Grand Priory of Austria: The Annual Flight Day September 2010
Before presenting the actual report we want to sincerely and honestly thank the Flying Club Stockerau (FSV 2000). Not only were they providing the complete airfield infrastructure, waiving all landing fees, providing their planes to the Grand Priory and the CSLI at a much lower price than usual but they even sponsored all the food and drinks free of charge. Normal operations were not possible that day so they also lost other sources of making money just to provide some joy to our handicapped fellow people and others upon whom fate was not always kind. We know that that FSV 2000 does not want to hear this but nevertheless it MUST be said here.
Because of the well-known economy crisis it was more difficult than usual to bring up the financial support for the air day this time and the performance hung by a thread. The breakthrough came when the project group of Sabrina Nentwig decided to choose this air day as their A-level high school project. They had a hard time finding sponsors and had to collect money in small instalments, sums between 10.- and 150.- Euros. Fortunately the BAWAG-PSK and ATTENSAM jumped in with noticeable amounts and so the financing was secured. For our guests all attractions, food, drinks, and the scenic flights were absolutely FREE!
Without sounding too bombastic, it must be allowed to note that in Austria no SIMILAR organization has so far succeeded in organizing such an air day for the handicapped and homeless and the the joint synergy between the Grand Priory of Austria and the Corps San Lazare International have organized already four of these events. If our Austrian Lazarites would have had to pay for everything provided on that day (by buying on the “free” market) the net value would have certainly reached EUR 50.000!
Lengthy and mostly unnoticed preparation works first got noticed when the set-up started the day before the air day. Seating arrangements had to be prepared for about 300 visitors, barriers had to be installed to provide security for them, and the drinks and food for the next day had to be refrigerated. As all this is not something we do every day, several briefing sessions were an important issue: more than 80 volunteers had to be instructed.
Safety of our guests was a big issue. To be able to provide ACTIVE and PASSIVE safety our friends (they are all also Lazarites) from Vienna’s Youth Fire Brigade and Emergency Service, commanded by CSLI Col. Ing. Thomas Hebelka, provided support including an emergency vehicle. Also a small “field hospital”, attended by our board member for medical affairs Dr. med. Gabriel Halat, was standing by to provide quick and professional aid in case of an emergency or accident.
During the air day we had real luck with the weather! Neither too hot nor too cold, hardly any wind and lots of blue sky and sunshine. As the planes occupied the hangar during the night, adapting the hangar for our guests started rather late and was only finished when the first visitors already started picking up their food and drink vouchers at the registration counter. The approx. 300 guests attending our air day were given a varied flying programme and also an entertaining support programme. Of course the main attractions on the air day were the scenic flights. This time we had a fleet of five Cessnas 182 and 172, two helicopters (Jet Ranger B-205 and HUGES HU-30) and, as a special highlight, we could welcome the world’s largest single engine bi-plane, the Antonov AN-2, piloted by its owner Hubert Petutschnig. More then 100 flights took place; every guest with a reservation was able to get his or her flight. Several even got two chances to take off. Managing all these flights was a great job the tower crew Brigitte Pokorny and Hans Habacht did, as about every three minutes a plane or a helicopter departed or landed.
Very popular were the vouchers for the offered helicopter flights with helicopters from the company AERIAL HELICOPTER which were in part rented by the pilots themselves to assist our case. Our special thanks go to Prof. Mag. Dr. Manfred Fischer and Klaus Weber.
But also the very popular short trips with a vintage car (Ford Mustang Coupe, 4728 ccm, V8, 225 HP with manual gear switching, model 1966) from the car museum Koller in Heldenberg, piloted by Günter Eichinger, were part of our programme. The Mayor of Heldenberg, Ing. Peter Steinbach accompanied by two handicapped children, also visited our air day. Tours around the airfield, organized by Jakob Hobiger and Marion Zcak, were much sought after.
Undisputed highlight of the program was the appearance of the world champion in stage magic, MAGIC CHRISTIAN, accompanied by the vice world champion, “Magician” Hardy Werner. In a short time they both fascinated and at the same time included the audience in their wonderful and impressive show.
MAGIC CHRISTIAN, who upon our request also acted as honourable protector of the 4th Annual Air Day, as well as Hardy Werner, performed free of charge and so provided their very own contribution to the success of our day. For this a cordial Thank You!
To prevent the Antonov flying empty from its home airfield at Wr. Neustadt to Stockerau and back again, Mr. Petutschnig had the wonderful idea of taking our guests from the children’s infirmary in Neunkirchen already with him from Wr. Neustadt. An idea which was greeted with enthusiasm as it provided a 40 minute flight via Mödling, Baden, Vienna, the Hermannskogel and Tulln to Stockerau airfield where they were welcomed by the team.
This time we had a lot of guests with different backgrounds. Besides many individual registrations we welcomed guests from the following institutions:
Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehbehinderten, Haus der Barmherzigkeit (HABIT), SOS Kinderdorf Hinterbrühl, Obdachlosenschlafstelle VINZI RAST-CORTI HAUS, Familienbund Wien-Streetworker, Kinderambulatorium Neunkirchen, Special Homes Stockerau and Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund-Behindertensprecher.
There were also numerous press representatives and most pictures were provided to us by the well-known photographer Conny de Bauclair.
One thing shall be addressed here: despite all the different handicaps, sorrows, needs, backgrounds, and possibilities of participants, harmony and mutual understanding were to be felt all over the place.
Also many thanks here to our catering team, led by Georg (Schorschi) Pohl. They took care that there was plenty of food and drinks (actually way too much) which could be provided to our guests. 270 servings lunch, 60 litres goulash soup, 600 bread rolls, 600 energy drinks from Power Foods, 450 pieces of cake, 40 litres coffee, 60 litres Coke, 40 litres Fanta, 40 litres Almdudler, 60 litres sparkling water, 30 litres apple juice and 20 litres orange juice were issued FREE to our guests. Here also many thanks to our sponsors.
Every sponsor also received an official decree recognizing their donation.