Open days of the Luftwaffe in Germany do happen regularly, but events with a flying display are few and far between. To mark the 60th anniversary of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) and 25 years of united German armed forces, the “Tag der Bundeswehr” was celebrated on different locations all around Germany on June, 13th. Amongst them the WTD61 in Manching has been the only location to feature a flying display of jet aircraft.
Where? Manching, Bavaria, Germany
Nörvenich’s Eurofighter wing, the German Army combat helicopters at Fritzlar and the transport aircraft at Laupheim were the other locations to present the flying assets of the Bundeswehr. The German Heeresflieger (Army Aviation) performed some helicopter demonstrations at Fritzlar, however flying displays of the Luftwaffe are still (somehow) prohibited, and it was thus up to the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 (WTD61 – Test and Evaluation Unit 61) to show some aerial demonstrations. Some of the applied restrictions for Luftwaffe aircraft do not apply in this case, as the Manching based unit is not part of the Luftwaffe, but of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and thus subordinated to the Directorate of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (AIN) at the Federal Ministry of Defense.
Due to its main task of equipping the Bundeswehr with efficient and safe materiel regarding all flying assets and the subsequent development and field testing, WTD61 features a wealthy mix of aircraft, which was shown flying during a 1h10 long flying display in the afternoon.
Tornado, Eurofighter, the C-160 Transall as well as the Bo105, CH53 and Tiger helicpopters were presented in their elements in a well coordinated display, showing solo presentations and a nice formation overflight to conclude the demonstration. With the three helicopters hovering above the runway the Transall performed an overflight with the Eurofighter and Tornado on its sides for an interesting formation.
On the ground, several aircraft were also presented. They did showcase recent high tech developments and former technologies in WTD61's two main hangars.
Decommissioned airframes, still belonging to the training and education section, were also displayed around the extensive ground displays. This included several aircraft wearing special anniversary or ‘last flight’ schemes. It was good to see them once again, and being well kept in good condition.
Though not as big as past events, this “Tag der Bundeswehr” attracted 60.000 visitors and proved to be a great day out, with the rare, and most welcomed possibility, to see solo demonstrations of the Luftwaffe aircraft. Thanks to all WTD61 people involved in setting up this event. I am looking forward to 2017, which will see the 60th anniversary of WTD61!
Note: photos have alsop been taken during the display training days, thus the better weather conditions on some shots or 97+77, which was not flying on the actual airshow dayThank you for rating this article.