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The flying hangars of Karlshorst

Construction began on the site in 1909  first rotatable airship hangar in the world. It was 135 m long, 25 m high and 25 m wide. Depending on the wind, the hall could be positioned so that incoming and outgoing airships were not damaged by gusts of wind. Because that was exactly the problem with the airships once constructed by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin. Its body was made of aluminum, which bent with every slight collision. In the case of the airships built by the Siemens-Schuckert-Werke, however, a rubber construction was used. In 1911 the first copy went on a trip over the roofs of Karlshorst. But because the operation of the airships was too complicated for members of the military in the long term, the project was discontinued in 1912. From autumn 1917, airplanes were assembled there in the newly built, modern 6 chip concrete halls and soldiers were trained in aerial photography. The project was discontinued at the end of the First World War. The security police continued to operate. In addition, a squadron was set up for the East Border Guard in Karlshorst. The former military pilots now carried out their work in the service of the police with nine aircraft - until flight operations were completely shut down on the basis of the Versailles Treaty. After only four years of flight operations, the halls were then used by commercial tenants. After the Second World War, a large part of Karlshorst became a restricted military area of the Soviet Army and only partially accessible to GDR citizens, including the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) and later the German administration of the KGB. It is not possible to research clearly what happened to the 6 aviation halls between 1945 and the early 1990s, but the neighboring barracks also housed a department of VEB Spezialhochbau, a construction company for military installations. The listed aircraft hangars will soon be converted into apartments in the “Gartenstadt Karlshorst” development area, while the other buildings on the site have already been or will be demolished. The area is not accessible.

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