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German Island Hoping – LFH BN-2 To Wangerooge  
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4462 times:

I recently flew on a LFH BN-2 from the tiny airfield of Harle to the island of Wangerooge in Northern Germany and thought the trip might be an interesting trip report. I might be wrong but I think it is the first trip report on LFH.

I always was interested in the Island services offered in Northern Germany to the East Frisian Islands but never managed to visit the area.

When good friends invited us to their wedding north of Bremen this summer there was finally a very good reason to visit the area and extend the trip a bit to include a flight to an island.

As the topic line already implied I selected a day trip to the island of Wangerooge with LFH - Luftverkehr Friesland Harle in full - from the small airfield in Harle, right next to the sea and the port where the boats depart to Wangerooge.

There are seven large East Frisian Islands and all of them have small airports which have had regular scheduled air services by the 3 carries OLT, FLN and LFH. However earlier this year Germany followed failed examples from other countries and introduced a new departure tax which adds €10 to each domestic flight. Unfortunately the Island flights weren’t exempt, even though they provide an important lifeline to the island communities especially as ferry timetables are subject to tides and often can’t run for days in adverse weather condition during the winter season. The 3 above mentioned airlines launched a joint complaint with the EU to exclude the essential air services to the Islands from the tax but a final verdict hasn’t been made yet. As €10 are quite a significant increase on average ticket price of €40-€55 for the short hops the tax has had a severe impact on passengers numbers and as a result some islands lost their regular scheduled flights with only ad hoc flights remaining for the time being.

The three scheduled services currently remaining are OLT from Emden to Borkum in the West right next to the Dutch border, FLN serving Juist from Norden while LFH is serving the easternmost island Wangerooge from Harle. All airlines offer hourly or even more frequent service in the peak season and flight times are as short as 5 minutes.

After informing myself about the flight times on the informative websites of all three airlines we decided to use the day trip option flying from Harle to Wangerooge in the morning and using the afternoon ferry for the way back. The decision for LFH and Wangerooge was mainly made for geographical convenience as Harle is the easternmost departure point and it was easiest to reach from Hamburg and the wedding venue near Bremerhaven after the daytrip. Borkum with OLT on their rare Gripsland Airvan would have been interesting as well but unfortunately too far away this time. Well something left for the next trip.

The LFH website gives detailed information on their operation and prices but there is no online booking facility. So I had to call LFH in Harle to check availability, there aren’t that many seats on an Islander after all, and make a reservation. The reservation process was the easiest I ever encountered. They just wanted my name, no need to give the name for the second passenger as they just would keep two seats under my name. No credit card needed neither to pay nor hold the seats as we will pay on check in, and not even a phone number. Well they like to keep things simple as the friendly lady told me. And they do have trust in their passengers as there wouldn’t have been any way in tracing me if we just wouldn't have turned up. But it must work I suppose. So the whole booking took about a minute and after advising that we should be at the airport around 10-15 minutes before departure I was given a hearty goodbye. Nice to see that flight booking can be so uncomplicated and straightforward these days.

The trip started with an Easyjet flight from LGW to HAM where I met my wife who flew up from Munich with Air Berlin after having spent a few days there. I decided to have a separate report for this here:
LGW-HAM/BRE-STN On EZY&FR + Aeronauticum (by IL62Mdakar Sep 25 2011 in Trip Reports)


From Hamburg we drove over to Carolinensiel and stayed the night before we stayed at a small B&B in nearby, just 2 miles from the airport in Harle.

The historic port of Carolinensiel
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On the next day we drove to Harle for 5 minutes and reached the small airport about 10 minutes before departure, we were actually the first passengers to arrive.

Access to the terminal is a bit funny as you need to cross the vast long-term car park where people leave their cars when taking the ferry to Wangerooge drive up the dyke and then finally find a space near the terminal. Parking for the day is €5 by the way and payable when entering the car park.

Of course my name was on the list for 2 tickets and after paying in cash we got a small printed tickets and a chipcard with the “Kurtaxe” (tourist tax) and the ferry tickets for the return journey.

Minutes later the pilot just shouted “ All passengers to Wangerooge please” and without any security or ticket check we entered the apron walking over to our Islander.

Everything was actually that quick that I even forgot to take a picture inside if the Terminal. Unfortunately I only noticed at home.

