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Flying circuits at Frankfurt EDDF

…well, not quite with touchdowns and stuff, but if you wanted, you could indeed fly a series of low approaches into Frankfurt (and other big airports) for pretty much the whole of the past two weeks.

It was just too tempting to give it a pass. Also, weatherwise, last Sunday was just “one of these days”… a huge pressure area over Germany with unlimited sunshine (in fact, still the same today) and a rather strong easterly flow, bringing us unlimited visbility.

I took the opportunity to take a series of pictures, some of them from positions that you would normally not be able to be in with the usual constant airline traffic at EDDF. Might be a bit too much detail for those not from the Rhein-Main area, but I just love looking at and recognizing stuff from the air which know from the ground…

Anyway, let’s start at Mainz EDFZ, where I took the C172 and headed out.

Not as much as usual going on at the airfield, but still, several people took the opportunity to fly.

Let’s start this off with the Opel Arena in Mainz and the district of Bretzenheim.

Approaching downtown Mainz from the southwest.

Mainzer Dom and the Theodor-Heuss-Brücke (connecting with Mainz-Kastel) as the most prominent features.

The Petersaue.

Wiesbaden Army Airfield, ETOU, rather called “Erbenheim” by the locals. It is not normally active on weekends.

I proceeded eastbound towards reporting point “November” of Frankfurt CTR and listened out on the (only active) tower frequency. As expected, not a lot was going on. Mostly VFR GA. I requested to proceed south along the highway A5 to the river Main and then follow it eastbound to Offenbach, which was granted without hesitation.

The Rebstockpark in the foreground and the Messe and business district in the background.

Usually, when transitioning along the river Main, TWR will insist that you absolutely NOT go south of the river, as that would normally put you in conflict with arrivals to 25R, but on this day, I asked and was allowed to roam freely, even to the south of the river. This gave me a chance to fly directly over the district of Niederrad, which is where I live. In the center of the pic, you can see the Rennbahn, which is one of the (few) possible emergency landing spots on this route. Alas, it is currently being built up…

To the right of the river: Sachsenhausen, sometimes a bit derogatively called “Dribbdebach” (“beyond the river”) by those from the “other” side of Frankfurt…

In the center of the pic: The Westhafen.

Again a very rare position to be in within the Frankfurt CTR. This shows all of Sachsenhausen (Schweizer Straße, Südbahnhof…) and all the main bridges of Frankfurt

European Central Bank in the middle and the Ostend and Nordend in the background.

I briefly left the CTR, made a circle overhead Offenbach and requested another crossing, westbound, along the river Main, back to Mainz. TWR just said “approved!”.

Offenbach in the foreground.

Hauptbahnhof and Messe area.

Again, the radio was pretty quiet. Every 10 minutes or so, an airliner took off or landed (with the easterly winds, they were operating on the “east plan” of course). The rest of the traffic was small GA aircraft, one of which had jusr completed a low approach. So, when I was abeam and to the north of the airport, I also made a request for a left hand circuit and low approach on runway 07C, which I was cleared for immediately. Now that was pretty nice!

Again, I could have done more “circuits” but thought that ATC’s patience shouldn’t be overstretched and requested a westbound departure inbound to Mainz. I chose to make a right hand turn to have a look at the construction works on the future Terminal 3.

On the right downwind departure. Down there (right hand side) you can also see the GAT and GA apron (jets only, of course…).

Crossing overhead the (departures only) runway 18 (“Startbahn West”), which required a separate clearance. In fact, TWR very briefly had to hold a departing airliner for me.

Another photo position which, under normal circunstances, would be almost impossible to be in due to traffic conflicts: just south of Rüsselsheim, showing the Opel factory.

A couple of minutes later, I was clear of the Frankfurt CTR, just where the river Main flows into the river Rhein, on the other side of Mainz.

Another view of Mainz, which is now my second home.

Schloss Biebrich in Wiesbaden.


I could have gone on for much longer, but alas, it was time to head back home to Mainz, so a left turn due south it was and a couple of minutes later, I was on final approach or runway 08. Frankfurt City still faintly visible in the background.

I parked the plane and fuelled it up for the next guy to take the tour and a drink from the firehose…

Route flown:

Last Edited by boscomantico at 24 Mar 22:05
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Amazing photos!

EGTK Oxford

Nice photos.

What’s that stuff coming out from the plane’s right wing though?


EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

Many thanks for the thread and posting the pics. Great to see someone with a little imagination taking advantage of a situation and opportunity that seldom comes along.

I recall that Zurich airport had a lot of touch and go traffic too during the Iceland volcano European commercial traffic grounding.

LSZK, Switzerland

Unfortunately now more or less banned according to a new NOTAM severely restricting VFR at all major airports in Germany, stating (amongst other bad stuff) that clearances into CTR’s can only be expected for actual landings at that airport.
More and more GA airfields are closing as well, and some German state’s curfews can be (and sometimes are) interpreted in a way that prohibits private flights completely.

Last Edited by tschnell at 25 Mar 20:36
Friedrichshafen EDNY

Very nice photos!

It’s a bit like the volcanic ash crisis. I remember flying along the Gatwick runway at 500ft, though I don’t remember what plane it was (not mine).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Wonderful pictures, once again well done!

EDKM, Germany

Beautiful trip, and very rare and beautiful photos !

Last Edited by EuroFlyer at 27 Mar 19:19
EDLN, Germany

Rwy20 wrote:

What’s that stuff coming out from the plane’s right wing though?

You mean on the leading edge? Looks like a bug-filter for the cabin vent. Our 177 had it inside the ducting by OEM design, but am unsure about the 172.

LESB, Spain
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