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Brothers Build World's Largest Model Airport

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the we're-going-to-need-more-glue dept.

Idle 90

kkleiner writes "Frederik and Gerrit Braun, energetic twin brothers with no shortage of dreams, have just finished construction of the world's largest model airport. With 40,000 lights, 15,000 figurines, 500 cars, 10,000 trees, 50 trains, 1000 wagons, 100 signals, 200 switches, 300 buildings and 40 planes, Knuffingen Airport is both a wonder to behold as well as a technological tour de force. The best part of Knuffingen is that it's alive. Forty planes and 90 vehicles move about autonomously. Located in Hamburg, Germany, the model is based on Hamburg Airport."

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Great idea! (2)

hinesbrad (1923872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102736)

Wow. How cool and fun!

Good thing it's not an American airport. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102768)

They'd have to make my package even smaller!

Re:Good thing it's not an American airport. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103476)

And to model the line at the grab-my-crotch search properly they'd have to make a loooooot of little people.

not just planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102810)

the summary doesnt mention but its just latest addition to their model world which includes mostly trains, cars etc... wish I could go see the whole thing

Re:not just planes (1)

gurubert (39045) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103874)

http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/ is their homepage. You can at least by some DVDs there.

Re:not just planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104068)

I've been there multiple times.. it really is a breathtaking place to be.

And in the danger of slashdotting my Google Picasa Page, I also went there to take Pictures.. so just have a look:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111772546680710916252/Hamburg02#

Re:not just planes (1)

dasherjan (1485895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108958)

Great pictures!

In other news.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102820)

In other news German police have arrested two terrorist suspects who are believed to have assisted the terrorist by designing a complete working model of Hamburg Airport. The police claim that this model was to be used to train terrorist for future attacks against the airport.....

Re:In other news.... (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102996)

Above post is obviously meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek, but if this was in the US, I guarantee they would get a visit from DHS and likely charged with something terrorism-related. You can't even take pictures of planes near airports anymore in the US without getting arrested. I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights. I mean, the pictures could be used by terrorists... :P

It's gone beyond silly.

Re:In other news.... (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103076)

Yes, you can still take photos of planes at airports in the US. Out here in the "flyover" states*, we're not all running scared of our shadows, and don't see the terrorist boogyman behind every door, regardless of how much congress, the whitehouse, DHS, TSA, or anyone else wants us to.

*May not apply in texas, or specific counties not completely dominated by corrupt "good-old-boy" political parties

Re:In other news.... (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103100)

And obviously that should read "or specific counties completely dominated by"

Apparently, we also don't believe in the preview button.

Re:In other news.... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103302)

Yeh, because the US isn't run by "good-old-boy" political parties.

The US is a corrupt police state that claims to be spreading democracy. Just look at the way your government treats it's own citizens.

Re:In other news.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103484)

The US is exporting democracy because they have no domestic need for it anymore.

In a world where virtual ideas become goods, don't be surprised if the laws of the market are applied to them.

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104310)

Do you actually live in America? If so, before you call the country "corrupt", try bribing a cop to let you off a speeding ticket or a DUI, and see where it actually gets you. (Hint: jail, and rightly so.)

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105110)

Small potatoes. Start with a list of the good ol' boys who are bankrupting the world's economy without prosecution.

1.
2.

Just because you're not nickel and dimed by every flatfoot in the US doesn't mean the country isn't corrupt. How many officers in Louisiana have been arrested for armed robbery on duty?

Even in the 80s under Reagan and Bush the First, the savings and loan scandal sent some people to jail.

Re:In other news.... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108956)

If so, before you call the country "corrupt", try bribing a cop to let you off a speeding ticket or a DUI, and see where it actually gets you.

Now repeat this experiment a thousand times. I'd be willing to bet that at least a few of them will bite, assuming the bribe is large enough. (Probably more for a speeding ticket than a DUI.)

Now take it one step farther and offer those same officers money to get you out of speeding tickets, parking tickets, etc. written by someone else.

See, that's the problem. It doesn't take complete corruption for the system to be corrupted. It's just like computer security—you only have to miss one vulnerability to completely destroy all the hard work you put into securing a system. In the court system, all it takes is one corrupt judge at the right level and the ability to steer your case towards that judge. In the legislature, all it takes is managing to buy a couple of corruptible people whose opinions other congresscritters mistakenly trust and respect. And so on.

