Brand-Briesen Airfield

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Brand-Briesen Airfield
Brand Cargolifter Halle.jpg
The Cargolifter airship hangar at Brand-Briesen
Summary
Location Brand, Germany
Opened 1939
Built 1938-1939
In use 1939-1994
Occupants Luftwaffe, Soviet Air Force
Coordinates 52°2′8.56″N 13°44′46.6″E / 52.0357111°N 13.746278°E / 52.0357111; 13.746278Coordinates: 52°2′8.56″N 13°44′46.6″E / 52.0357111°N 13.746278°E / 52.0357111; 13.746278
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2,500 concrete

Brand-Briesen Airfield is a redeveloped military air base located at Briesen/Brand, part of Halbe in Dahme-Spreewald, Brandenburg, Germany, about 60 km (37 mi) south-southeast of Berlin. Since 2004, the former CargoLifter airship hangar has been converted by a Malaysian company Tanjong into a leisure resort called My Tropical Island.

History[edit]

Interior of the CargoLifter hall. Note the three people at the lower left for scale
Tropical Island from above shortly after opening

The airfield was built by the Luftwaffe during the expansion of the military by Nazi Germany, between 1938 and 1939. When opened it had a single 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) runway.[1]

The airfield was over-run by the Red Army in May 1945, who occupied the site. From this point forward, several units of the Soviet Air Force were stationed here. After extending the runway to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) in the early 1950s, a 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) emergency runway and dispersal area were also added.[1]

This allowed the base to house a fighter regiment, which was equipped with air superiority fighter aircraft, requiring the construction, in 1970, of 10 Hardened aircraft shelters (HAS), and in 1972 a second parallel 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) main runway. In the late 1970s additional HAS's were added bringing their numbers to 24, with a nuclear alert bunker built in the early 1980s.[1]

With the reunification of East Germany from 1989/1990, the Soviet Army agreed to return all military bases by the end of 1994. With the assistance of an airlift undertaken by Antonov An-22 aircraft, the airfield was handed back to the Federal Government of Germany in 1992.

CargoLifter[edit]

In 1996, the CargoLifter company was founded in Wiesbaden, who intended to build airships. While the former north main runway was being demolished, CargoLifter began building the then-largest freebearing hall in the world in the centre of the site, where they intended to set up production of airships. The hall (360 m long, 220 m wide and 106 m high), was a freestanding steel-dome "barrel-bowl" construction, large enough to fit the Eiffel Tower on its side. The hangar was also equipped with a 180 m cutting table to manufacture the airship's envelope. Construction of the hall was complete in November 2000, at a cost of €78M.[1]

My Tropical Island[edit]

Tropical Islands Dome - Bird’s-eye view –inside-

CargoLifter managed to construct operational prototypes, but went bankrupt in mid-2002.

In June 2003, receivers sold the hall and 500 hectares of grounds to Malaysian company Tanjong, who converted the hall into a leisure park called My Tropical Islands.[1]

References[edit]

  • Lutz Freundta d Stefan Büttner, Stefan (2007). Rote Plätze - Russische Militärflugplätze in Deutschland 1945 - 1994. AeroLit Verlag. 

External links[edit]