Lazarus Union Handicapped Air Day at Stockerau Airfield,
August 27th, 2016
A Report by „Spectator“
Video by Oliver Gruber-Lavin
Pictures by family Matzka, Hans-Rudolf Gries and Oliver Gruber-Lavin
On August 27th, 2016, the air day for handicapped people was held at Stockerau airfield for the 12th time already. It has to be said that the event worked out extremely well, with gorgeous weather as well, also all our guests, participants, and supporters considered this to have been “… the best air day ever…“. “Spectator“ has been trying to find out why.
Firstly it has to be stated that the EU regulating frenzy also did not stop at events like this one! Alas! The full set of requirements for such an event cannot be handled anymore by ONE SINGLE ORGANISATION. So what to do?
Simply combine forces and bring together several organisations where each can contribute with the part it can do best.
For a start there is the most important partner, the Flying Club Stockerau (FSV2000), honorary Lazarus Union member, which has the complete infrastructure with the necessary “event location“ and which provided for the event not only its infrastructure but also part of its fleet, air traffic control, food and drinks, all FOR FREE.
Next organisation is the LAZARUS UNION which has the necessary know how, having organised 11 air days already without any incident and such was providing organisation, air assistants, medical service, and security and so played a major role in making sure the 12th air day could be held without any problems and especially without any accidents. In this place a big Thank You to all comrades who made this possible.
Coordination of the registrations as well as providing and serving lunch for all guests and all volunteers was under the responsibility of the “Behindertenhilfe (handicapped aid) Korneuburg“. And EVERYTHING worked out just fine!
Other contributors to the success of the event were the “Harley Davidson Club“, the voluntary fire brigade Spillern, providing tours in a real fire engine, and CSLI LtCol Günter Eichinger (for organising terrific vintage cars and managing that these jewels of car construction could not only be admired but also short tours could be made – thanks also for this).
Last but not least the most important things: the airplanes without which we could not have any guest lifted up and away. Four planes were provided by the FSV2000, one by the Fliegergruppe Wien, and one was privately provided by Dr. Christoph Auner for the 7th time already, also piloting it himself. The helicopter was provided by AERIAL Helicopter and piloted by the “father of all air days“ CSLI founding member, former special forces soldier, commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, CSLI LtCol Klaus Weber. Tirelessly he flew 14 round trips as many of our guests wanted to fly with the helicopter. Unfortunately we could not fulfil this wish for all of them but the flights in the planes were enjoyed just as much.
In total 57 plane flights and 14 helicopter flights were completed and so for more than 200 guests the dream of flying came true. A truly remarkable success! Kudos to the crews!
When speaking about figures also more than 350 lunches, uncounted cakes for ALL (provided by Konditorei Balz in Korneuburg), 40 litres of coffee and about 600 litres of soft drinks (it was a hot day indeed) cannot be left unmentioned.
To avoid the printed bill obligation issued by financial authorities (which already killed several events organised by clubs and unions throughout the country) we “discovered“ a very simple method: absolutely EVERYTHING was free for everyone! So some random visitors to the airfield also got to enjoy (unexpected) flights and refreshments. Just according to the Lazarus motto: just provide joy to other humans.
Regarding the course of events:
Already the day before tents were erected, the area was fenced off, tables and benches were placed into the marquee, the planes and helicopters were checked and the soft drink station prepared. Also the rehearsal flight with only two paraplegic pilots on board was executed without any problems.
The next day, “D-Day“, a final briefing was held for all pilots, aides, and responsible persons at 9 o‘clock. All stations were manned and when the first guests arrived around 10 o‘clock, check-in and boarding could start immediately and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER the first flight group (five planes taking off immediately one after the other) was commenced on time and on schedule, thanks to a new dispatching method.
Thereafter it really has to be said that everything was running like clockwork. Hardly any waiting time which was filled in a most charming way by our “RADIO LAZARUS“ (moderated and arranged by Rudi Murth and Andreas Menhart) with a requested musical programme, interviews, and smalltalk. Also the tours with vintage cars and fire engines were booked extremely well and enjoyed by the guests.
After the final flight all guests and hosts met once more in the hangar for some awards before the final obligatory group picture.
The LAZARUS UNION deliberately abstains from any patronage and also any VIPs. Our guests, humans with special needs, are our VIPs. When they come as our guests and we can give them a little joy this considered more than enough honour to the LAZARUS UNION, which also refuses any public funding as a matter of principle, financing and organising all events internally.
Guest of honour on our air day was Mary Rose Sandoval from the Philippines. This handsome young woman from Manila has a terrible fate. When she was at the age of two her ears were so damaged that she is hardly able to hear since then. Her greatest wish is to be able to hear again (find a report at this LINK).
Thanks to CSLI Maj. Martin Weitgasser the LAZARUS UNION had a chance to help this young woman. After hearing of her fate, the company NEUROTH spontaneously donated two start-of-the-art hearing aids worth more than EUR 6.000.- (a prohibitive amount for Mary Rose and her family) and the LAZARUS UNION wants now to help on listening and talking training for Mary Rose.
We will have an Austrian expert fit the hearing aids perfectly and also have Mary checked by a special doctor after Martin had provided the trip for Mary Rose to Austria at his own expense. Hopefully we can help Mary Rose effectively until her journey home in November.
Most moving for all of us was the joy of life and the positive attitude of Mary Rose regarding her fate and her situation. Therefore she was awarded the special grade of the Lazarus medal as an open sign of acceptance and appreciation much to the applause of the audience.
Thanks to air chief Richard Rettenbacher, ground crew chief Christoph Ptak, the dispatching teams, the medical team led by Dr. Gabriel Halat and paramedic in training Peter Scherer, all pilots providing safe flights, the security team led by Manfred Renner, FSV200 president Toni Pfeifer and the airfield director Wolfgang Gockert, all FSV2000 comrades, Dir. Johannes Hofer from the handicapped aid Korneuburg, the voluntary fire brigade FF Spillern, the Harley Davidson Club, and the many guest from Styria, Salzburg, Burgenland, Vienna, Lower Austria and Germany, who enriched us with their presence.
Conclusion and climax of the air day was the flight by our two paraplegic pilots Ewald und Robert, all on their own on board of a Cessna 172, call sign OE-DTA (Robert was a former trainee pilot trained by our president) with some runway high speed overshoots. A moving event for all present. It showed clearly what can be done when one rises to a challenge and that life will provide great things even after a blow of fate.
Together providing new perspectives!
With this LAZARUS UNION motto this great day ended with a social get-together.
Further Picture impressions: