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Airport in Miniature



The biggest challenge was off and landing: The City of Hamburg Knuffingen “Miniature Wonderland” now has an airport. Six years of work and a lot of research put in it – the result is an incredibly-detailed small work of art. The baggage is loaded, the plane refueled, the food on board. The flight to Miami is about to take off on the runway. Passengers and pilot are just waiting to take off. When the tower granted it, the pilot can rev up the engines and at full throttle. At first slowly, then faster, the Airbus rolls over the rail, until he finally lifts off and disappears into the gray clouds. A start like a picture book. But the plane will never fly in Miami.

Because of the airport from which it is launched, is located in a red brick building in Hamburg’s warehouse district. He belongs to the “Miniature Wonderland” and is the newest attraction in the model plant. For six years, has Gerrit Braun, founder of Wonderland, worked with his team. Several times, the 43-year-old was about to abandon the project. “Some problems just seemed unsolvable.”
The greatest difficulty was the airplanes take off and land at all to leave. Because the conventional technique with a sloping ramp he had already rejected in the initial phase of the project: they did not satisfy his requirements. “With the ramp of a landing aircraft always with the nose down,” Brown says, shaking his head. “This is totally unrealistic. A plane always lands with the nose up. Unless it just crashes.”

He has many days and almost as many nights just thinking about the problem. Then he found a solution with which he could realize the great dream of flying in scale 1:87. Now take off and land on “Knuffingen Airport” as the miniature airport means that every day up to 360 machines.

Research at Hamburg airport

Brown, baggy jeans, hooded sweatshirt, is a perfectionist. He wants to portray the reality in Wonderland, as realistic as possible. But he does work weeks of 70 hours or more in sales. During the first phase, he has driven every day up to four times the real airport to Fuhlsb├╝ttel – only because he wanted to see, when there are flashing light which strips on the apron.

Brown has come up with the angle of approach to explain the different types of aircraft, the duration of the refueling times and the precise docking mechanism of the “finger”, through which the passengers get off and off. And if a blue-light sequence at its mini-police cars are not on the real airport with the mismatched prepared him sleepless nights.

Now the airport is a sort of anniversary of the Hamburg plant modeller has become: since ten years you can look in the warehouse district of Hamburg’s world in miniature. It all started with a crazy idea of ??Braun’s twin brother, Frederik. “Let us build the largest model railway in the world,” he said to his brother. The declared him insane – and was convinced then that.

Largest model railway in the world

A small town called Knuffingen 2001 was the nucleus of the plant. Meanwhile, the brothers long records of all global modeling community have cracked. 930 trains rumble through their landscapes (the longest is 15 meters) with more than 11,000 cars. There are ships that glide through water and real trains going over several floors. Conducted this is choreography of 46 computers.

Even the spectacle in the sky is software controlled. The programs it has brown, business computer science has studied, wrote. Because only six computers and 40 satellites are needed to aircraft and vehicles using infrared technology to steer accident on the airport grounds.

The technical heart of the system is sophisticated but Gerrit Braun landing mechanism. When driving at the end of the 14-meter-long runway two bars from the floor and lift the aircraft into the air, calling the audience “Aah” and “powerful”, some even clapping.

If the machine only once gone through the wall, goes on behind the scenes, the technical spectacle: With one lift, the aircraft moves to a level below the airport and rolls there on the other side of the runway – where a couple of minutes later for landing by pushes the clouds. Of course, with his nose. And of course, not every aircraft will land at the same point, also the moment of lift-off is every other type of aircraft. “The A380 needs so in reality more than a Tupolev-off speed,” says Brown. He has programmed the system so that it knows which plane is standing on the runway – and respond.

15 000 characters at the airport

Braun’s attention to detail does not end at the runway. Together with 82 employees, he has built on the 150-square-foot airport area 75 buildings, 5,000 cars and 15,000 characters. Everything by hand, into 150,000 hours worked. Alone in P4, the largest of the four parking garages, light 11 000 LED lights. To flit across the apron while 60 vehicles, including Enteisungsmaschinen, vans, passenger buses, garbage trucks and emergency vehicles of course, the firefighters, who regularly turn out, if an aircraft had to make an emergency landing.

Also, the terminals, although for the most part not visible to visitors, based on the original hair accurately and with people assembled. “Today is so much designed for efficiency in life that people just appreciate these details,” says Brown. To recognize all, but one would have to spend several days in Wonderland. And even then not everyone will notice that the aircraft of Lufthansa before starting a catering vehicle of the “Sky Chefs” docks at the Air Berlin machine but one of “Gate Gourmet” and none at all on some aircraft – as in reality, where some airlines offer not just on-board menu. Brown has researched it all.

Also on the next project is already working: Behind large glass panes at modellers potter theme world of “Italy”. In two years they will be ready. “And then we build Spain. And then France and then England,” says Brown. He smiles happily. “And from England, it then goes over to Africa.” He means it seriously. Who has conquered the sky only once, knows no boundaries.

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