However I took a few photos of another LFH BN-2 while walking across the apron. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too inviting.
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The pilot loaded a few parcels into the hold while we climbed aboard. Free seating of course.
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The LFH staff park their cars on the apron.
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I probably could have asked for the copilot seat which remained empty but I opted to sit in the second row together with my wife. That way we had a better view of the Cockpit anyway.

http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/IL62M/DSC01602.jpg


6 out of 9 seats were taken. Not a bad load.

Without further ado the flight started. No words or safety briefing. Just switching on the engines and off we went. I always like how uncomplicated flights with an Islander are, no matter what continent you are on.
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Taxing to the end of the runway in Harle.
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Of course the BN-2 hardly needs a lot of runway and we smoothly lifted into the North German sky.
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Immediately after take off we took a sharp turn to the left over the dike and crossed the ferry port…
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…before heading straight to Wangerooge across the stormy North Sea. Despite the strong winds the flight actually wasn't bumpy at all.
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On the other side you could even see some seals resting on a sand bank.
No other in-flight entertainment  http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/IL62M/DSC01619.jpg

Wangerooge coming into sight.
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The uninhabited East of the Island.
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The runway was already visibly to the left and we started a deep descent.
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Followed by a smooth touchdown on the paved and remarkably long runway (850m) 28 of Wangerooge before taxying down to the Terminal.
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So my shortest flight so far was over though it actually felt longer than 5 minutes.
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After deboarding some more pics of our Islander in front of the Wangerooge Terminal.
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Wangerooge’s small terminal.
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D-ILFA heading back to Harle after a few minutes on the ground.
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The weather outside wasn’t still too pleasant at but we decided to brave the wind and rain and take the short walk down to the town center.
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Once we reached we strolled through every single souvenir shop to find shelter from the rain.
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When the rain finally eased a bit we made it to the deserted beach. On a sunny day the typical German beach chairs offer a nice protection from the wind…but not today.
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Summer in Northern Germany…
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When I planned the day trip I imagined a nice day on the beach but since it was way too cold and windy and there wasn’t really anything else to do, we opted to stay in a Cafe overlooking the beach to enjoy lunch and cake for the next two hours or so.
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Of course just when we had to head back to the ferry the sun came out. ;-(
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Iconic old lighthouse – the landmark of Wangerooge.
http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/IL62M/DSC01736.jpg


The ferry port is on the other side of the island and linked to the main village by a small train.
http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/IL62M/DSC01740.jpg


The 20 minute ride is quit scenic.
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LFH’s competition…
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Reaching back to the mainland.
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After reaching Harle I walked back a few minutes to the airport to pick up the car. The way leads over the dike where you have a brilliant overview over the airfield.
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While D-IEST is coming back. As you can see not in the standard livery. LFH is also trading as “Inselflieger” – literally Island flyers.
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While D-ILFH is heading off for another hop to the Islands.
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As the dyke is right behind the runway you can nicely see the sharp turn left after take off.
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As the sun was out now I had to take a few more photos of LFH’s fleet. After quickly asking for permission in the terminal walking around on the apron to take photos wasn’t any problem.

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LFH also has 4 Cessna’s 175 in the fleet which operate on schedule services as well when loads are low.
http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab326/IL62M/DSC01825.jpg


Afterwards we headed to the wedding venue in a farm North of Bremen and enjoyed brilliant 3 days with our friends.


As always thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this trip about one of the more exotic aspects of aviation in Germany. The Islands are beautiful and flying on an Islander for a 5 minute hop is always great fun. I just can recommend doing it if you happen to be in the area. Questions and comments are always welcome.

[Edited 2011-09-25 12:34:40]

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

What a unique TR. I love destinations of this kind. I have always been curious about the Frisian islands (esp. the Dutch ones but the German ones too) so this was a treat.

I enjoyed this so much I think I'll read it again.

Thanks for sharing!

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4145 times:

Hi

Interesting and unique trip report you have got there. It was an interesting read. Nice to see reports of this kind!!

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3938 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
What a unique TR. I love destinations of this kind.
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 2):
It was an interesting read. Nice to see reports of this kind!!

Thanks for the nice feedback. I always love to do those type of exotic flights. Even better if you can do them without travelling far afield and cover lesser know aspects of aviation in European countries. There a couple of hidden gems in the UK as well that are on my list .

