“What are the odds, 175 passengers named Hans Schmidt on my flight, I'm buying a lottery ticket when we land.”
SchutzStaffel Airlines or SS Air was founded with much fan fare and gun fire on March 1st 1945. With WW II winding down, it became abundantly clear that the Germans were going to get their asses kicked, as a result, an enterprising group of young Germans acquired a few Junkers cargo planes and VOILA one of the greatest airlines in the world was born.
SS Air - The Beginning
On March 1st 1945 Germany was in chaos and many Germans were looking to travel west, as far west as possible and as quickly as possible. It was this strong demand that inspired a group of young military men to form the parent company of SS Air, The Odessa Corporation, and they immediately began service.
The first scheduled flight of SS Air did not start out as expected, but was a financial success all the same. Expecting a high load factor, their initial advertising campaign only lasted around 3 hours on March 1st before their advertising team of Rommel and Von Bock were forced to take cover from Russian snipers. However, their wildly popular advertisement "We will fly you as far west of the Rhine as our fuel will take us", had filled every seat.
SS Air inaugural flight #1 took off at 0620 from an unbombed stretch of the autobahn just west of Berlin. SS Air launched without incident, however, as SS Air flight 1 climbed past 3000 feet, the captain felt a shudder and the aircraft became sluggish and began to lose altitude. Thinking his aircraft may be overloaded he rang the flight attendant call button and directed Frau Greta to "Lose some weight". Unfortunately, Frau Greta misunderstood the command and instead of trying to lighten the load by throwing out luggage and anything else not nailed down, she stormed the cockpit and slapped the captain. By the time the miscommunication was cleared up it was too late and flight 1 made an emergency landing about 100 miles west of Berlin.
Thinking they were doomed the crew quickly abandoned the aircraft and ran for a wooded area, once the men reached the safety of the woods they turned back to see that only the rudder had been damaged. Fortune was on the side of the crew as the damage to aircraft was minor and with typical German efficiency they quickly repaired the damage using a roll of speed tape, some staples, a pack of chewing gum and some pine tar. Within moments of the repair the crew quickly got SS Air flight 1 back in the air and they flew onto Brussels without incident.
Post War SS Air
With the war over and demand high for traffic to South America, SS Air quietly acquired several long range Uberflugzeughidinzenazies ER's and began non-stop service from the friendly confines of Munich International Airport to La Paz Bolivia.
SS Air was an immediate success and bookings were very heavy, as 1945 came to a close SS Air announced on New Years Eve that they would be expanding service to Lima, Peru and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The announcement was met with great excitement and flooded their reservation center in Bogota Columbia with so many calls that at one point one poor caller waited nearly a week to get through to them.
In the years that followed, SS Air expanded heavily into the South American market and by 1950 SS Air had all but monopolized the Germany to South America market crushing all competition like bugs. Surprisingly almost all of SS Air's revenue was generated from Germany to South America with very little revenue generated on the turn around from the wildly popular South American destinations, which seemed odd as fares were as high as 2000 DM's ($1000) for the leg to any South American destination with fares as little as 50 pesos's ($1) for the return trips, but even with those fares, SS Air had a waiting list of almost a year for a flight to any South American destination.
As SS Air continued to expand it's rivals embarked on a smear campaign to stop it's rapid growth and predatory practices. On April 10th 1953 the U.S. Government launched an investigation into SS Air and how they were maintaining passenger manifests. Shortly after the investigation began SS Air issued this public statement.
"We at SS Air have always maintained meticulous, truthful and accurate passenger manifests. Like anywhere else in the world, some names are more common than others so it should not seem odd to have many names that appear the same on the same flights or on several flights. For example, here in Germany the name Hans Schmidt is as common as John Smith in the United States or Jacques Leclerc in France. We have provided safe and reliable service for 8 years and it should not seem odd that we have flown over 500,000 Hans Schmidt's to South America. We challenge the U.S. Government to prove to us that 500,000 John Smiths have not flown on American aircraft over the same period."
