The Scandinavian section of the IFFR has invited to Linköping this year. Linköping is located about 200 km southwest of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. It is a small town with a famous history. The town is home to one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Europe: SAAB. The company SAAB produces aircrafts for general aviation, but above all aircrafts for military use (Grippen). The program of the Scandinavia section seemed to be very attractive and exciting.
That’s why a group of IFFR members from Switzerland registered and departed the Monday before the begin of the meeting in Zurich.
11 people with 2 airplanes made their way to Linköping. We flew with a Cessna 400 with 2 persons on board and the Pilatus PC12 with 9 POB first to northern Germany to the Baltic Sea to the island of Usedom. Here we enjoyed the beautiful landscape with cycling, swimming, walking and above all the fine food at the common dinner.
On Thursday the journey continued to Linköping. We landed at the company-owned airfield of SAAB with a special permit. After the landing we were warmly welcomed by our Scandinavian friends.
With the bus we drove then to the hotel. In the evening we were invited to the town hall and greeted personally by the Mayor in the meeting room of the parliament. Later we met for dinner in Linköping.
The visit of SAAB on Friday was a highlight of this fly-in. You probably think, that SAAB is the producer of cars. In fact, SAAB is an abbreviation for “Swedish Airplanes Ltd”. They once started as an airplane factory and later on became a producer of family cars and commercial trucks and buses. Later on, the Ford Motor Company took over the car business – and we all know what happened. The visit to SAAB was very impressive.
In the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit the Open Air Museum in Linköping. This was attended by many participants.
Dinner was then served on a ship. This ship had to go through 7 locks to Lake Roxen and managed 18.8 meters from the Göta canal to the lake.
On the ship there was not only shrimp eating, but a lot of singing and dancing. I was really surprised by the exuberance of our IFFR friends.
The next day on Saturday, we visited the beautiful small village Vadstena on Lake Vättern. Situated on the shore of Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden and by far the deepest, it was a natural stop-over in the 11th century for pilgrims on the route to Trondheim in Norway. In the 13th century the village was the birth place of Jarl Birger, who became the nation’s first “prime-minister”. His great-great-great-granddaughter Birgitta founded a monastery and built a church herself, completely outsized for that small village, and later became Sweden’s only Saint, canonized by the Pope in Rome, despite Sweden being part of the Protestant Christianity. Being such a small place, but of such importance, no wonder that the King of Sweden decided in the 16th century that he needed to build a thoroughly fortified castle to protect the land from the evil Danes.
After lunch we went back to Linköping to the world famous Air Force Museum at Malmen Airfield. This museum is one of the most beautiful and impressive I have ever seen (www.flygvapenmuseum.se). In the middle of the beautiful old airplanes the traditional gala dinner took place. I was especially pleased with a lot of conversations among each other and the wonderful friendship within the IFFR family.
On Sunday it was time to say goodbye. The Swiss delegatin won’t forget this wonderful weekend. The Fly-In was really great, perfectly organized by Inga-Lill and Roland Johnsson and their team with Lydia Banderby, Bo Johnsson and Rolf Mikkelsen. I would like to thank you very much for organizing this wonderful weekend in Sweden.