It is not sufficient to limit corruption to a small amount because even the smallest bit of corruption ruins the whole system. It must be systematically eliminated through (among other things) making it illegal for members of government to take a position in industries that they previously regulated for a period of years after they leave government and vice-versa. Similarly, we should not allow people who have recently been practicing lawyers to serve in the legislature because of the inherent conflict of interest that this poses. (Why would a lawyer want to simplify our legal code? That complexity serves his/her profession well.) And so on.

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105536)

The US is a corrupt police state that claims to be spreading democracy. Just look at the way your government treats it's own citizens.

I hear they're even building extermination camps for morons who don't know the difference between "it's" and "its". Maybe it's not so bad after all ...

Re:In other news.... (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104444)

"Out here in the "flyover" states*, we're not all running scared of our shadows, and don't see the terrorist boogyman behind every door, regardless of how much congress, the whitehouse, DHS, TSA, or anyone else wants us to."

You obviously arent patriots then ! /sarcasm

Re:In other news.... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106346)

BWI has a park specifically for photographing planes, I can't imagine them banning it.

Re:In other news.... (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103188)

You can't even take pictures of planes near airports anymore in the US without getting arrested.

    I'm actually *very* surprised that I haven't had a few words said to me when I've been stuck in airports. I'll go around shooting pictures of whatever interests me. I like aircraft, so I end up with an awful lot of pictures of random aircraft. I've been considering uploading them all to airliners.com, but ... well ... I'm too lazy. :) I still haven't figured out who these belong to [google.com] . Lots of white, no airline markings. I was told they're possibly embassy flights.

I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights.

    They will tweak out if you have a camera in your hand, even if it's a SLR, when electronics are suppose to be off. To film takeoff and landing, you have to wait for them to sit down and buckle in. The way I see it, if there's a crash, at least there's a chance they'll find the recording and get a better picture of what happened.

    I got some half-way decent video transiting over New York City. It was dumb luck. I spotted a city, thought about how long we were in the air and said "Hmmmm, that's probably New York". We were high enough, nothing was distinguishable, but with the zoom all the way in I could see the Statue of Liberty. :) I never manage to get aircraft passing above or below us though. By the time I notice them, they're going the other way too fast to get a camera up.

    I do manage to get the occasional good shot like this sunset over a city [flickr.com] , or this sunset at high altitude [flickr.com] .

    Those are all fine, but shoot something like this [flickr.com] , and you'll get all kinds of nice men with guns and badges (DHS and local sheriffs department) asking lots of questions, even though you were standing on public property taking them. They way I see it, if I can see this sign [flickr.com] , and I'm still on the paved part of a public road, I'm not doing anything wrong. I guess I should mention, we were just out taking pictures for some stock photography. We didn't find anything interesting, and I decided it was best not to start shooting pictures of the officers.

Re:In other news.... (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108200)

Why did they say you couldn't take the pictures?

Re:In other news.... (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108768)

Why did they say you couldn't take the pictures?

I don't know about that specific case, but in general you are not allowed to take pictures of security arrangements at ports of entry. The things that the DHS would object to in those photos are the boring bits; fences, lighting posts, security cameras if they are there, etc. Found that out at a bulk chemical facility; while ~60 miles inland, the facility is serviced by international shipping (via a long ship channel), so is designated as a port of entry. Had to have someone standing over my shoulder while shooting photos to make sure I didn't have their security arrangements in my field of view (literally razor wire fence and lighting posts; never mind that you could see them all quite clearly on Google Earth, which the guy with me even pointed out - said if I wanted photos of those areas, I could probably just look at Google Earth).

There's lots of baseless fear in the comments here. Of course you can take photos out the window of an airplane you are riding in. I do it all the time, and I've never had anybody bat an eye. You can take photos pretty much everywhere in an airport, too - just not in the security area. Shoot all the photos of planes you want, no one is going to stop you or even look at you askance (well, aside from the typical "hey, look at the plane nerd!" way). Now, if you are wandering around the airport perimeter fence taking photos, you are likely to get a visit - because of the aforementioned issue that you are likely, whether on purpose or by accident, taking photos of their security arrangements. As long as you are pointing your camera into the sky, though, you're probably okay - but they'll probably stick around and watch.

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116422)

So, just like taking photos at train stations in the DDR?

Re:In other news.... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36111770)

Well, not to pull some of the most overused gov't quotes, but "national security", "threat level" and "terrorism threat".

    The location was near a port [google.com] . Not a huge one, it's a port that freighters, tankers, and cruise ships use. And you can say to yourself now, "Hmmmm, people on cruise ships take lots of pictures", and you'd be absolutely right.

