Flugplatz Altenburg-Nobitz


‘Flugplatz Altenburg-Nobitz’ is today known as ‘Leipzig-Altenburg Airport‘. Before it was a civil airport, and it was used by the Wehrmacht and the Soviet Army. Some military buildings are still there today.

The Altenburg airfield first appeared in records in 1868 as the military parade ground ‘Storchsecke’. In 1909, a Parseval airship made the first landing here, and two years later, they showcased the first single and double-deckers at an airshow.

One year before the First World War, they inaugurated the Nobitz air base. During wartime, they assembled fighter pilots of the types Albatros, Fokker, DFW, and Rumpler in the hangars and trained student pilots. After the war, they dismantled the airfield and the remaining aircraft. In 1933, they began preparations to build a new airbase, which they opened a year later. In 1936, they expanded the site as ‘Fliegerhorst Leinawald’ with the code name ‘Alpendohle’. After the beginning of the Second World War, they trained fighter pilots again. From 1942, they converted Focke Wulf FW-190 fighter aircraft into two-seaters for training purposes.

Red Army

In April 1945, the 6th US Armored Division occupied the city of Altenburg. Later, the city and airfield were taken over by the Red Army. Five of the seven hangars were dismantled and taken to Russia. Builders constructed bunkers, barracks, hangars, and air defense positions. Initially, Yak-9 fighters stationed here, but from 1952, jet fighters also stationed. They extended the runway to 1,800 meters. Between 1954 and 1989, they gradually updated the planes to include the Mig-15, 17, 21, 23, and finally, the Mig-29. The Soviet radio call sign for the airfield was PRORAN or ПРОРАН. The Soviet Armed Forces stayed at Altenburg-Nobitz until 1992.

In the desert of Nevada, close to Area 51, they reconstructed the Soviet airfield to use it as a training target in the United States of America. According to old satellite images, they built the facility between 1974 and 1976.

Civilian use

After the Cold War ended, the airfield was handed over to German authorities. Eventually, the conversion to civilian use took place. A new tower and handling facilities were built so that Air Malta’s first charter passenger aircraft could take off in 1996. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Ryanair was the first airline to establish scheduled flights from here, including flights to Barcelona and London. The airfield was renamed ‘Leipzig-Altenburg Airport‘. Since the booking numbers did not develop as desired, Ryanair switched to Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport in 2011. The conversion to an airfield for sports and historical airplanes took place in 2012. Also, you can visit the museum of Flugwelt Altenburg-Nobitz. The exhibition has two large open spaces with many military aircraft. I visited Flugplatz Altenburg-Nobitz in 2020.

Follow this link for more glimpses into the world of abandoned military sites, each bearing its own tale of silent echoes of the past.

Built 1909
Abandoned 1992
Partly reconverted
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