[Edited 2011-09-26 12:40:33]

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1221 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3881 times:

Great report ! I've read this one again - I enjoyed it so much for the first time. Fantastic pics as well. I really enjoyed travelling with you on this trip - that's what it felt like.

The Islander remains moderately popular amongst small operators - despite how the aircraft's relatively ancient pedigree. Nice to see another Islander operator in Europe.

Also very nice to see all those German beach "huts" too - one of my friends here imported one for his back garden as he loves them so much. I really liked your destination pictures as well - please keep writing and posting trip reports!

Cheers Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3607 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 4):
Great report ! I've read this one again - I enjoyed it so much for the first time. Fantastic pics as well. I really enjoyed travelling with you on this trip - that's what it felt like.

.

Thanks palmjet for the great feedback. Good that you enjoyed the report

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 4):
Also very nice to see all those German beach "huts" too - one of my friends here imported one for his back garden as he loves them so much.

I quite like them too and if it's a bit warmer they are pretty good. Wouldn't have expected that one of them ended up in England. But well, some parts of England look quite similar to North Germany so it wouldn't look out of place.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 4):
really liked your destination pictures as well - please keep writing and posting trip reports!

Will try. Have two half finished ones at the moment. It just takes so much time to write them. Feedback like yours certainly inspires, that it's time well spent.


User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3564 times:

Really nice trip report! I've always had a strange fascination with the Frisian Islands, so it was good to read your report. I did actually manage to visit the Dutch island of Texel last year when I was living and working in the Netherlands, but would really like to visit some of the German and Danish islands too. I even recently found out that one of my uncles lived on Sylt for a while...I had no clue until he casually dropped it into the conversation one day and I've yet to get a real answer from him as to how he actually came to be living there, but hey, I'll keep working on it!

It's also nice to see that those BN Islanders are still being put to use all around the world. I remember a time when Aurigny in the Channel Islands had a mixture of both Islanders and Trislanders, although nowadays of course they only have the latter. I still find it hard to believe though that they used to be built on the Isle of Wight!!

Thanks for the report!

Cheers.

Andy.



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlineOlafW From Germany, joined Jul 2009, 102 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3375 times:

Thanks for a great report. These island hops are high on my to-do list as well.

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Thread starter):
Summer in Northern Germany…

Absolutely love that picture. Great mix of grey sea and bright sand!


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3236 times:

Hi Ilyushin,

What a (hidden) gem of a report! A most interesting and enjoyable read - I've always been curious about those Frisian islands and the interesting island flights. I visited Sylt last year (although in late October - the weather was horrible but then again judging from your pictures it can be just as horrible during the "summer" as well... ) and quite liked the unique place. Let's see when I might be able to visit these myself - too many places, too little time...  

The LFH island hopping operation in Estonia has also been on my todo list for quite a few years, I think I need to go there to do it as well (if they still operate it next summer...).

Quite enjoyed your other report about your hops to and from Germany as well - that aviation museum looked like a very interesting place to visit one day!

Thank you very much for posting this!


User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2962 times:

Thank you BAViscount, OlafW and Flying Finn for the nice feedback.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 6):
Really nice trip report! I've always had a strange fascination with the Frisian Islands,

I am surprised how many members from the UK are interested in the Frisian Islands. Didn't expect that, especially as the region is not too dissimilar to parts of the UK. But it is a nice area of Germany.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 6):
It's also nice to see that those BN Islanders are still being put to use all around the world.



I think they are brilliant, simple, rugged and you can find them everywhere. I' now flew on Islanders in Germany, the Caribbean and Latin America and seen some almost every else I travelled... It's one of those great engineering designs that just doesn't get outdated and it seems there is simply no replacement for a BN-2.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 6):
I remember a time when Aurigny in the Channel Islands had a mixture of both Islanders and Trislanders,

I flew on Aurigny's Trislander a couple of years ago. One of the most peculiar planes around.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 6):
I still find it hard to believe though that they used to be built on the Isle of Wight!!

Always wanted to visit Bembridge and the Isle of Wight but to may shame never made it in the last couple of years even tough it's so close to London.

Quoting OlafW (Reply 7):
Absolutely love that picture. Great mix of grey sea and bright sand!