Unfortunately for SS Air only 500 John Smith's had flown over the same time frame and SS Air was forced to shut down or have the U.S Army monitor passengers as they boarded each SS Air flight. The new regulations proved costly and hurt business over the next few years, by 1955 SS Air was on the brink of bankruptcy, but the worst was yet to come.
SS Air Flight 191
On December 7th 1955 SS Air flight 191 departed Munich International Airport 6 hours late headed to Bogota Columbia. The flight had begun like any other, security was tight with the U.S. Army adding several extra guards to screen the passengers as the load seemed overly full with the family name Lederhosen filling nearly 50 seats. After delaying the flight for nearly 6 hours while they checked out the credentials of the unusually large family, they cleared the Greek family to go and the group boarded the aircraft.
Snow had been predicted that afternoon and the lengthy delay had caused a great deal of ice and snow to build up on the wings. As worried passengers pointed out toward the buildup, the pilot assured everyone that the 2 to 3 foot long icicles hanging from the flaps were within safety guidelines. Passengers seemed to calm down as the aircraft taxied toward the runway, the light snow that had built up on the wings easily blew off and the pilots shook most of the ice off the flaps by violently raising and lowering them, as flight 191 taxied into position for take off, all seemed normal.
As flight 191 waited for clearance to take off a garbled message was picked up by the flight engineer. What transpired next is unknown, all we do know is that Captain Hans Schmidt suddenly applied full power in an attempt to take off just as another German Airliner was landing. Sadly, Deutschedoosh Airlines flight 34 was unable to preform a go around and smashed into SS Air's flight 191 killing everyone on board. All tolled, 175 passengers and 10 crewmembers were killed in the worst air disaster the world had seen to that time.
As the German version of the NTSB, the Abwere, tried to find answers to the wreck they focused on the recordings of the chatter between air traffic control and the aircraft. What investigators found made no sense, just seconds before the Captain tried the unauthorized take-off, it appears that an air traffic controller had mistakingly hit his transmit button while talking to a friend, what was transmitted was part of a conversation with a friend.
"Ya, I bring die Lederhosen back, they didn't fit little Hansie."
But as investigators listened to the garbled message transmitted to the flight engineer, all that could be heard was some static, followed by "Ya, bring die Lederhose ...ack." followed by what sounded like a siren. Investigators may never truly know the real reason why Captain Hans Schmidt, first officer Hans Schmidt and flight engineer Hans Schmidt decided to launch, however, it was suspected that the captain may have accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake in what investigators would later classify the accident as "Sudden Acceleration" or SA for short.
The Boom Years
SS Air quickly recognized the future of air travel was with jets and as soon as the new Flugnazihider 300 began rolling off the assembly lines in 1963 SS Air quickly secured 10 of them. With the shiny new jets added to their aging fleet, all eyes were on SS Air. Company President Hans Schmidt sent a letter to then president John F Kennedy that outlined a proposal in which the U.S. could save millions of dollars by dropping their security measures and focus on those nasty old Cubans stockpiling missiles to attack the U.S.
President Kennedy, against the advise of his foreign minister Frog Lepeu, decided to drop all security measures against SS Air since they had only captured one ex-Nazi, an American who claimed his name was John Smith, but was later identified as Rudolph Hess by the Americans, who later were embarrassed to find out that the British were still holding Hess in Spandau prison and the man they had captured and executed was really an American named John Smith.
With SS Air free of the shackles of tight security they quickly returned to profitability and their load factor quickly rocketed past 95%. Within a year of the reduced security SS Air added several more destinations in both Central and South America and they began to retire their old equipment in favor of the newer jets.
Throughout the 1960's SS Air continued their domination of the South and Central American markets and in 1965 SS Air decided to open a second hub in Zurich, Switzerland as it was discovered that the airline could triple profits by flying an aging German population in Central and South America back to Europe to the neutral country of Switzerland that has a non-extradition policy with most countries in the world.
