After a fatal accident involving a blessing aircraft that occurred at Höfen airfield in August 2023, it was officially closed. Now the Reutte district administration has released the space again, but with significant restrictions.
In August 2023, a German blessing flight pilot was stranded. The accident investigation revealed that there was an error on the part of the pilot. The Reutte district administration has nevertheless decided that the place is temporarily closed. At the time, this was not only met with incomprehension by the private operators, but also aircraft owners and their aircraft were stranded until further notice because they were no longer allowed to leave Höfen by air.
Among other things, the authority ordered that everything had to be remeasured. The data and reports had to be presented to the Reutte district administration. They wanted to have the dangerous situation re-evaluated. Incidentally, the operators themselves had to cover the costs.
The office has now ordered that the airport can partially be put into operation again. Partially means that the runways may only be used in one direction until further notice. And it will probably stay that way for some time, because in the direction in which take-off or landing is not permitted for the time being, the trees should be allowed to grow slightly too tall. Höfern is currently only approved for take-offs/landings to/from the Lechtal direction. It is not permitted to take off or land from/to Reutte.
Trees that have grown too tall need to be trimmed. However, this is not so easy to do because the operators have to obtain a clearing permit for this. So it's the Reutte district administration's turn again, because they now have to decide whether the affected trees can be shortened or not. Of course, the operators also have to pay for this, both for the application process and for any work.
Real clearing in the sense of clear-cutting is not planned. The affected trees should only be cut back so that their overall height will be below that required for the safe operation of the airfield. But this project could also be complicated, as it is to be expected that there could be headwinds for environmental and nature conservation reasons. However, the operators are confident that the green light will be given and that after the trees have been trimmed, the Höfen airfield will be allowed to operate in both directions again.