Leonard Niemann

Welcome to this very special report about the #cranespotting event organized by Lufthansa, Airbus and Munich Airport. We were invited as Social Media Experts and Influencers that spread the name and online awareness of the companies as well as strengthen their relations with each other. It was a professional working environment and not a vacation for us, even though we enjoyed the trip very much and were glad to be part of it!

Meet Up

The whole event was divided into two parts. The first part took place only at Munich Airport, while the second included the flight to Toulouse. Therefore there were more people invited to the first part and only 7 of us had the priviledge to continue to Toulouse in the afternoon. In the morning I was a bit sleepy but when I heared that some guys from Frankfurt who had to wake up at 0300 , I already felt a little bit better. After everybody showed up at our spot we headed over to the press room of Munich airport where we could drop off our baggage and refresh a little.

Getting the party started

To kick off the day we got the rare opportunity to get up into the ATC Tower of the airport where also the German Weather Service is located. The first experience was the elevator itself - Amazing old but trusty piece of German engineering... When we got to the daylight again the view and perspective blew us away! It was simply amazing to finally be, where you looked at so many times below. According to that the 30 minutes we got to take photos passed by way too fast.
View from Munich ATC Tower. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. LH A321 starting from Munich ATC Tower. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.

Airport tour

Next up we all got into a bus and after passing security drove to the airport firefighters that showed us what their vehicles can do and told us a bit about their daily routine. After that we continued over the apron to the southern runway and stopped on the apron in front of the Lufthansa technic hall, where we could take many photos. Fortunately an A350 (old livery :/) as well as an A330 was parked there and so everybody got to make the shots they always wanted. Thanks to the heat of the noon everybody hurried a little with taking photos so we could get back into the bus with air conditioning.
Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.

Preparing for the journey

After finishing the special apron trip we headed back to the terminal and went to a burger place called "Hans im Glück", which is pretty popular in Munich and had a very good meal all together. After that most of us unfortunately had to leave us because they were not flying to Toulouse. As a little compensation they at least got to see the newest Lufthansa Lounge at MUC. Our group headed over to the press room again to Group photo. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. pick up the luggage and receive a sweet little giftbag from Munich Airport and Lufthansa! Our excitement grew with every minute passed when we headed over to the check-in area for our flight. But first: Group photo! The group I flew to Toulouse with and got to know and appreciate consisted of:
Sinan @shortfinal_muc
Sebastian @muc.aviation
Kathy @_kathysaviation
Phil @wilco737
Manu @manu.at
and me Leo @munichaviation

Now the time had come. As we prepared for boarding we got the huge suprise. Not only are we going to visit the Airbus A350 Final Assembly Line, but also attend the acceptance flight for the latest A350 D-AIXK (test reg: F-WZNN). That was such a massive suprise they have hidden to us until then, because they were not sure if things would work out. Luckily they did. We were really blown away by what to expect and by this once in a lifetime opportunity. Finally boarding started after some delay. To make things even better me and my friend Sinan got reseated in Business Class after boarding for trimming reasons. And I always appreciate some extra legroom.

Toulouse here we come!

The flight to Toulouse started very smooth. Drinks were served with typcial Lufthansa friendliness and soon we got soem food as well. Even though sitting is Business we got our normal Economy sandwich, which was really tasty. When approaching Toulouse we were informed that we might have to stay in the air a bit longer because of thunderstorms over the airport. As we are all aviation geeks that was not a problem at all, but we still feared a possible diversion, because we did not want to miss our appointment with the guys from Airbus in the evening! But in the end we did not have to stay up in the air much longer than planned and soon started our approach with a successful landing. Afterwards we grabbed our bags and our shuttle drove us to the hotel. We were a bit late so we only had 30 minutes to check out our room, unload the bags, take a shower and prepare to go out again. It was stressful, but everybody managed it.
On time we got into our shuttle and drove to the downtown where we were dropped off and had a little walk through the city before we met in the restaurant. The evening was full of deep talks on 3 different languages and networking. Many people we met said our group was very harmonic and I can only repeat and underline that. The atmosphere was calm and still vivid - very amazing. The evening was magnificent but since we were all very tired and the next day would bring something very special. So after finishing my glass of wine and the tuna steak we drove to the hotel with an exciting smile on our face!
Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.
Wing shot at FL430. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.

