked to do so. EMPOA-highlight was a roasted suckling pig organised by the Straubinger family. All Mooniacs had a good evening that day when biting into chunky burgers with the Bavarian delicacy, taste the potato salad and enjoying a cool bottle of Allgäu beer while the sun was setting in the background.
Beefed up and well fed, a large party of our group went to the party where David Kromka and Uwe Bieber even managed to dance a beer bench into pieces. No question that our party level was high that night and it was quite late before people went back to bed. They wanted to celebrate that evening since some had envisaged their returnflight for Saturday because of the bad weather forecast.
Saturday started with fair weather but still there was an atmosphere of departures in the air from the very beginning. The forecast for Sunday was unambiguous. Especially the Mooniacs from far-away fields wanted to get airborne in order to avoid the cold front that was approaching from the west. But the real shock came early in the afternoon when a departing biplane crashed during takeoff-roll, collided with parked aircraft and bystanders and came to rest in a nearby corn-field. For two hours all flight operation was suspended while visitors prayed that the accident wouldn't turn out to be fatal. Everybody was relieved when we heard that the crew was unharmed, two bystanders had minor injuries and another bystander had a deep cut in the limb which is hopefully supposed to heal completely.
The shutdown of flight operations led to some delays in the departure queue and the rapidly approaching front with gusty winds had the remaining Mooniacs work even harder since our tent threatened to get airborne as well. As the front had passed in the early evening, we had not had a single drop of rain at Tannkosh and could enjoy a beautiful sunset in front of our – by now diminished – queue of Mooneys. That set the stage for the next party evening, this time classical „Rock in the Hangar“. Here, the final Mooniacs line-up could prove that we can't only fly high and fast but also party long and hard.
In order to show that in the Tannheim hangar, we had our large EMPOA flag with us that was directly put in the center of our beer table. And that Verena Dolderer mentioned our group as the largest type fly-in helped to lift the spirit of the Mooney pack even further.
But Sunday it really came, pouring rain and lots of it – only with a Mooney one could escape. Some of the Kerrville speedmachines departed into the grey skies and via IFR to their homebases. Others chose to wait for the next day or even left their plane sitting a little longer. Apparently one day of Woodstock feeling is mandatory at Tannkosh. But despite that Tannkosh 2013 was again an aviation event not be missed as EMPOA Mooniac amongst friends.