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Did You Know...

... that Airbus has a new lineup without a player-coach?

Thomas Mack (center) with Final Four in 2011
posted Aug 23rd, 2020 - The Airbus 4-way story actually began with Thomas Spielvogel, who trained and competed with the team under this name only for one year (2012). However, he was one of the founding members of the German national 4-way team EADS, which got the name by a sponsorship from the same company, the Airbus Group.

Thomas Spielvogel started with the German national team of 1989, Moebel Kruegel, and continued with Daedalus. He did not miss a world meet until 2006. Paratec-Saar eventually replaced EADS on the top of German 4-way leaderboards and at world meets, while Thomas Spielvogel switched to 8-way competition with EADS.

His last year in the annual battles for the 4-way top spot was the 2012 season. It was the year when Thomas Mack joined the EADS/Airbus lineup. Thomas Mack's own team, Final Four, had climbed to the runner-up position year by year and discontinued after the 2nd place at the German Nationals 2011.

Thomas Mack was far from being done with 4-way training and competition and had a re-start with EADS/Airbus. In fact, he became Thomas Spielvogel's successor in keeping the EADS/Airbus lineup together. The team name finally changed to Airbus in 2014, after another EADS year with three of the returning team members (Olaf Biedermann, Thomas Mack, Goeran Meyer) and Andreas Troegele back on camera. Thomas Mack's former Final Four team mate Christian Schaefer had replaced Thomas Spielvogel.


German Nationals 2011
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class 1,8,21 N,H,F,9 B,5,O,16 A,19,13 7,J,2 3,20,18 L,15,12 22,P,4 Q,C,10,11 14,K,D,E Total Avg
1 Paratec-Saar 14 37 21 14 17 15 15 15 16 21 185 18.5
2 Final Four DeLand 14 30 20 15 18 13 13 16 17 21 177 17.7
3 Dynamite 14 31 18 14 19 12 14 14 17 20 173 17.3
4 Mixed Fource Remscheid 12 31 20 15 18 13 13 13 13 20 168 16.8
5 Usual Suspects 12 26 16 14 16 10 12 13 15 17 151 15.1
6 Neva 11 21 13 9 14 10 9 12 9 13 121 12.1
7 Sky Five 10 20 11 11 12 9 8 11 8 12 112 11.2
8 Airfix Fehrbellin 8 19 11 11 9 9 9 11 11 11 109 10.9
9 Wolfpack 9 19 11 10 12 9 8 10 8 11 107 10.7
10 Phos4 Kassel 9 18 11 10 12 6 9 9 10 11 105 10.5
11 Timber Hassfurt 9 16 13 8 12 10 8 7 7 9 99 9.9
12 Tetrachord 7 16 11 9 6 8 8 7 10 10 92 9.2

Airbus lineup at the German Nationals 2019
The same Airbus lineup dominated German 4-way competition in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Thomas Mack and his Final Four team mate Christian Schaefer finally attended their first world meet together at the FAI Mondial 2016. Both were also members of the Airbus 8-way team and had double-duties at the world meet.

In the meantime, Oceanside AtomiX copied what Thomas Mack and Christian Schaefer had done with Final Four. They climbed up the German rankings and were finally prepared to challenge Airbus for the top spot.

The Airbus lineup changed in 2017, possibly as Airbus realized the new and unexpected AtomiX threat. Two members of the previous German national 4-way team Paratec-Saar (Markus Bastuck, Joern Thiele) joined forces with Thomas Mack and Goeran Meyer, and the new Airbus lineup was still with Andreas Troegele on camera, as well.

Airbus defended the top spot successfully in 2017 and competed for Germany at the FAI Outdoor World Meet 2018, Thomas Mack once again with double-duties in 4-way and 8-way. They had also defended the German 4-way title the same year with coach Solly Williams in the lineup.


German Nationals 2019
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class E,G,M,2 B,4,1 9,K,L,O 13,15,14 22,16,3 21,6,D 5,J,12 P,17,7 10,H,C,11 8,F,19 Total Avg
1 Oceanside AtomiX 26 19 26 -1 15 -1 15 17 19 24 18 16 195 19.5
2 Airbus 22 18 -1 28 15 14 -1 15 -2 18 21 16 -1 19 186 18.6
3 Dark Energy 18 -2 14 20 11 13 16 14 17 13 14 150 15.0
4 Bardarbunga 2.0 20 14 22 13 8 -5 11 -2 14 17 13 16 148 14.8
5 Skynamite 18 14 17 11 11 14 12 -1 17 12 -1 14 140 14.0
6 NeVa FSZ Saar 19 14 15 -2 10 11 13 13 15 11 14 135 13.5
7 HorschD FSZ Saar 18 12 14 10 10 12 10 9 -2 11 11 117 11.7
8 Join Up 13 -1 13 15 -1 11 7 -2 12 10 -1 14 10 -1 11 116 11.6
9 Airgrips 10 -1 9 13 5 -1 7 10 8 9 -1 10 9 -1 90 9.0
10 4Motion 10 9 13 8 7 8 3 -1 9 6 -1 9 82 8.2

Oceanside AtomiX and Airbus Illertissen at the German Nationals 2019
New Airbus lineup with Felix Pfeiffer (2nd from left) and coach Marco Arrigo
Markus Bastuck and Joern Thiele did not continue with Airbus after the world meet in Australia. Coach Solly Williams had already been a consistent team member in training and competition, and he was back in the lineup at the German Nationals 2019. Thomas Mack had to replace Goeran Meyer at the end of the 2018 season, as well. Sarah Mertes and Alexander Prendinger became the new Airbus 4-way members, as the NSL News reported on 10 December 2018. Solly Williams and other player-coaches would fill the open slot.

That was the right time for Oceanside AtomiX to strike. They defeated Airbus and won the German 4-way title for the first time in August 2019. This still did not discourage Thomas Mack and his new Airbus team mates Sarah Mertes and Alexander Prendinger from making new plans. Thomas Mack will miss the next world meet, the FAI Mondial 2020, where his 4-way team mate Alexander Prendinger competes with the Airbus 8-way team. Thomas Mack, Sarah Mertes and Alexander Prendinger decided to make new 4-way plans and find a 4th full team member instead of continuing with player-coaches. They announced their new Airbus member last week:

"It is a great pleasure for us to officially announce today who our new 4th team member is. It took a long time until we found the right person fitting for us. This team meeting, which we had last Sunday, clearly confirmed that now the right people have come together. Welcome to Airbus member Felix Pfeiffer."

Thomas Mack is back in the same situation as he was with Final Four in 2011. This time though, he starts from the runner-up position. The NSL News will soon follow up with an introduction of the new Airbus member.

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