    We stopped before a guard shack that said "no admittance". Hmmm. Looking at Google Maps, they didn't send the street view cam all the way down the road, but there's nothing indicating "don't go past here". Not until the guard shack. We pulled our U-turn in that loop you see just East of the guard shack, but only did it on the road part. I like my car, and running over rail road tracks in a dirt parking lot isn't always a good idea.

    The structure was ... well, something. I never did figure it out. Lots of geometric shapes, which is why I was shooting it. You can see it being demolished in the satellite view on the North side of the road.

    When all the polizei showed up, they were a bit miffed that my car doors were locked. The deputy asked "Why did you lock your doors? Did you think someone was going to break into it out here?" I answered the only honest way I knew how. "Sir, you tried to open the door." Open doors are fair-ish game for no-warrant searches. Basically, the argument is that they can say they thought they saw something that looked like a weapon, so they had probable cause. They can't compel you to open a car without a warrant. They took our IDs, ran them through, found we weren't wanted nor terrorists, and 15 minutes later they left us alone. Since our side of the story was "we're just taking pictures", and the story never changed, they had nothing to work with. The best they could come up with was "that's private property over there", and I reminded him that we were still standing on public property. Well, with:

Him: "That's private property over there."

Me: "Over there, off this road, right?"
Him: "Right".

Me:"And this isn't his property, right?"
Him: "Right".

Me: "So I'm still on public land, right?"
Him: "Well, you're in front of his private property."

Me: "But this is still a public road. I didn't see any signs saying otherwise."
Him: "But you turned around in his driveway"

Me: "By state law, any road, driveway, private street, etc, that connects to a public road may be considered a public road for temporary purposes, such as turning around. I spent less than a few seconds there. And that's a commercial building, during normal operating hours, which makes that parking lot and that driveway legal for anyone to transit, right."

(side note: You can be ticketed for running a stop sign or exceeding the posted speed limit in a grocery store parking lot, because of this rule. You also can't be charged with trespassing unless you have been explicitly told by the owner, or a representative of the owner, that you are not allowed there. If you get told to leave the property of a store, that includes the parking lot, which is then considered trespassing. )

Him: "Well, you can't be here. Homeland security told me you are doing something wrong."

Me: "So, am I being charged, or am I free to go?"
Him: "Do you have anything illegal in your car?"

Me: "Nope. Do you have a warrant to check it? Or am I free to go?"
Him: "You're free to go."

    I guess I forgot to mention, I know an awful lot about the law in this state, due to previous employment. I could have refused to say anything, but it was not advantageous for me to push the point. I still wasn't going to let him in my car. Who knows if a previous owner or a passenger dropped a joint or something that I hadn't cleaned out. There are usually hand tools, like screwdrivers, which can be construed as tools used in burglary, even though all us computer geeks know a #2 phillips screwdriver is for fixing computers, and must be kept on hand at all times. :) Or worse, he goes to town searching my car, so everything from the inside deposited on the outside. My idea of a fun day isn't picking up everything from my car from the street and putting it back in.

    They got bored, because we were obviously not a threat, and went happily on our own way.

Re:In other news.... (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36112358)

What a messed-up world we live in when one needs to know the law simply so that someone whose job it is to enforce the law can't get away with breaking it without you knowing :/

Re:In other news.... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36112802)

    You know, that's why I learned it in the first place. I was young, dumb, and thought I could make a difference from inside. It took a little time for me to realize that regardless of how good I was, I'd likely work the jails or street patrol for an awful long time. I'd only make a difference to those who I interacted with, and even then, there's a percentage that would prefer I be dead than to interact with me. Getting shot for low pay really isn't really as cool as it sounds. So now I do IT. Good pay, very very little risk of getting shot, and I still remember enough to keep myself out of trouble.

Re:In other news.... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125784)

So now I do IT. Good pay, very very little risk of getting shot,

Little, but not zero. [google.com]

Re:In other news.... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103794)

I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights.

I once had a passenger tell me I couldn't. I asked for his warrant card. He seemed perplexed. I said that if he thought he can tell me what I can and can't do then presumably he's a policeman or similar, so he should prove it.

He shut the fuck up and I carried on.

Re:In other news.... (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36111338)

I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights.

I once had a passenger tell me I couldn't. I asked for his warrant card. He seemed perplexed. I said that if he thought he can tell me what I can and can't do then presumably he's a policeman or similar, so he should prove it.

He shut the fuck up and I carried on.