It pretty much captures the spirit on the Island that day. But despite the weather I still loved it.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 6):
I even recently found out that one of my uncles lived on Sylt for a while
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 8):
I visited Sylt last year

I went to Sylt almost every year during my childhood. It is really nice as well but quite different to Wangerooge, and I think the other East Frisian Islands as well, as it is so much more developed. On the plus side there would have been much more to do in Sylt on a rainy day. As it is so easy to access Sylt since the airport boomed in the last few years it is probably the best Island to visit, although the flights will be less exotic. When I visited there for holiday all those years ago, scheduled services were mainly Do-228 and Shorts 360 plus the odd Eurowings ATR. How I wish I could have flown on the Shorts back then.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 8):
I visited Sylt last year (although in late October - the weather was horrible

I actually never went to Sylt in the summer and think it has its attractions all year round. Did you write a report?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 8):
too many places, too little time...  

Well you are doing pretty well from what I can read here.  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 8):
The LFH island hopping operation in Estonia has also been on my todo list for quite a few years, I think I need to go there to do it as well (if they still operate it next summer...).

That's certainly an interesting operation. Read reports about it elsewhere. I think they even use unpaved runways on one of the Islands. Not sure how LFH decided to get involved flying in Estonia so far away from home.

Since you are so close to Estonia you definitely should try to get on those services.


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2868 times:

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 9):
I actually never went to Sylt in the summer and think it has its attractions all year round. Did you write a report?

Of course   Here is it: Four Planes, Five Trains: HEL-TXL-GWT/SGD-CPH-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 Oct 28 2010 in Trip Reports)

Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 9):
That's certainly an interesting operation. Read reports about it elsewhere. I think they even use unpaved runways on one of the Islands. Not sure how LFH decided to get involved flying in Estonia so far away from home.

Well, I don't think there are any local airlines with suitable equipment nowadays (Avies used to have a LET-410 which might be ok for short unpaved runways but don't operate it any more), LFH certainly has the experience for these kind of operations and since these are PSO operations the lure of the Estonian taxpayer offering guaranteed revenue was probably enough to get them involved...  
Quoting IL62Mdakar (Reply 9):
Since you are so close to Estonia you definitely should try to get on those services.

Yep, but it will have to wait until the spring or summer - the autumn and winter can be harsh in small islands in the middle of the Gulf of Riga...


User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1381 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2793 times:

Very cool report. I'm wondering, is this an IFR flight or VFR? Great pictures and very interesting.


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5961 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2755 times:

Quoting vio (Reply 11):
Very cool report. I'm wondering, is this an IFR flight or VFR? Great pictures and very interesting.

Highly speculative guess here, but given the distance between the two airports, flight time, etc., I highly doubt they would want to deal with the fees/hassle of filing IFR if they can warrant it.

Then looking at the satilite pictures, the island's runway does not have IFR required markings, which means it's a VFR only airport.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1381 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2738 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 12):

Then looking at the satilite pictures, the island's runway does not have IFR required markings, which means it's a VFR only airport.

Thanks for the info, though just because an airport does not have say a precision approach, you can also do a non precision or even a circling approach, so the airport itself doesn't matter if the flight is or not IFR. We fly IFR all the time to remote strips up North. It's just that once we're there we may only have an NDB at our use...



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineIL62Mdakar From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2721 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 10):
Of course   Here is it: Four Planes, Five Trains: HEL-TXL-GWT/SGD-CPH-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 Oct 28 2010 in Trip Reports)

Must have missed that one. Will have a read, sound like another interesting route of yours.

Quoting vio (Reply 11):
Very cool report. I'm wondering, is this an IFR flight or VFR? Great pictures and very interesting.

Thanks for the feedback.

Quoting vio (Reply 13):
Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 12):

Then looking at the satilite pictures, the island's runway does not have IFR required markings, which means it's a VFR only airport.

Thanks for the info, though just because an airport does not have say a precision approach, you can also do a non precision or even a circling approach, so the airport itself doesn't matter if the flight is or not IFR. We fly IFR all the time to remote strips up North. It's just that once we're there we may only have an NDB at our use...

I am no expert on this topic but I would have thought VFR as well. Can't see why they would use IFR on these flights.


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5961 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2717 times:

Quoting vio (Reply 13):
Thanks for the info, though just because an airport does not have say a precision approach, you can also do a non precision or even a circling approach, so the airport itself doesn't matter if the flight is or not IFR. We fly IFR all the time to remote strips up North. It's just that once we're there we may only have an NDB at our use...

Well, I can agree with you there, but this is a paved runway. If it had an instrument approach, it'd have piano keys on at least one end.



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