Acceptance flight

When I woke up I was as excited as I have only been for Christmas as a child! After a small breakfast at the hotel we drove to the Airbus Delivery Center and waited for the crew to prepare the flight and give us detailed information. After a couple of minutes we were invited into the conference room and were handed out a sheet with our plans for today. On the list were things like "Full Power Takeoff TO/GA", "Flight Control Check / G-Load", "Depressurization", "MMO (Maximum speed)", "Simulated Go-Around" and shutting down the entire hydraulic system. These things sound great, but are even better to experience first-hand! After a quick safety briefing about Do's and Don'ts we got out to the aircraft where everybody took a picture of themselves (including me). After boarding we got a seat in business class and rolled to takeoff. And no we did NOT have business class service or something... This was only because the crew likes everyone to be in their sight during critical flight phases!
A few minutes after the very impressive TOGA takeoff (Even though we simulated a loaded flight with fuel) the crew started with their bank-angle 67 degree to the right and left and continued with the positive and of course 0.5 G test. Most unfortunately we had to be seated and there were thick clouds out there, so you could see nothing. Without visible references I soon felt a bit dizzy, but the fun was too big to feel bad. Even though I can not offer and cool pictures from this test let me tell you something: 0.5G (that means getting close to weightlessness) is so incredibly amazing! I can't even desribe the joy you get from this - But just sitting there and suddenly feeling your legs lift from the ground without you doing ANYTHING is extremly creepy but so much fun as well!
After breaking throug the clouds we all got the permission to get up and move through the cabin freely to take shots. If you want to read more about the exact interior etc. you may check out my visit to the Lufthansa A350 Roll-In event. The cabin is very bright and you can really feel the modern air conditioning, because you feel almost no changes from being on the ground. The different checks were fascinating to experience but hard to tell in photos unfortunately. At least being at 34.000 feet (=13,1 km) offered quite a view. Apart from taking picture we all had interesting conversations with each other and enjoyed our three hours we had up in the air with this awesome plane. I'd like to show you some pictures instead of writing so much.
Me and Phil talking a bit. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. Cockpit shot. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.
Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. Lufthansa plane on the apron. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.
Me standing in front of the plane. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. FR24 screenshot. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.

A350 Final Assembly Line

After the flight that was over way too fast we went to the Airbus cantine with the whole crew and ate a bite or two while getting to know each other. We talked about our experience, highlights of the flight but also how we handle social media and how it works. (Believe it or not: The test pilots were not too keen on social media). Soon after we all looked forward to see the Final Assembly Line (FAL) of the A350 as we headed out to our shuttle bus. When entering the building of the FAL we were greeted not only by our guide but also by a giant A350 model. Of course we all took a selfie with it but then continued into the actuall FAL hall. The logistics behind such a massive plane like the A350 are immense. The wings, fuselage in 3 parts, engines, ...all come together in that hall to build a modern airplane. With the permission of Airbus we were allowed to take photos from everything, but no tails or numbers were allowed to be visible. It is extremly interesting to witness such a complex process and see all the highly demanding tasks it takes to build an aircraft.
FAL in TLS. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. FAL in TLS. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.

Heading back home

After we checked out the whole hall we had to drive back to the airport in ordner to catch our flight back to Munich or Frankfurt. But before our group split up we had a little debriefing, with the conclusion that this journey was a great success. We were praised by multiple employees for our good behaviour. The social impact is to be analysed. Soon our flight were ready for boarding and after some weather delay we were up in the air again. The flight went smooth and I talked a lot with the cabin crew in the galley. When we touched Bavarian ground again I was ready for a long sleep in my bed and that's what I did....

Any questions left?
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WIngview out of TLS. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings. Group photo. Can not display picture. Please check connection/settings.
I want to thank Lufthansa, Airbus and Munich airport, for enabling me to attend such an amazing experience.
This journey was a great success in every aspect in my eyes
Thanks so much!