13th LAZARUS UNION
Air Day for handicapped people
June 24th, 2017 – Stockerau Airfield
Video by Oliver Gruber-Lavin
A report by “Spectator“
Pictures by Evelyne Matzka, Michaela Matzka, Andreas Haftner, Hans Rudolf Gries and Ludwig Brunner
On June 24th, 2017, our 13th Air Day for people with special needs took place at Stockerau airfield (LAOU), with the essential support of our honour member FSV 2000 (Flugsportverein Stockerau) once again assisting us with their complete infrastructure, lunch, and four aircraft. Said beforehand: We could again provide a beautiful and accident free air day to our 300 guests. All preparations had been done the day before to guarantee a smooth event (tables and benches had been set up, the drinks had been put into the fridges, barriers had been set up etc. etc.).
First a few statistics:
Aircraft in action: 2x Cessna 182, 5x Cessna 172, 1x Piper PA-28, 1x helicopter AB-206 Jet Ranger and 1x helicopter Schweitzer HU-30. There have never been so many aircraft.
Catering: 600 litres soft drinks, 500 pairs of sausages, 650 pieces of cake, 50 litres coffee.
More than 350 guests attended, 200 of which actually got to fly. 29 helicopter flights and 67 plane flights were successfully completed. Special thanks go the director of operations and the tower crew of the airfield for providing really smooth flight operations. The number of takeoffs and landings handled (there were other flights as well) would well fit for a mid-sized airport busy day. Terrific job done. Once again: THANK YOU!
In total 92 LAZARUS UNION members were on duty for this air day, providing smooth operations at the “check in“, “boarding“, medical service, security, care, and entertainment. (“Radio Lazarus“ also this year provided entertainment, interviews, and information to our guests) To personally address all members in front of and behind the curtain would blow up this report far and away, so a big thank you and appreciation go here to all those involved.
The preparation of the event started four months in advance and “consumed“ in total more than 350 hours of work.
Thanks also go to our sponsors who provided donations in kind (drinks, cakes, small gifts for our guests etc.) and such contributed to the success of the event. They will be listed at the end of this report.
Thanks go also to the pilots who took the main responsibility for our passengers and who did all the flying at absolutely no charge. It was the hottest day of the year so far and only the guests who participated at a flight and were able to leave the plane “well warmed“ can somehow imagine what it meant to sit in the “quite warm“ plane for almost 6 hours, considering that these small aircraft have no air condition! But then the passengers had an overwhelming flying experience, almost like in the first days of aviation.
As already stated it was the hottest day of the year so far. This meant that the airplanes could not be operated at their full (normal) takeoff weight and the weight limits had to be monitored very carefully.
So many times only two instead of three passengers could be loaded which provided for some shifting in the flight plans, meaning that several guests had to wait longer. But for us as well as our pilots “safety first“ is immoveable. This was communicated by “Radio Lazarus“ and accepted by all guests. The reward was an air day without any events and despited these difficulties all registered (and a few unregistered) guests were able to get their “air lift“.
Security first checked the names of the guests before they were sent to the “check in“. There they had to sign their transport contract (this is a requirement even for free flights because of security and insurance), after which they received their flight ticket and food vouchers.
Then there was a “security check“ after which the guests entered the boarding area where they were awaited by our ground crews, receiving all necessary flight information. A special guidance system (passenger lists, tickets, briefing areas, and planes had the same colour code) ensured that everybody could reach their designed plane safely and without any stress, assisted by the ground crews. Also wheel chairs were guided to their plane safely and proficiently.
All starts were in formation and it looked really impressive when six to eight planes started in rapid succession. After a 20 minute scenery flight all planes landed again one after another, so the next (already briefed) passengers waiting could get their flight.
It took a lot of work and trouble to have all this running smoothly but the sparkling eyes of our small and big guests after the flight were the biggest reward, making up for all the troubles. It was fantastic to be able to provide these little joys to others, all according to the motto and the mission statement of the LAZARUS UNION.
Once again this year the variation and the mixture of our guests was manifold and colourful in the best sense of the words.
Besides old guests of the HILFSGEMEINSCHAFT DER BLINDEN UND SEHBEHINDERTEN ÖSTERREICHS (Austrian association of blind and partially sighted people, many already attended our very first air day) we could welcome many private guests (who registered via our web site).
New guests this time were
Children and adults form the “RAINBOWS“ Organisation and 18 boys from the Vienna Boys’ Choir with their educators. The Vienna Boys’ Choir together with the Austrian Army Guards Band (partner band of our music corps with which we have a friendship treaty) donated the net profit from their last spring concert to the “RAINBOWS“ Organisation and so the idea was to bring these two organisations together.
As our president was a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir himself between1957 and 1960 and still has good contacts to the organisation (in 2016 the LAZARUS UNION investiture took place at the Palais Augarten, the residence of the Vienna Boys’ Choir) this was an easy task.
But on this day the Vienna Boys’ Choir could just be boys without uniforms and so were able to participate at the flights, fire engine rides by the voluntary fire brigade Spillern, old-timer rides, or lifts with the fire engine platform from the voluntary fire brigade Großweikersdorf to have a look at the event from 30m altitude “anonymously“. Both fire brigades are our friends for a long time already and thanks go to their commanders as well as the old-timer group for their participation at our air day.
Further guests to welcome were medal winners from the last “Paralympic Games“ from the group “Lebenshilfe Judenburg“ which enabled us to present their achievements to an applauding audience. All medal winners were awarded with the LAZARUS UNION “Lazarus Cross for Special Achievements“ as a visual appreciation and the LAZARUS UNION president, Senator Prof.h.c. Wolfgang Steinhardt, had the honour to provide the awards in the name of the LAZARUS UNION.
Also comrades from the Austrian Comradeship Union took the chance to visit us on this day.
We could also welcome dear guests of the Caritas Horn, of the county residential care home Eggenburg, of the social therapy society and many other visitors. Thanks to all for this wonderful day together, according to our motto:
„CREATING NEW PERSPECTIVES TOGETHER“
Finally we would like to mention that on this air day we also presented our new LAZARUS UNION chronicles 2007 – 2017 “…a vision became true…“ . For their job the chroniclers Andreas Haftner and Oliver Gruber-Lavin were awarded the “Lazarus Cross for Special Achievements in Gold“. This really impressive opus (624 pages and more than 2600 colour pictures, diagrams, and tables) can be obtained via our WebShop. Exercise this option!
Further picture impressions:
Our sponsors (with another big thank you):
dm drogerie markt GmbH
2301 Groß-Enzersdorf, Wienerstraße/Kaserne 12
Jomo Zuckerbäckerei Ges.m.b.H.
2100 Leobendorf, Korneuburger Straße 3
TUI Magic Life Waterworld
Another large company which does not want to be named donated the drinks and more cakes