One of the most fun things about EAA AirVenture is you never know who you're going to meet. That was true the day we stopped by to meet the crew of the Luftwaffe plane that was taking center stage. Good reason for it to take center stage, it was huge. This Airbus is kind of like the C-130. C-17A Globemaster and C-5 that have been at AirVenture. They are big and used to move lots of things all over the world.
My custodians had a wonderful time talking with Peter, the pilot, about his history and experiences. There is a recording of part of the interview with the videos. He grew up around an airfield, so he wanted to be in aviation all of his life. He talked to us about some of the lessons he learned from airplanes growing up. His father trained people how to fly gliders. Peter said he learned teamwork from flying a glider.
If you don't know, a glider doesn't have an engine, thus - it's a glider. Another airplane pulls the glider into the sky and then releases it and the glider slowly glides down to the ground. There's a lot more to it, but that's the basics. It takes real teamwork to make it happen. As Peter told us, nobody flies a glider by themselves.
The Airbus A400M has a huge team that has to work together to make things happen, too. You normally think that the pilot is the one in charge of the airplane, but in this case it's actually somebody called the Load Master. Peter doesn't take off until the Load Master "releases" the plane to him. That means that everything is set in the hold of the plane and nothing is going to be moving around. The last thing you want when the plane is flying is for something big and heavy to start rolling around running over other cargo or into the sides of the plane.
This particular A400M flies in the German equivalent of the US Air Force, the Luftwaffe. Most of the time they are moving things around the world. They do lots and lots of relief work, like taking plane loads of supplies from Germany to places when there are natural disasters. Peter says it's never the same two days in a row and that makes it interesting.
I left with Peter and his crew at the end of EAA AirVenture 2021 and got to fly all the way back to Germany with them. They were really nice and I had a great time. I heard them telling lots of stories about how they had gotten to know the folks who flew some of the US super big planes. Sounds like they hung out together sometimes and compared notes on flying and taking care of this huge, exceptionally important air planes.
Terrific spot for an interview