By Mark Evans
Russian Aircraft Relics of Germany
Up until 1990 Germany was split into two nations. The capitalist west and the communist east. Sanctions placed upon the Soviet Union and satellite nations by the West, prevented East Germany from purchasing western aircraft. This meant that Russian aircraft were predominantly operated during the communist reign.
Interflug was the national airline of East Germany, officially known as the German Democratic Republic. It was founded in 1955 as Deutsche Lufthansa and soon started flights to most European socialist capitals. In 1963 Deutsche Lufthansa was absorbed into Interflug and by the end was operating a large airliner fleet consisting of Ilyushin 18s, Ilyushin 62s, and Tupolev 134s. They also operated various other aircraft for agricultural, industrial and survey work as well as a flying school.
The East German airline had to endure significant problems during the 1970s and 80s. An energy crisis and rising fuel prices caused the airline to cease its domestic network, with the last domestic route flown in 1980. Its ageing fleet of Russian aircraft became expensive to operate. They used a lot more fuel than western jets and their engines didn’t meet new noise regulations in the west. This saw them paying increased landing fees or being banned from certain airports.
Once commercial airliners were made exempt from the trade embargo in 1988, Interflug quickly ordered three Airbus 310s with the first delivered in 1989. The western jets offered increased range over the IL62s allowing for direct flights to Cuba.
Unfortunately, the Berlin-based carrier didn’t have a chance to replace the other Russian aircraft. The German Democratic Republic was dissolved in October 1990 and became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. An agency was established to reprivatize East German enterprises. No investors could be found and the liquidation of Interflug was announced in February 1991, with the last flight in April.
Five of the IL18s were granted a second lease of life after a group of former Inteflug employees formed a Cargo airline called Berline. It was based out of Interflug’s former hub at Schonefeld Airport in Berlin but ceased operations in 1994.
The Airbus 310s were transferred to the German Air Force operating VIP flights for high-ranking German officials.
Several of the aircraft were preserved and remain at various airports and museums throughout the country.
DM-STA IL18 Deutsche Lufthansa colours – Preserved at Leipzig Airport.
DDR-STB IL18 Interflug colours – Preserved in Leipzig City Centre. Located on top of a building along Karl-Heine Strasse.
DDR-STE IL18 Interflug colours – Preserved at Borkheide Hans Grade Museum.
DDR-STG IL18 Interflug colours – Preserved at Erfurt Airport.
DDR-STH IL18 Interflug colours – Preserved Flugausstellung L & P
Junior Museum, Hermeskiel.
DM-SEC IL62 Interflug colours – Preserved at Luftfahrt Und Technik Museumspark,Merseburg Airport. Unfortunately, the museum has closed and the aircraft are for sale, so this aircraft is unlikely to stay there for long. Tupolev 134 DDR-SCZ was also there but appears to have been sold already. Currently unknown if it has a new location.
DDR-SEF IL62 Interflug colors – Preserved at Leipzig City Centre as Restaurant Regenbogen.
DDR-SEG IL62 Interflug colors – Preserved at Stolln / Rhinow airport.
DDR-SCB T134 Interflug colors – Preserved at Magdeburg Airport.
DDR-SCH T134 Interflug colors – Preserved at Finowfurt Aviation Museum.
DDR-SCK T134 Interflug colours – Preserved at Flugausstellung L & P Junior Museum, Hermeskiel.
DDR-SCL T134 Hydro Systems colors – Preserved at Hydro Systems, Biberach.
Germany has a rich heritage of preserving the history of aviation and many more aircraft can be found at various museums around the country. Several more Russian aircraft have been conserved at the following locations.
Auto Und Technik Museum, Sinsheim.
A fantastic museum with many Aircraft Exhibits as well as other transports. They have spectacularly preserved a Tupolev 144 on top of their roof alongside a Concorde.
Russian Aircraft include:
CCCP-77112 Tupolev 144 Aeroflot colors.
HA-LBH Tupolev 134 MALEV colors.
OK-PAI Ilyushin 18 CSA colors.
0833 Ilyushin 14 Bulgarian Air Transport titles, but operated for the Polish Air Force.
Another large Museum with many Aircraft exhibits. Their main exhibit is the former Lufthansa B747-200 D-ABYM. Russian Aircraft include:
UR-64460 AN22 Antonov Design Bureau.
52+04 AN26 German Air Force.
Flugausstellung L & P Junior Museum, Hermeskiel.
In addition to the two Interflug aircraft mentioned above the museum has many other exhibits. Russian aircraft include:
HA-ANA AN2 Hungarian Air Force.
52+08 AN26 German Air Force – Preserved Flugausstellung L & P Junior Museum, Hermeskiel.
3076 IL14 Polish Air Force.
The museum also has many interesting western types. Particularly a Vickers VC-10, G-ARVF painted in full United Arab Emirates Government colors.
CCCP-65745 T134 basic Aeroflot colors, missing its tail – Preserved at Flugplatz Museum Cottbus.
RA-65117 T134 www.kunz.aero titles – Operated as an aircraft recovery systems testbed at Hahn Am See.
HA-LCB T154 Flughafen Stuttgart titles – Preserved at Stuttgart airport and used as a fire trainer.