Your fellow passenger is happy for their screaming 6 year old daughter to have high school dropouts groping her, sticking their hands down her pants, and stroking her hair.

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36113208)

Or he's a TSA agent who forgot that he has no authority in the air.

Re:In other news.... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143686)

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104910)

No, it's ok. They're good citizens---They grope your privates before you get to see the model airport.

but (0)

Lexible (1038928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102864)

terrorists could use that model to plan attacks!

TSA (1)

tuxicle (996538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102892)

How many model TSA agents does it have, autonomously groping passengers?

Re:TSA (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115768)

I've patented the Grope-A-Matic for that, but there's a snag: Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger claim prior art.

Scenarios (4, Interesting)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102898)

From TFA:
The airport, roughly 150 square meters (over 1,600 square feet), is breathtaking to behold. But the Brauns’ masterpiece is even more than an autonomous feast for the eyes: it’s interactive. Visitors can push buttons on the railing surrounding the model airport to induce up to 11 different programmed scenarios. A visitor who pushes the button labeled “Fire incident” will see smoke begin to billow out of a house, and then actual flames. The fire house will sound the alarm and begin flashing its lights. Moments later the fire brigade–3-4 vehicles located randomly about the airport–will turn on their lights and start heading towards the fire. At intersections the fire engines will sound their horns and cars will yield the right of way. Meanwhile the fire grows bigger! After the fire engines converge on the burning house the PC decides whether or not the fire has been successfully put out. If not, another alarm is sounded and additional fire engines (up to 35!) from the neighborhood come to the rescue.

AI programming along with all the complicated physical inputs too. Amazing

Re:Scenarios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103156)

Please choose your variant of this comment:

A. Maybe they can finally build themselves some girlfriends, now that they have accomplished this. :P

B. With 40,000 lights, 15,000 figurines, 500 cars, 10,000 trees, 50 trains, 1000 wagons, 100 signals, 200 switches, 300 buildings, 40 planes, and smart AI, the Brauns have it all! Except a life.

Re:Scenarios (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104578)

Simply... wow

Too bad the planes don't fly... (0)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102902)

They could use some model planes that really fly...
Otherwise looks cool.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103012)

Yeah, also every 1 out of 25 million flights should explode due to a terrorist attack.

I'm sure a teensy and thermite should do the trick.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (1)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103444)

You forgot that plane loaded with bomb isn't likely to explode near the airport.
In fact did that happen even once?

Besides my point still stands. Airport is where planes land and take off, and that isn't simulated by that model.
More train sets please...

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103668)

Yes it is! In fact most of the video is showing the planes land and take off.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103856)

Not to mention the fact that there's a 1:1 model of an airport a few KM from the miniature-wunderland, with flying planes and everything.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (1)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104030)

But these landings/takeoffs are faked!.
Every people has it own taste. I personally don't like this.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36106988)

Your post is wrong in every way:
- You don't like it? Don't post about it!
- "Faked"? You don't get the beauty of model construction.
- 2120596? You are too stupid to participate here.

Re:Too bad the planes don't fly... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103486)

Well, since none blew up so far I guess it's accurately modeled.

That's only a small part of a tinkerer's dream (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102914)

There should really be a link to the whole site of the Miniature Wonderland, where the airport is merely integrated as a small part (!). The whole thing is a huge attraction, and I can't even imagine the amount of maintenance it needs. They have created their own control software and direction systems for a few hundred, magnet-driven street vehicles and trains. It's really quite impressive.

http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/

Re:That's only a small part of a tinkerer's dream (4, Interesting)

chebucto (992517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103638)

It should be made clear that this isn't just the work of two brothers - there are ~150 people who work there.

Which isn't to diminish the accomplishment at all - what they've created really is worthy of wonder.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN_oDdGmKyA [youtube.com] , you won't regret it.

Re:That's only a small part of a tinkerer's dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36113104)

Actually I did regret it.
Amazed by the video as if I had visited the fantasy world of one of my dreams long ago, I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments spouting Nazi insults, immediately to be taken aback by reality. Thanks internet.

Children of the future (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102938)

This is what life was like when Petroleum was widely available and used on a frequent basis to fly people quickly around the world.
I hope you are enjoying the ride on the blimp.

Re:Children of the future (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102988)

Blimps need helium, which we are running out of as well. You can use hydrogen, but the results are a bit too hot to handle.

Re:Children of the future (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108054)

>> Blimps need helium, which we are running out of as well. You can use hydrogen, but the results are a bit too hot to handle.

But, kind sir, is hydrogen therewith too cold to hold?