With overbooked flights both to South America and now back to Europe SS Air amassed insane profits which enabled them to continue to expand their infrastructure, buy new aircraft and improve efficiency to their South American destinations. Their plan for global air domination was beginning to come together.
SS Air continued their meteoric rise to the number 1 airline in the world. By 1973 SS Air had bought out or run out of business all but one otherairline in Germany. With their eyes turned to crushing the only airline left in Germany to compete with them, SS Air embarked on a campaign to destroy Lufthansa and become the sole airline operating out of Germany, but alas, there was a problem, Lufthansa had been the first Airline of Germany and was being heavily subsidised by the German government, not only that, but many German citizens saw Lufthansa as the true national airline of Germany and any attempt to eliminate it would be met with negative publicity, but SS Air would let nothing stand in their way.
The Blitzkrieg Scandal
By 1977 the U.S. was talking deregulation and SS Air was not happy. Many U.S. Airlines had crept up and threatened to take over SS Air's number 1 standing in the world, but eliminating its main rival, Lufthansa, would solidify SS Air's domination and would force all other airlines to negotiate with the The Odessa Corporation. It was finally decided to make one big push to force Lufthansa to capitulate and give up to SS Air but it would have to happen before the U.S. had a chance to deregulate.
On a cold October night in 1977 two men, known only as "Hans" and "Franz" broke into Lufthansas's headquarters and planted incriminating evidence suggesting that Lufthansa was involved in corporate espionage against SS Air. A third man, known only as "The Smoking Man" caught the men in the act of planting the evidence and shot them dead. As the smoking man left the building some shadowy photographs caught him as he made his way into the woods behind the building and disappeared into the night, but the pictures only showed an outline of the man and could never be enhanced to provide any detail other than him smoking.
Monday morning when employees began to arrive at the Lufthansa headquarters they found the two men in the C.E.O's office, the incriminating paperwork strewn about the room and broken glass everywhere from where Franz had been shot and stumbled over to the C.E.O's collection of antique beer glasses and knocked them and the display over.
Der Stiffie, Germany's national paper at the time ran a front page headline "Kristallnacht" and ran an article accusing then C.E.O. Heinz Tripper of murdering the intruders because they had discovered Lufthansa was spying on SS Air.
Within days of the article Der Stiffie was informed by the police that Heinz Tripper had been out of the country at the time of the murders and the murdered men appeared to be employees of SS Air but they still had not identified the bodies. Fearing a backlash from Lufthansa for running a bogus accusation, Der Stiffie quickly descended on SS Air's Headquarters finding many of the employees partying and drinking heavily. As the reporters rushed the building they found employees had left much of their paperwork laying about and quickly discovered internal documents detailing a plan to quickly and swiftly defeat Lufthansa in a lightning campaign. SS Air's then C.E.O, Hans Schmidt, had a final comment at the end of his memo that said, "They won't know what hit them."
Due to SS Air's carelessness the press dubbed their plot as "The Blitzkrieg Plan" and SS Air's CEO had to flee the country on one of their flights to South America, but the damage was done and SS Air was in for a rough ride.
The turbulent 80's
With the "Blitzkreig Scandal" still fresh on the world's mind and the U.S. Airline industry deregulated, SS Air fell from their number 1 ranking all the way to number 50. Many German airlines that had been run out of business by SS Air found the time was right to jump back in and quickly entrenched themselves in their respective markets. While many airlines around the world had struck gold with increased travel, low fuel prices and new code sharing deals, it appeared everyone was fat and happy, everyone except SS Air.
Scandal after scandal rocked SS Air and they desperately tried everything and anything in an attempt to stem the red ink, but it seemed the world was against SS Air and no amount of PR could help. With SS Air in a virtual fight to the death, SS Air took another hit to their credibility when in 1985 then CEO Hans Schmidt was discovered to be a Commandant of a POW camp during WW II.
