Once the pride of the German nation, serving three Federal Chancellors, this Airbus A310 is now on its way to become “The Vomit Bomber”, as it has popularly been nicknamed by the German press.
Decommissioned from German Air Force service in April 2011 in exchange for a large, four-engine A340 model, the former “Konrad Adenauer” (serial 10+21) will get a new task: to throw would-be astronauts into near zero gravity during so-called parabolic flights.
The aircraft – a former Interflug airliner – will not only hop jobs, but also change its view from its breakfast table. Earlier the plane left the 1. Luftwaffendivision (1 Air Force Wing) at Köln/Bonn for retrofitting in Hamburg. However, its new home will be Bordeaux in France. The ex-Luftwaffe lady will be operating for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Centre for Air and Space Travel (DZLR).
During parabolic flights the aircraft will climb at an angle of 45 degrees, after which thrust will be reduced and the nose will slowly be pitched down all the way to a 30 degrees dive angle before leveling off. During this manoeuver the lucky (?) passengers will experience about 22 seconds of almost weightlessness. Repeating the procedure several times during flight will help train future space travellers or will aid film directors if they ever get access to this A310 for their ‘extra-terrestrial’ movie shots.
Fearing not all future passengers or actors have a strong stomach, we at Airheadsfly.com feel just a bit of pity for the cleaning lady or guy that has to go into the plane after landing.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger