TAKE OFF Fallschirmsport was founded in 1992 as a sole proprietorship and consisted of 1 full-time teacher (the owner), 1-2 freelancers, approx. 5 parachutes, a caravan and, in the absence of an existing telephone line -a 3kg heavy “mobile” C network telephone – and so it began.
The airfield consisted, at that time, of a narrow short runway made of concrete slabs, and two construction trailers – the left one served as flight school and the tower – the right one as the skydiving school. Jumps took place true to the original style from an old AN2 – the world’s largest double decker, with a huge 9-cylinder star motor, 1,000 HP and 30 liters’ cylinder capacity. We needed a good half an hour to reach 2,500 meters and would make a racket that could be felt as far as the nearest border. We achieved a total of 713 jumps in the first year. Today, this is often the number for a single week.
Expansion of infrastructure and an increase in the number of jumps
The next important step was the charter of a Pilatus Porter, a modern turboprop engine for up to 10 skydivers. Now we could finally reach in the world-wide sports jumping height of 4,000 meters 18 minutes. In addition, on the airfield, a container system for school offices, a tower, gastronomy and, instead of a green plastic unit on the roadside, now proper toilets and showers were built – a previously unknown luxury. The jump figures also rose promptly from 713 in the first year to 6,200 in the second and 9,300 in the third.
The founding of TAKE OFF Fallschirmsport GmbH in 1995
In the winter of 94/95, the owner Ralf Heine and the three previous employees Maggy Nagel, Jürgen Mühling and Uwe Reichert joined together to form TAKE OFF Fallschirmsport GmbH (Inc). At the same time the manufacturing company rainbow Design, specializing in the skydiving sports sector, was acquired at the beginning of 1995 by the incorporated company and relocated from West Germany to another container plant at the Fehrbellin airfield.
Approval as a “Fallschirmtechnischer Betrieb” (FTB)
After the approval as a skydiving operation at the beginning of 1996, two skydiving technicians / inspectors class 5 were hired and trained.
From 1992 to the end of 1998, aircraft of other owners were chartered to carry out jumping operations. At the beginning of 1999, the company finally invested in its own modern turbo-prop aircraft for 18 passengers (Cessna Grand Caravan C 208B / 1.2 million EUR / license plate D-FUMP). The small airline Air Lift GmbH was acquired in this context for the operation of the aircraft.
We’re bursting at the seams
The container house was then only intended as a temporary solution. But as is so often the case with makeshift solutions, TAKE OFF continued to grow, and the number of guests on the airfield also steadily increased. The rainbow design manufacturing company also ran well and already moved to the Fehrbellin business area so that things would run more smoothly. Slowly, the veritable hut threatened to collapse in on our heads in the truest sense. Certainly there was blame enough to be shard for this. The increasingly less discreet evidence from the building authorities also made it clear: it was really time for a new building!