The timing could not have been worse, it was discovered that then CEO Hans Schmidt's real name was Col. Wilhelm Klink and that he was the commandant of Stalag 13. Tipped off that his cover had been blown, Col. Klink quickly tried to board an SS Air flight to Lima Peru under the assumed name, Hans Schmidt, an insurance adjuster from Hamburg, however, the super secret Israeli intelligence organization, The Mossad, captured Col. Klink just as he was boarding his flight. Although Col. Klink denied any connection to the Nazi's, we will never know exactly who he was as a freak accident occurred during Col. Klink's transport back to Israel to stand trial, strangest thing, as the Mossad stopped to pick up a soda, they left Col. Klink in the car by himself and somehow several unexploded bombs leftover from WW II exploded just under the car completely incinerating Col. Klink.
When things seemed like they just could not get any worse, in 1988 SS Air flight 700 was hijacked by radical members of the left wing extremist branch of the Homosexual Army of Liberation and Captain Hans Schmidt was ordered to land at Skippy the Gay Bob International Airport in Winnemucca Nevada. As Captain Schmidt circled waiting for ATC to clear him to land, the leader of the hijacker's, Mike Hunt, ordered the terrified passengers to the rear of the aircraft and had the other terrorists expose themselves to passengers temporarily blinding many of them.
After 15 tense minutes, sheriff Andy Taylor concluded negotiations with the terrorist leader and cleared flight 700 for landing. The details of the negotiations were never revealed and unfortunately we will never know what the hijackers really wanted because as the aircraft was on final approach it suddenly banked hard to the left and almost rolled onto its back before slamming into the ground right on top of the negotiating teams command center. Speculation from the NTSB as to the cause of the accident was that the leader of the hijackers exposed himself to the pilots, temporarily blinding them and in the panic, Mr. Hunt grabbed the controls forcing the aircraft into a hard bank that could not be corrected.
SS Air comes roaring back
With their airline almost bankrupt, their aging fleet needing to be replaced and bookings down 85% it seemed like SS Air was all but done for. In 1994 they grounded their planes and brought on a new CEO, Hans Schmidt, to handle the impending bankruptcy and liquidation of assests, but Hans was not quite ready to throw in the towel and instead of declaring bankruptcy he came up with a brilliant idea.
One of the upstart airlines that was giving SS Air such a hard time was a low cost carrier called Yom Kippur Airways. YKA based their operations out of Munich, but not at Munich International Airport. Instead they were the lone carrier flying out of Albert Speer Field just 20 miles away. After nearly 10 years of lawsuits and accusations by SS Air against YKA, SS Air was out of money and time, it was at this point that CEO, Hans Schmidt called a meeting at his summer home in Berchesgarden to discuss this plan with senior management.
The plan was simple, but brilliant. Mr. Schmidt had recently purchased 60,000 highly restricted stand by tickets on YKA that went anywhere they flew. The plan was to give them away at the Munich Brown Shirts last soccer game of the year under the guise they were unrestricted tickets given away by YKA. The plan was to flood their airports with passengers causing mass problems and complaints and eventually attract those customers back to SS Air.
The plan was mildly successful in so much that it caused traffic around Albert Speer Field to grind to a halt as passengers flooded the area trying to get to their free flights. The ensuing traffic jam caused many passengers to sit for as much as 24 hours waiting for a chance to find a parking spot or to get to the airport. The result was many of YKA flights leaving empty as passengers were so gridlocked outside the terminal that they couldn't get to their flights. By the time summer had ended many passengers trying to fly out of Munich had no other choice but to go over to SS Air to catch a flight out of town at greatly increased prices which helped SS Air stabilize their situation and right their sinking ship.
SS Air today
Today SS Air has re-established itself as one of the biggest and best carriers in the worldflying their new Oberfuhrerflugzeugennonazisheren ER's. While many airlines took a step backward after the events of 9-11, SS Air has continued to not only make a profit, but to expand as well. Current CEO, Hans Schmidt, recognized that they needed to expand out to more lucrative markets. Although their South and Central American markets remain profitable, Mr. Schmidt decided to expand into the Iran/Iraq/Middle Eastern Markets.
