A Saab Friction Tester for Berlin-Tegel

It's that time again! From the bankruptcy of Schwerin-Parchim Airport, a Saab Friction Tester is offered. A good opportunity to take a look back at the year 1982. One of the two West Berlin civilian airports, in Tegel, is to receive a new friction tester.

A SFT in action
A SFT in action

Saab Fricition Tester, short SFT, are part of the brand DNA. The origins are in aircraft construction; In the 80 years one organizes the production of the special vehicles still under own responsibility. That changes a little later under GM, as the special-vehicle construction at Sarsys, today SARSYS-ASFT, is delivered. At that time, the Saab-Scania car division in Nyköping took care of sales and brought Saab Germany on board. We have the correspondence from 1982; it is a document from that time.

In a closed truck through the GDR

On the 10. May 1982 notifies sales in Nyköping that the SFT on 28. May be finished. He should then be brought to Hamburg with a regular car transport for TÜV inspection. From the Hanseatic city he will then travel in a closed truck over the transit route to West Berlin. A closed truck? Why? Is this a security measure, is it feared espionage of the GDR and is the technology at this time perhaps on the embargo list? The likelihood is high because Americans largely banned the legal export of electronics to the Warsaw Pact countries.

The relevant data, such as chassis number and weight, there are already for the German clerk in advance. With the information from Sweden, the branch in Frankfurt creates a vehicle registration document, which goes to the technical testing center in Hamburg. The homologation announces the letter, with the request for signature, by telex in advance. The 900 GLI, which was converted to a friction tester, is considered to be eligible for road traffic. In order to be sure, Saab also sends a copy of another converted 900 GLS from the year 1980 in copy.

For the construction of a SFT, the Swedes use vehicles from the series. Only two parameters change for approval. First, the vehicle weight, which increases by the measuring device by 200 kilograms. And the number of seats being reduced from 5 to 4.

The whereabouts of the SFT for Tegel are unknown

That the times were different at that time becomes clear at the latest with the next letter. Nyköping announces to the French military administration the import of the 900 GLI as Fricition Tester for Berlin Tegel. And at the 7. June 1982 asks Spedition Schenker via telex whether the SFT in Travemünde should be cleared for use as a measuring vehicle or for normal road traffic.

The French military administration in Berlin no longer exists, the goods traffic in Europe is free. Like the telex that you hardly remember. Things you do not like. What the SFT has become for Berlin-Tegel, we do not know. SFT are durable, have been sold to second or third owner. Maybe he still makes his way somewhere on a small provincial airport today. Maybe he is stranded at the airport in Parchim.

The auctioneer of the bankruptcy goods goes sparingly Pictures um, the year of construction could correspond to the early 80s. In any case, the “Bokhararote” interior is typical of this period and forms an oblique contrast with the exterior color, which Saab calls “alabaster yellow”.

7 thoughts on "A Saab Friction Tester for Berlin-Tegel"

  • Saabs who were allowed to spend their history at the airport always find interesting, whether as a friction tester or for other considerations that serve the air traffic

  • The 900er for sale has the vin YS3AT34SXD1001500 - so it is a 1983 Turbo with the serial number 1500 ...

  • That was still the case in the late 80 years. Our telexes to Hong Kong and Taiwan were also shipped only at night for cost reasons. We share very similar memories.

  • Charming time travel. Thank you!

    Hard to believe but true that quite a few planes are regular civilian or military service,
    which are much older than a 1982 STF ...

  • The report reminded me of my apprenticeship.

    What did I have to send Telex to Asia for all night, because then it was cheaper.

    First write the text and while I was writing a piece of paper, which contained the holes in the text, rattled down next to me. Then clamp the paper strip over and over again, dial the telex number of the recipient with a rotary dial, let the strip rattle through and dial the next recipient. Don't forget to mark it off on the list, otherwise the teacher wouldn't know whether it went out ...

    This is how sending promotional emails went in the 1970s. And I've gotten old, just like my Saab convertible….

  • Oh man, who knows another telex? Is really damn long ago and long forgotten. But it's great that you can still see a SFT at various airports (not only in Germany).

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