Tibidabo

Francisco J. Campos reported:
Near the city of Barcelona, over the Tibidabo mountain, there's an amusement park with the same name. Its peak is 512 meters over the city, and grants a wonderful view from nice terraces. The park was founded in 1928 by Salvador Andreu, known as "Doctor Andreu", a rich chemist who made a fortune selling cough pills.
Just some months before, in December 1927, the first commercial flight between Barcelona and Madrid for Spanish Airline Iberia took place with a huge success. This gave Doctor Andreu a great idea: create a ride for his park imitating a plane flight. He commissioned the construction of a replica from that plane, a German-made Rohrbach Roland able to transport 10 people and its crew. The plane was hanging from an elaborate crane rig, allowing it to fly in a circle pattern, powered by its own propeller. Since the whole contraption was placed in top of the mountain, and "flew" over open space, the passengers had the exact feeling of a real flight over the city.

The "Tibidabo Aeroplane", as it was known, was an instant sensation. In few months, more than 25,000 people had its "air baptism" under its wings. Let's take into account that, in these years, very few people had travelled on a real plane. The ride quickly became an icon of the city of Barcelona, still active today in 2017.

In 1930, a huge storm damaged seriously the plane, and it was reconstructed at the Talleres Estrada, reinforcing it and introducing some changes in the original design. This is the version still active almost a century later. Radio and navigation equipment is original from the 30's. The plane has room for luggage, wood windows, leather seats and a small bathroom. Its safety was always emphasized (an important concept in that era), because of the crane mechanism. Curiously enough, the little access ladder "hangs" from the very plane. The legend of the first flight simulator in the world was born...

In all those years, the Aeroplane has done 15 complete Earth tours, 8,000 times the distance from Madrid to Barcelona, without leaving its privileged location over the Tibidabo mountain. Originally, the plane was yellow, something that few people recalls, showing T1 registration (Tibidabo One). And it's very unique, since there's no similar ride in any part of the world.

Well known Spanish entepreneur Javier de la Rosa (he ended in jail for financial crimes) got the owning of the park in 1988, and he was fascinated by the Aeroplane. So he decided to paint it red, as a proof of its importance for the park and the city. This painting schema lasts until today.

In January 2017, the old Aeroplane has been detached from its rig for a new and deep restoration job. Since 1930, minor maintenance has been done constantly on the ride, under the supervision of the Barcelona's College of Architects, but our old friend was in need of something more than some red paint. The Ajuntament of Barcelona, new and successful owner of the park, hopes to have the Aeroplane flying again around springtime 2017. The red color will be respected, and the "Tibidabo Air Company" logo too.

First time I climbed into the Aeroplane I was 10 years old, and I will never forget the experience.

Your mind says this is fake: the plane "hangs" from a crane, it does not "fly". But once you're in your seat, and look thru the window, you feel real "butterflies in the stomach", and it gets as real as it can be.
You hear the engine, and people say goodbye from the terrace when you "take off". If it ain't a flight, let's say is very close. I've boarded the Aeroplane every time I visited the Tibidabo since then, and I am 50 now.

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