Re:Children of the future (1)

f8l_0e (775982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36134528)

In liquid form, I would imagine it is. But we should consult with Mr. Robert Brown to confirm.

Re:Children of the future (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103090)

And once the aerial tour is complete, hurry back to the metro station to catch the intercontinental vactrain home.

Re:Children of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105844)

Delusional... Who's gonna dig that? Mules? Once the energy is gone, there won't be technology like we're used to. Accept it, or deny it. But it's going to happen.

Re:Children of the future (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36111504)

Delusional... Who's gonna dig that? Mules? Once the energy is gone, there won't be technology like we're used to. Accept it, or deny it. But it's going to happen.

Assuming some form of electric energy (nuclear most likely, with an assortment of solar, wind and tidal) to power the trains, why not throw some sheet metal over the surface track, weld the pieces together, then reduce the pressure inside? You don't need to dig to make a vactrain.

i must ask... (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103238)

What is this? An airport for ants?!

Re:i must ask... (1)

lanceran (1575541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36114176)

It needs to be at least... TWICE as big!

Where are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103282)

Sorry, but it just isn't complete without model TSA screeners molesting model children.

Re:Where are they? (1)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103304)

They don't do that here in Germany. Flights to the US have an extra layer or two of security theatre, but German airport "security" is more or less a respectful version of what the US had about 25 years ago but with better X-ray technology. Now the UK, that's another matter...

Signage? Lighting? (1)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103314)

With all that work I'm really surprised to see such a lack of taxiway and runway lighting and signage. But I'm a pilot and notice that more than the gee-whiz neatitude of the moving planes and ground support.

Re:Signage? Lighting? (1)

stefanb (21140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103448)

Their train signals are mostly decoration, as well, even though the system controlling the trains follows similar rules to real-world trains, and could easily control signals as well.

On the other hand, the immersive qualities are really amazing. I bet you a good German beer that you won't hold the missing lighting and signage against them after having been there even just five minutes.

Re:Signage? Lighting? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103840)

I bet you a good German beer that you won't hold the missing lighting and signage against them after having been there even just five minutes.

Most Americans will stop to notice anything, once the see one of the many sexy miniatures - like http://www.miniatur-wunderland.de/fileadmin/media/besucher-visitor/harz/lutz-harz-sonnenblumenfeld.jpg [miniatur-wunderland.de] (NSFW - at least not in the USA)

Re:Signage? Lighting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104698)

The grow operation [miniatur-wunderland.com] amused me - I can't image that in an American version!

Re:Signage? Lighting? (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103528)

With all that work I'm really surprised to see such a lack of taxiway and runway lighting and signage.

All the taxiway and runway lighting is fully operational. Here's the night view. [youtube.com]

This isn't just a static display with a little repetitive motion. The planes land, and taxi to the terminal on the taxiways. They position at a gate. The jetways move into position and mate with the plane. Fuel trucks and catering trucks come up to the plane. After a while, the support vehicles move off, and a pushback truck pushes the plane clear of the gate area. The plane then turns, follows the taxiways, gets into the takeoff queue, waits at the threshold, rolls onto the runway, takes off, and disappears through the wall.

The vehicles run on the Faller carsystem, which is used for road vehicles all over Minatur Wunderland. Guidance is via little magnets that follow a metal rail hidden in the table. There are switches at junctions, and the control system is railroad-like. The vehicles are battery powered, and get speed instructions from a central computer, but steering is mechanical, following the track with the magnet.

The planes use the same system when on the ground. When they're in position for takeoff, a rod comes up through the runway and engages a big pocket in the plane. A second rear rod engages a smaller pocket in the rear. Takeoff is driven from equipment under the runway, which can move and tilt the plane. At the end of the room, the plane flies through a row of strips of "sky" painted material and disappears.

Behind the scenes, the planes then are brought down, and return to driving mode. They move around on a hidden lower level and are staged to simulate various flights. There's also automatic charging for all vehicles, which make stops at hidden charging stations as needed.

The airport is only a small part of the whole exhibit, which has a model railroad with 890 trains and 12km of track. There's a staff of 185 people. It's a major tourist attraction.

The only disappoining thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103322)

they're using Windows.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRQ2pOGwVag&feature=channel_video_title (0:16)

Waste of time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103352)

This might just be the stupidest waste of time I've ever seen in my life, and that's coming from someone who has lived through the Vietnam and Iraq wars. I want to Tour de Force these morons right into a labor camp digging holes for the rest of their lives as they contemplate the meaning of "pointless."

