008 – Journey to Notodden – Part 1

In September 2017, I spent a long weekend in Notodden, Norway to attend the Telemark Air Show, and for me to complete a magazine assignment for Warbird Digest. It was a very fast, action-packed weekend, complete with some terrific airplanes, gorgeous weather, and more than a couple of surprises along the way. Most important, however, I forged some friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and some memories that I KNOW will! So here is the story.

My fascinating journey to Notodden started in July 2017. I’d met Thore Thoresen at the N.A.T.A. (North American Trainer Association) formation flying clinic for T-28s at Sheboygan WI, just prior to Oshkosh. Thore flies warbirds for the Norwegian Flying Aces, which had just taken delivery of its T-28B the month before. Thore was anxious to learn as much as he could from the folks who had been flying them for years, and, of course, to network. I introduced myself as an aviation photojournalist and showed him some of my photos and articles and before I knew it, he had invited me to attend the Telemark Air Show at Notodden, Norway (ENNO) to take photos and write about the T-28, a combat veteran. I had a conversation with Tim Savage of Warbird Digest, who agreed that it would make an interesting article and less than six weeks later, I was off to Norway.

In the way of background, the T-28 is owned and maintained by The Norwegian Flying Aces. This organization was founded by Runar Vassbotten and Frode Granlund, both of whom are both keen and experienced pilots. In addition, Runar is a long-time aircraft maintenance technician. They are co-founders of Pilot Flight Academy, a successful commercial flight school based in Norway with students from many nations. They both also have a deep interest in historic aircraft and began fulfilling that passion by acquiring a Boeing Stearman. This was followed shortly after by a T-6G Texan. Both aircraft are in pristine condition. The aircraft are based at Notodden Airport, some 115km southwest of Oslo. In 2017, the Norwegian Flying Aces identified the T-28 as a desirable addition, and a group of pilots interested in getting flight time in a Trojan was assembled. After looking at more than a dozen different aircraft, they found T-28B, aircraft 352, in Canada.

I arrived in Oslo on Thursday, August 31, and set out the next day to Notodden. It was about a 3-hour trek by train and bus through some beautiful Norwegian countryside. I was met at Notodden by Thore and Runar, who whisked us away to the home base of the Norwegian Flying Aces at Notodden Airport. I’m glad I arrived when I did because I got there just in time to see UC-64A, LN-TSN, MSN 4470515. It is owned by Norsk Luftfartssenter Bodø AS, and was at Notodden for some maintenance work. I just about had time to take my camera out of my bag when it taxied out and took off. It was a great start to the weekend.

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There were a number of general aviation aircraft at Notodden. With open access to the airport and gorgeous weather, I was photographing everything in sight.

LN-BAA, MSN BB-1327, KING AIR B200, registered to Bergen Air Transport AS

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LN-ERA, MSN 330, ERACER MKII, registered to Tore Bjelgerud

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LN-FTL, MSN 42.N053; Diamond DA-42; registered to Sky Management AS

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LN-SAD, MSN 15.814; Saab MFI 15-200A; registered to Vassbotten Øyvind

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LN-YRU, MSN 12 SI 67; 3000 SIRIUS; registered to Grenland flyklubb

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On Saturday morning, planes for the air show started filtering in to Notodden. It was fun being able to get up close and personal to a variety of airplanes, practically all with Norwegian or other European registrations, and many in color schemes not typically seen in the US. Certainly, one of the stars of the show was G-BZNT (msn 893019) is a 1968-model Aero L-29. It was recently delivered to Russian Warbirds of Norway from its previous home in Wales and still wore its British registration.

It was acquired by Russian Warbirds of Norway to replace a similar-type jet that was lost in September 2016 in a hangar fire. In all, two L-29s and two Yak-52s were destroyed in that fire, but thankfully, nobody was hurt.

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Russian Warbirds of Norway clearly diplayed a sense of humor when the organization registered its PZL-Mielec AN-2 as LN-KGB (MSN  1G23028). It was by far the largest participant in the air show.

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Yak-52s are a favorite among aerobatic pilots worldwide. LN-LBS, MSN 0012207; YAK52W; registered to Kjetil Dalseid

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LN-AIA, MSN 9411809; YAK52; registered to AirAdvantage AS

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LN-DHC, MSN WB586; DHC-1 Mk.22; registered to Nedre Romerike Flyklubb Veteranflygruppa

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LN-FTX, MSN 75-4952; BOEING A75N1; owned by Norwegian Flying Aces

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LN-KCJ, MSN 140-11721; Cessna 140; registered to Vassbotten Øyvind

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LN-NCC, MSN 1167; DHC2 Mk. I; registered to Cybrair AS. Many smaller aircraft are fitted with floats to facilitate their use on the many waterways of Norway.

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LN-PFX, MSN CCF-4194, HARVARD-4, Registered to Norwegian Flying Aces

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Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon.

2 thoughts on “008 – Journey to Notodden – Part 1

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