Being alive in the current decade is a preciousness when it comes to technology. We make daily use of telephones, radio communication, internet, engines in cars, boats or in airplanes, but rarely we think about what actual masterpieces of engineering and design are made available to us to ease our lives substantially.
Talking to a friend overseas, thousands of miles away, or downloading a book in an airplane, flying 33000 feet above the ground may be one good reason to use them, but did you ever think about a fly-in restaurant on a small grass airfield where you can fly to and order your food via radio, so that it is ready when you arrive on your reserved table?
To be honest, I did not expect you to do so, however this is exactly what my buddy Gilles and I explored in July 2019 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.
A week earlier, Gilles and I discussed a bit what flying adventures were to come up next until we decided to go to Idar-Oberstein to try the fly-inn restaurant. Eventually, we looked for a day that fits and booked a plane.
Having found our destination, we created a route, filed a flightplan, calculated the needed fuel and the mass and balance for our Piper PA-28. The next day we were ready for our little journey.
The airplane is packed, fueled up and we were ready to go. Active in Luxembourg was runway 06.
After an uneventful flight over the German Mosel river and Saarland, we were close to the airport and called Idar-Oberstein Info, on 128.360MHz.
Knowing that EDRG has a grass runway, it was pretty tough though for us to find the runway. A 10 knot crosswind did not make the approach and landing any easier.
After a bumpy approach we taxied to the parking area where we came to stop right next to a beautiful Robin R3000.
The tower on the right, with the restaurant and its terrace right below it. You are very close to the action while enjoying your meal or a coffee!
Our PA-28 LX-AIF after our leg from Luxembourg, resting next to a beautiful Bell 206 Jet Ranger.
A few minutes after we arrived, both helicopters started-up and departed to the east. The EC-135 crew departed just in front of me and yawed the Eurocopter around a bit so that I could get some shots from every angle. Thanks guys!
Time to get in! We were warmly welcomed in the aviation-styled restaurant and were guided to our table. Our drinks came little later aswell as some bread and nibbles.
You can choose between different menues called Foxtrott, Lima, Hotel, Romeo, Sierra or Romeo Hotel. Each Menu is listed online so before you take-off, check on their website which menu you would like to have, so that you can order it in flight.
My lunch was absolutely great, grilled just right and tasted perfectly.
While I was enjoying my food, I was wondering why in the world the friendly guy sitting in front of the grill has a handheld radio with a few meter long antenna extension lying right next to him... Until I heard the next incoming aircraft on this radio and saw him replying - This guy is ATC controller and cook at the same time! My mind was absolutely blown... At least it makes a bit more sense to me right now how my food order comes from the tower finally onto my plate so quick and accurate.
As if it wasn't enough, he is also responsible for the calculation of the landing fees. Amazing.
Before we left, we saw this sneak PA-28-161 Warrior III taking off.
A last glimpse around the area after our preflight check and we continued our journey to Saarbrücken airport.
What a nice experience, not even 25 minutes flight time away from my home airport. Even close locations rarely fail to impress me. Simply amazing!