If asked when scheduled flights commenced from Hof, hardly anyone would regard 2nd May 1927 as the correct answer. There was, however, even in the early days of flying, a great enthusiasm for aviation in Hof. In November 1919 the town council decided to construct an airfield, but it was only when a number of enthusiasts from Hof had started a club with the aim of promoting aviation in the area (the “Verein für flugtechnische Neukonstruktion”) and conducted difficult negotiations to acquire the necessary land that the project was realized. In 1925 an airfield consisting of runway and hangar was built on a leased site (Hohe Saas) to the south of Hof. Air traffic control was accommodated in a nearby inn and tables and benches nearby were available for the visitors to the many flight displays.
History of aviation in Hof
Who is going to go up in the air just like that...
Two years later it was possible to fly to and from Hof on scheduled flights. At 7.30 a.m. a plane left Fürth for Leipzig, stopping at Bayreuth, Hof and Plauen, and returning in the afternoon. The trip from Hof to Bayreuth cost 8.50 reichsmarks, Hof to Leipzig 16 reichsmarks. This price included the transfer to the airfield from the travel agent’s office in Ludwigstraße. People were very proud that an average of three passengers daily made use of this facility, which was only available in good weather as planes could not land in Hof if it was foggy or icy. This air service came to an end in 1933 because such short stretches were no longer commercially viable and could in the meantime be covered equally fast by automobile.
At the end of the Second World War the U.S. armed forces took over the airfield and it became part of their army barracks. From 1957 they occasionally allowed it to be used for gliding. Hof’s gliding club, which was the forerunner of today’s Aeroclub Hof, found an alternative site for their sport near Köditz in 1963. However the municipal authorities started looking for a suitable site for regular civil aviation around 1961, finally finding one near Pirk just outside the city boundaries. A new airport to satisfy the requirements not only of amateur pilots but also of businessmen needing a connection to the international network was planned. However, as Hof was in such close proximity to the former German Democratic Republic, negotiations to get official permission were long and difficult. Then, after a construction period of two years, the new airport was finally opened with a grand flight day in 1969, and in 1972 scheduled flights on the route Hof – Bayreuth – Frankfurt began. In the competition to get its own commercial airport, Hof had asserted itself against other towns in the north-east of Bavaria.