Hi everybody! The winter break is finally over. After being buried in one meter of snow in January, weather finally improved this week allowing for spotting with a clear blue sky at Munich airport again. Right in time for the most popular weekend amongst Munich spotters of the year. From February 15 to February 17, leaders and decision makers from around the world meet up at Munich’s “Bayerischer Hof” hotel for the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC). This year more than 50 prime ministers and presidents plus the largest ever US delegation participated in the annual event. This not only results in major disruptions in Munich’s city center but also in a severe shortage of parking spaces at the airport’s spotting facilities, in fact I’ve never seen so many people and cars at that location before.
Unfortunately, I missed the arrival of Egypt’s president on board an Airbus A340-200 at 11.30am due to an exam. However, since I handed in my solution after half of the available time and racing to the airport afterwards (long live the German Autobahn 😉 ), I managed to catch the first visit of a Biman Bangladesh Boeing 787-8, which was the first plane on my list for that day.
Bangladesh’s prime minister arrived on board Biman Bangladesh flight BG1 which usually operates a non-stop flight from Dhaka to London Heathrow. Since the prime minister had to get to the MSC, the flight performed an one hour stopover in Munich to drop her off.
During the Security Conference weekend, Munich is usually flooded with business jets, like this Dassault Falcon of the Italian Air Force which can be seen seconds from touchdown on this picture inbound from Brussels.
A specialty of the MSC weekend is that you hardly know what plane will arrive from where at what time. Some spotting clubs know rough schedules and flight tracking apps like flightradar or openADSB allow to search the skies but surprise is still a major component of spotting during these days. A plane that surprised us with it’s visit was this Afriqiyah Airways A319 that brought attendees from Tripolis, Lybia. We initially expected the plane to land in front of us on the southern runway but unfortunately, the runway got shot down a few arrivals ahead of the plane for a major runway inspection that caused 3 go arounds in a row and made the Afriqiyah flight land at the northern runway. Fortunately, the plane didn’t remain on the ground over night but departed back to Lybia shortly after so we still managed to get nice shots.
When I arrived at the airport I learned that I had already missed an Qatar Amiri Flight A319 and their A340-300 which had already arrived at Munich the evening before. While this left me a bit disappointed in the beginning, I was able to forget about it rather soon when I detected one of their 747-8s approaching near Salzburg. At that time I didn’t know that they would more or less bring their entire fleet (more on that later).
As I mentioned in the beginning, the delegation from the United States was the biggest that ever attended a Munich Security Conference. As a result we saw many business jets of US Army and USAF arriving, even though Air Force 2 carrying Mike Pence from Warsaw did only arrive today. As many other flights, this US Army Europe Citation arrived from Brussels in the course of the afternoon.
You remember me saying Qatar brought it’s entire fleet? The second A319 landed in the beginning of the sunset a few hours behind its big sister, the 747 I showed you. It shouln’t be the last Qatari plane that day.
While all spotters were waiting for the guests to arrive I regularly checked openADSB for military flights operation around Germany. Several times I spotted some German Air Force Global 5000s. However, all these planes didn’t have Munich as their destination, the closest one of the jets got was Ingolstadt Manching Airport (ETSI/IGS) just about 50 kilometers north of Munich Airport. Eventually we still got a visit by a German government aircraft in shape of 15+02, one of two Airbus A319. The plane arrived from Brussels, and yes, it was actually flying! (Germans and everyone following the events around the German Air Force in recent times will get what I mean)
One of the planes that were expected to arrive in Munich on Thursday was the United States Air Force Boeing E4-B, better known as the doomsday plane. However, all information about its arrival I could get was “late afternoon”, which leaves plenty of room for interpretation. It was at 4.30 pm when I noticed a plane marked as Boeing 747-200 had just departed Brussels and was headed towards Munich. With an expected flight time of 40-60 Minutes it became a nerve-wrecking wait since sun would set at 5.32 pm. Eventually, the plane touched down in front of us just minutes from sunset. High speed serial shots and a long exposure provided many blurry but a few perfectly timed crisp shots like this.
While my original plan was to leave the airport at around 5 pm when it becomes too dark, the wait for the E4B delayed my ride back home. Just before the doomsday plane arrived, another spotter noticed another Qatar Amiri Flight had just departed Budapest and was also headed towards Munich so I decided to wait for its arrival as well. In the meantime, another small government jet arrived from Oman. In fact I’m not sure whether this arrival was MSC related, since Oman’s royal family pays Munich regular visits with its small jet as well as their Boeing 747SP to be treated by German doctors in the Munich area.
To complete the fleet of 5(!) aircraft present at Munich airport, eventually also A7-HBJ arrived providing this nice beacon shot, I want to close this thread with.
Of course, Thursday did not only provide government traffic at Munich airport. Find pictures of the “normal” traffic here 😉
Spring Spotting 1
Spring Spotting 2 with Lorenzo
Spring Spotting 3 (feat. Hekla Aurora)
August spotting with some sunrise shots
September 30 with quite some special liveries and bizjets
Spotting in Zurich on the way to Cosford
Spotting Laura and more in Birmingham
Spotting in fog with a sunny end
Special planes at Munich
TLDR service for @dush19: There were rare planes landing and taking off at a German airport