Where? Neuburg / Zell Airbase, Bavaria, Germany
The TaktLwG74 celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2016. At the same time the German Luftwaffe is looking back at its foundation 60 years ago in 1956. Both events were a good reason to celebrate one event of the German-wide „Day of the Armed Forces“ at Neuburg airfield.
When founded in 1961 the JG74 operated the F-86 „Sabre“, before converting to the F-104 „Starfighter“ and later on the F-4F „Phantom II“. In 2006 the Eurofighter was introduced into service, which completely overtook from the Phantom in 2008.
A lot has happened since then, amongst others the Jagdgeschwader 74 has been renamed into „Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 74“ (Tactical Air Wing 74) in October 2013, the previous two Squadrons „Zapatas“ and „Falcons“ ceased to exist, and the Wing overtook the NATO Tiger tradition from the now disbanded JaboG32 and became a full NATO Tiger member this year. This resulted in many interesting visiting aircraft for this event such as the recent Tiger schemes from Belgium or Switzerland.
As a result of this the wing surprises with special schemes, and the recent one was obviously presented this year. The „Cyber Tiger“ was parked head to head with the Luftwaffe 60th anniversary special scheme applied to one of the wings Eurofighters. As a first since the Eurofighter’s introduction into service more than 10 years ago the Luftwaffe provides a solo display with the Eurofighter, proudly presented by one of Neuburg’s pilots! This day was officially part of the festivities of the Armed Forces, and announced to have a flying program. Though flying was limited to national assets only, you can even call it an airshow.
To start the day a dark spot could be seen on the horizon, when the alarm of the QRA started to scream. An ‚enemy aircraft‘ in form of an Airbus A400M Military transport aircraft approached and was subsequently intercepted by two Eurofighters. They took off in full afterburner and turned into the ‚intruder‘ within visual range of the visitors and brought it to a simulated landing to the airfield.
It was followed by the Eurofighter solo display, unfortunately as the previous presentation under a gray sky with drizzling rain.
During the long lunch break it was time to walk around the static display, which was ok, but the aircraft were fenced off to close for some nice photos. Time and cold outside temperatures were better used to get a steak or a (non-)alcoholic beer…
After the speech of the Defense Minister that was transmitted to all 16 location around Germany that celebrated this day, action started again. A C-160 Transall took off, and four Eurofighters and four Tornados of TaktLwG33 at Büchel passed the spectators on the taxiway. Time to start the SNAP (Significance of National Air Power) demonstration!
The scenario is the rescue of a downed pilot, who is located by paratroopers jumping out of a CH-53 helicopter. During the recovery action Tornados and Eurofighters circle the airfield and present different tactical maneuvers. Unfortunately this was again against a dark gray sky, and thus only the take-offs and landings were worth for photography. To finish the day the Eurofighter solo flew again, making its own clouds and disappearing in the clouds from time to time.
Weather was really a shame, resulting in visitor numbers well below the intended 70.000. Only an estimated 20.000 visited the event, but showed great interest from the early morning on. In the afternoon the airfield was filled up rather well, and during the last Eurofighter display it was very cool to see all heads turing up to the sky and people being fascinated by the raw power and maneuverability of this jet. How great this decision was by the Luftwaffe to allow this!
The event itself also saw many interesting foreign visitors, which mainly arrived on Friday and could be photographed during the „Spotterhours“ that were visited by 300 photographers. Apart from some photos of the static display the highlights were of course the arrivals of jets such as a Polish MiG-29 from Malbork (interestingly this twinseater is a former German MiG-29GT) or two US 104FW F-15C Eagles, which are currently on deployment in Europe. The Belgian F-16AM of the 31 Tiger Squadron was of course their Tiger jet and a Luftwaffe A400M used the day to do some training for the next day and surprised the photographers with several low approaches. And just as the fly-in the fly-out on Monday was a nice chance to catch the participants once again in the air!
- Category: 2016
- Published: 07 January 2017
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