Ofsv Liedenbrock left his Aviatik and approached the group of men who had come out to watch him land. One was wearing the two pips of a Hauptmann. Liedenbrock stood to attention and saluted him.
"Officier Stellvertreter Axel Liedenbrock, sir. I have been ordered to ferry this Aviatik to Phalempin and then report for duty to Hauptmann Steinborn. Is that yourself, sir?"
"It is indeed," Steinborn looked Axel up and down as if he were appraising a horse. "That was a good landing. How many hours do you have?"
"15 hours solo, sir." Liedenbrock replied. "Plus the three additional hours it took me to reach here today. The weather has been too poor, sir. Otherwise I would have more." "I see. Well, it's not perfect of course, but there is only one solution which is more flying!" Steinborn smiled. "Welcome to Feldfleiger Abteilung 18, Officier Stellvertreter. Here we are the eyes of the army. Very important!" Steinborn turned and spoke to one of the enlisted men. "Caspar, show this man to his quarters!" He smiled at Liedenbrock. "The officers are billeted in various farm buildings nearby. You should be comfortable enough. I shall see you at dinner."
The next day Steinborn flew with Liedenbrock in the new Aviatik. The Hauptmann explained that this was a familiarisation flight in the general area of the aerodrome. "I want you to see how the lie of the land compares to your maps." The Saxon captain told him as they prepared to take-off. "Go where I direct you. Note the road and rail junctions. We will go as far north as Lille and as far south as Lens. We range further in our duties of course, but this is our home area and I want you to know it well."
They spent the morning flying up and down the Lille-Lens rail line. Liedenbrock noted how the roads and rail line between these two towns dominated the area and were a ready guide to the airman. Two hours later Liedenbrock landed. Steinborn climbed out and addressed his pilot.
"Which flying school did you come from?" "Koln, sir." "Is that a circus school?" "No sir. What do you mean sir?" "You were rolling all over the sky, Officier Stelvertreter. Perhaps you think yourself an acrobat! Keep my aeroplanes on a level wing. You are there to drive the observer to what he wishes to see. You will conduct this in a fashion appropriate to officers and gentlemen of His Majesty the Kaiser's armed forces. No more trick flying!"
That evening, one of the other pilots, Feldwebel Bruecher, gave Axel some advice on this. "The observers want a steady base to make their notes from. These Aviatiks sideslip badly if you use the ailerons. So do not use them! Turn with the rudder. The ailerons are for controling any adverse roll."
Hauptmann Steinborn took the new Aviatik for his own use. Liedenbrock and his regular observer, Oblt Kamper were to use an older machine. It was still better than the old 'Arrow' type biplanes that Axel had been training with.
"This is another training flight." Steinborn had told him. "Fly up to the lines and then up and down for a time. See what you can see."
The lines were quiet in the snow of early February. No-one moved in the open, but Liedenbrock could clearly see the networks of trench-lines, they were so clear that it looked like they had been drawn on the landscape.
The next day was Liedenbrock's first active mission. It was no different from the day before, but this time Kamper looked at the British lines below and made notes of anything he considered worth reporting. After an hour the Aviatik touched down again at Phalempin.