Formerly known as Enoch Thulins Airport, this little airstrip midway between Landskrona and Helsingborg* is perhaps best known (and sometimes reviled) for hosting the annual Vallåkraträffen rally for EPA-tractor enthusiasts. For the rest of the year, however, things are notably quieter: the Landskrona Flying Club is a regional hub for microlite and sport glider pilots.
Gliding planes (most often referred to simply as gliders) fly without external energy input, making use of favorable weather conditions to remain airborne—such as the brisk breezes over Skane’s west coast! They do need some extra help during take-off, of course: a winch on the runway, a towing plane, or a light self-launching motor is needed to get them off the ground. But once aloft, the sky’s the limit—until the wind drops, at least.
When the aviation fuel tax was introduced in the 2020s, and flygskam (flight shame) was all the rage, the club faced severe negative publicity, despite having (as it argued) a far smaller carbon footprint than other, less controversial pastimes. Local environmental groups lobbyed for the closure of the airport and a ban on all recreational flying activities, but the club stuck to its guns and found a way through, starting with their investment in an electric towing plane for their gliders. The area soon became home to numerous firms developing electric-powered light aircraft, and many well-known models took their test-flights right here.
Although playing host to Vallåkraträffen is a blot on the club’s reputation, it is also their biggest source of income, effectively paying for their transition to electric propulsion and the subsequent growth of industry around them. (The club signed a deal with Landskrona municipality, by which their glider batteries can be used for load-balancing on the local energy grid when not aloft.) Criticism is rarer these days, but when it arises, the club’s voluble spokespersons are at pains to point out that their sport was always less polluting than the brummas, but the latter never got the same degree of public backlash; they see the preservation of the club as a victory not just for their sport, but against hypocrisy.
Vallåkra is still worth a visit even if you are not an EPA enthusiast: the gliding experience the club has to offer is a thrilling way to see the local area from a literal bird’s-eye perspective. For those who don’t get on well with heights, on the other hand, watching the gliders launch, soar and land is probably thrilling enough!
[ * Note for geography enthusiasts: Vallåkra is technically part of Landskrona municipality, but given many of its visitors come from further afield, including across the water from Denmark, we have listed it under Helsingborg on the assumption that’s the place you’d expect to find it. ]