The Tibidabo Airplane flies high over Barcelona again
The iconic Airplane at the Tibidabo Theme Park is flying high again, after five months of restoration
The Tibidabo Airplane returned today to the theme park after five months of a thorough restoration process. The nearly centenary attraction—engraved into the collective imagination of several generations of Barcelona and Catalan citizens—is back to fly high over Barcelona once again.
In a festive ambience enlivened by different personalities who have enjoyed the airplane over the course of its history, the inaugural event also saw the attendance of members of the Tibiclub, Tibidabo partners and characters closely linked to the park’s history, such as the descendants and relatives of park developer, Dr Salvador Andreu and airplane engineer and builder Marià Rubió i Bellver.
After several months, the emblem of the theme park and irrefutable feature of the skyline both of Tibidabo Mountain and of Barcelona, today made its inaugural flight with deputy mayor and B:SM president, Jaume Collboni, on board.
Today, Jaume Collboni said that ‘the City Council and the Park had an obligation to revive the airplane, its essence and everything that connects the city’s past and future'. Collboni recalled the importance of the Tibidabo Theme Park to the city, which ‘fulfils several functions, of family fun and entertainment, and as a public service and park, which provides multiple benefits to the city and returns them this airplane, or returns services via scholarships for boys and girls from families with difficulties who can come free this summer, or which is free for pensioners holding the tarjeta rosa (‘pink card’ for pensioners or people with disabilities).
Game area and interactive water fountains
After firing the starting shot for the first inaugural voyage of the Airplane, Collboni visited the recently opened game area with interactive fountains at the theme park. This space has some 50 water jets that alternate with different lighting and sound effects. The aim of the new interactive fountain game space is to inject new energy into the environment, offering visitors new activities and responding to visitors' requests.
The restoration project of a ride from 1928
On 23 September 1928, the Tibidabo Airplane—an exact replica of the first machine that made flew the route between Barcelona and Madrid—made its first flight. An avant-garde and almost centenary ride, which best represents the era in which it was created, when science and technology came together for the first time in the service of entertaining citizens.
The restoration project, awarded to architect Dani Freixas, was precisely based on reviving the original character of the airplane that was launched in 1928.
Interior restoration that recreates the era of its construction
Following these concepts, the existing elements have been restored as much as possible, only adding the new parts required and that help to best recreate the era in which it was constructed.
Thus, the chairs were re-upholstered and wood parts like the windows were polished and varnished.
The course direction indicator was also repaired, the brass lights on the ceiling and the finishes of the toilet that is inside.
An outside the recovers the original design
With regard to the outside, and with the mission of reproducing an airplane from this era as faithfully as possible, like what Dr Salvador Andreu did, the rivets have been restored on the sheet metal panels that covered it.
With respect to the graphic elements, the original design was restored, with a large T1 on the side, adding a number under the wing that represents the ride’s inauguration date: 23•9•28, and on the front of the two sides, the name TIBIDABO, simulating the official airline for the original flying machine. The colours of the flag were also added to the back aileron, just like all period planes had, and as is still done today.
The aim is for the attraction to be clearly identified with the park, and therefore with the city, and also with its status as an indispensable part of the skyline of Tibidabo Mountain.
The colours used are red and yellow, and the font the same one used on planes of this same model or similar by Rohrbach Roland in that period.
The outside lighting changes to give the machine greater prominence. The overall effect makes the airplane clearly visible from the park, when you are in the boarding area, and also in its journey flying over the top of the city, where one can see it in contrast to the night sky, over the illuminated city.
In the queuing area to the Airplane, a series of actions have been done so that visitors can learn about the history of the Park’s most iconic ride before boarding. Thus, in the waiting area to get on the ride, information and illustrative panels have been installed that explain the trivia and interesting facts of the first flight simulator in history, a summary of the personalities who have visited it, and the different themes it has had over the course of the years, as well as other information.