The Aviation Museum at Altenburg Nobitz, Germany

Above: The famous MIG-21 in Soviet Air Force colors. The type was widely operated by many former Eastern Block Air Forces, including East Germany's NVA Luftwaffe.The famous MIG-21 in Soviet Air Force colors. The type was widely operated by many former Eastern Block Air Forces, including East Germany's NVA Luftwaffe. Photo: Marc Schultz

Eastern and Western Aviation Heritage at Flugwelt Altenburg Nobitz

The history of Altenburg Airfield in Germany, now named Leipzig-Altenburg Airport, is long and rich in tradition. As early as 1913, the year of its foundation, the airfield was home to a flying school. After the Nazi takeover in 1933 and on Hermann Göring's direct orders, an air base command was established in 1936 and the expansion as a military airfield began. Nevertheless the airfield was only briefly occupied by active flying units, operating a number of german aircraft types like the twin-engined Dornier Do 17 and the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Finally, Junkers Ju 88 night fighters of Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (Night Fighter Wing 5) took off from Altenburg from February to April 1945. At the end of the war, the 6th U.S. Armored Division under General Robert W. Grow occupied the town of Altenburg which marked the end of Luftwaffe activities at the air base.

Breguet Atlantique anti-submarine patrol aircraft. This particular aircraft had been operational with the Marinefliegergeschwader 3 "Graf Zeppelin" at Nordholz in Northern Germany.
More than 300 Italian designed Fiat G-91 "Gina" had been an essential part of West-Germany's Bundesluftwaffe inventory during the 1960s and 1970s. The type was phased out in 1982. 

From July 1945 to 1992 the Soviet Air Force occupied the base and operated aircraft types like MIG-15, MIG-17, MIG-21, MIG-23 and MIG-27. From 1989, the 968th Fighter regiment, equipped with MiG-29s occupied the airfield as the last operational unit. Until May 1992, the Altenburg-Nobitz airfield was used by the Western Group of Troops. The last flight of a MiG-29 took place on April 8 of that year. Last material transfer flights to Russia were carried out by Il-76s in the same month and on June 15, the airfield was finally handed over to the German authorities.

East German MI-2 Police Helicopter in "Volkspolizei" service. 
The Sukhoi SU-22 was active in almost all air forces of the former Eastern Block. After Germany's reunification in 1989, the type was part of the inventory of the Bundesluftwaffe for a short period of time. It was consequently phased out of service due to high operational costs.

Founded in 2004 the airfield today hosts an aviation museum which is highly recommended for a visit - the Flugwelt Altenburg Nobitz. In addition to the historical development of the airfield, numerous exhibits are on display. Among these aircraft are both eastern and western types such as MiG-21 SPS, Fiat G-91, North American F-86 Sabre, Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter, Suchoi SU-22 and a C-160 Transall tactical transport aircraft. Highlight of the exhibition is definitely a Breguet BR1150 "Atlantique". This aircraft was decommissioned in December 2006 at the Naval Air Wing 3 in Nordholz and was flown over to the Flugwelt Altenburg Nobitz e.V. in April 2007. So the Antlantique’s final mission led it to Altenburg-Nobitz airport. For more information about the exhibition visit the museum’s official website under

This shot presents two truly iconic aircraft that had been in service with the West-German Bundesluftwaffe: The Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter in the foreground and the multinational C-160 Transall transport aircraft in the background. The Transall is now being replaced by the more modern AIRBUS A400M.

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Marc Schultz

Marc is based in Wuppertal in the western part of Germany and works as a specialist for business information in Cologne. As a former private pilot Marc has flown light-aircraft for more than 30 years. So it It is quite obvious that he still has a strong interest in things with wings and is frequent visitor to European aviation museums. After retiring from active flying Marc concentrated on photography and had been accepted as a member of the International Society for Aviation Photography - ISAP. He is a regular contributor to aviation magazines and calender-productions. His work is presented on