Re:Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103422)

Hmmm.... So what exactly is your idea of useful?

I think the idea is to have as much fun as you can responsibly have, and this looks like it was a blast to make!

Life's too short, and it sounds like you have wasted a lot of yours being too uptight.

Re:Waste of time (2)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103862)

This might just be the stupidest waste of time I've ever seen in my life, and that's coming from someone who has lived through the Vietnam and Iraq wars. I want to Tour de Force these morons right into a labor camp digging holes for the rest of their lives as they contemplate the meaning of "pointless."

In their first year (2001) they had a revenue of 2 million Euros, 11 Mio. in 2007. Yeah, I wish I had such a pointless hobby.

Show it off at Hamburg airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103390)

I think it would be quite cool if they located the model somewhere outside at the actual airport. Then they would need to have a model of the model, and that would need a model etc.

Obligatory XKCD (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103432)

Good thing they did not build a layout of the area they are in

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/model_rail.png [xkcd.com]

Knuffingen (1)

redcaboodle (622288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103538)

A short German lesson

Knuffingen is a joke name which can be translated roughly as Cuddlington. (cuddly - ton). -ingen is a common ending of old town names in southern Germany. It's instantly recognizable as describing a town or village.

Not really 2 brothers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103706)

The 2 brothers own the "miniature world" tourist attraction in Hamburg, employing a lot of people.. so to say "2 brothers" did it as if no one else helped is a bit of a... lie.

Re:Not really 2 brothers... (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103898)

The 2 brothers own the "miniature world" tourist attraction in Hamburg, employing a lot of people.. so to say "2 brothers" did it as if no one else helped is a bit of a... lie.

Quite unlike Donald Trump, who builds all his buildings on his own.

Thank god for model airports! (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103850)

If there weren't model airports they wouldn't have gotten the idea for the big airports!

Other stuff on the article site (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104366)

It is a very interesting website full of interesting stuff

The $25 computer for example
http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/10/a-25-computer-the-size-of-your-thumb-video/ [singularityhub.com]

or an actual flying car ($200,000)
http://singularityhub.com/2010/07/06/terrafugia-car-plane-gets-more-faa-aproval-hitting-skies-and-roads-2011-video/ [singularityhub.com]

There are some interesting robots/ milling machines
http://singularityhub.com/2010/04/05/5-axis-robot-carves-metal-like-butter-video/ [singularityhub.com]

for example

The summary for the model airport is quite misleading as the airport is part of a number of miniature attractions and employ's 150 people and cost millions to make and is a popular tourist attraction.

Germans and their models (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104474)

One time I was in Germany touring a factory. We get in one part of the building and the guide excitedly starts showing me the model of the room. This particular room was simply a storage room for excess stock and supplies. And in the corner of the room covered with a plexiglass case is the model. It was really nice, had the exact same number of shelves, tables, and boxes.

The guide proceded to spend about 10 minutes pointing out exactly how each shelf had the same number of boxes arranged in the same position as the ones in the actual room. Yes and the boxes were proportionally the same size and colors. Notice how the shelves have the same labels as the actual shelves... and also notice how the....

blah blah blah...

Seriously. We're in the room and touring the model of the same room. It was quite surreal. Now... from the article.

Located in Hamburg, Germany, the model is based on Hamburg Airport.

Oh no, not this again!

Re:Germans and their models (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36111480)

The guide proceded to spend about 10 minutes pointing out exactly how each shelf had the same number of boxes arranged in the same position as the ones in the actual room. Yes and the boxes were proportionally the same size and colors. Notice how the shelves have the same labels as the actual shelves... and also notice how the....

blah blah blah...

Did the model of the room have a model of the model of the room in the corner?

Re:Germans and their models (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36114260)

I was afraid to ask as I didn't want to start the tour over again.

Re:Germans and their models (1)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36112768)

Oh crap... they had the model of the room inside the room they were modeling? Did that model include a miniature replica of itself [xkcd.com] , which likewise contained a miniature copy, etc., all the way down?

That must be (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104692)

one gigantic basement!

Holy Jebus Cost Prohibitive, Batman (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105372)

Faller Cars at Gaugemaster [gaugemaster.com]

£84.10 - £107.70 per vehicle.

Does anyone else think that they could pull off something like this vastly cheaper?

Only one thing missing (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36107614)

All it needs is a guy in a Godzilla costume to make it complete.

Re:Only one thing missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36258774)

You beat me to it. And let's throw in King Ghidorah too.

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