"We Germans were once very involved in the Middle East, I think the time is right for that to happen again." CEO Hans Schmidt said at a recent board meeting.
"Like our sign says above the entrance to our headquarters, "Arbeit Macht Frei" if you work hard, good things will come to you."
SS Air Leadership
- 1945-1947 - Reinhardt Wolfcastle. Founder and owner until his untimely death at the age of 45, of lead poisoning.
- 1947-1953 - Hans Schmidt. CEO and President. Most famous for his mishandling of the U.S. investigation of passenger manifests in 1953, which ultimately led to his resignation. Reportedly Hans was a Major with the Gestapo by the name of Hans Hochstetter, but could never be verified. Currently living somewhere in Equador according to his great grandson, Hans Hochstetter.
- 1953-1955 - Hans Schmidt. CEO, President, Vice President and Executive President in charge of South American affairs. Hans had the misfortune of taking over a company in financial trouble, unfortunately, Hans wasn't that bright and was unable to handle the media attention when their first accident occurred in 1955. Hans resigned the day after SS Air flight 191 crashed and retired to somewhere in Argentina. In 1990 a failed kidnapping attempt left 300 dead in the small town of Grossdeutschland, Argentina and Hans fled into the Andes mountains never to be seen again. Israeli sources said that Hans was the butcher, baker and candlestick maker to Werner Von Braum during the war. Hans great grand-daughter Ingrid Heydrich-Himmler confirmed the story, but denied any involvement with the Nazi's.
- 1955-1976 - Hans Schmidt. President and CEO. By far the longest tenured CEO of SS Air and the most successful. Hans led SS Air into what many consider to be their Golden Years and was very popular among both investors and employees. Was asked to step down in 1976 after it was divulged that he was really French. Hans died less than a year later in his home town of Vichy France of 12 self inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.
- 1976-1977 - Hans Schmidt. Chairmain and CEO of The Odessa Corporation. Hans took over for Hans and immediately went to work consolidating his power. He not only wanted SS Air, but the parent company as well, but his greed led to the Blitzkrieg scandal and his sudden departure to South America. His current whereabouts are unknown.
- 1977-1985 - Hans Schmidt. Chairman and CEO of The Odessa Corp. After what many consider to be a brilliant career on paper, Mr. Schmidt was disgraced in 1985 when it was discovered he was the commandant of a pow camp during WW II. During his 8 year tenure the airline floundered and was constantly rocked by scandal after scandal, but Mr. Schmidt always seemed to be the one whose record remained perfect. In his 8 years, there was never a recorded accident, not one flight ever left late, not one single piece of luggage was lost and not one single employee was ever injured. Mr. Schmidt had a saying whenever anyone questioned his management of the company, "You know my proud boast, I have never made a mistake at SS Air, my record speaks for itself."
- 1985-2000 - Hans Schmidt. President and CEO. Hans was not a popular CEO and had many problems along the way. It seemed that the few successes he did have were more dumb luck than talent or skill. Mr. Schmidt spent most of his time flying around the SS Air system with his longtime flight attendant girlfriend, Gertrude Linkmeyer. It seemed that Mr. Schmidt's marriage was an unhappy one so he spent the majority of his time away from home "On business". One of his most notable successes was the retirement of the older French made Trespiecedemerde 320 ER's in favor of the more popular Hidinzebimboflugzeugens.
- 2001-2007 - Hans Schmidt. CEO. SS Air has enjoyed unprecedented growth and profits under the iron fist of Mr. Schmidt, although labor relations have been very strained under his regieme. With his focus on customer service and efficiency Hans is known by employees as "That dick smoking, child molesting fucktard of a Nazi."
Hans just laughs at his reputation , but denies that he's a Nazi.