Don't blame it on the weatherman…
The forecast for the week-end of August, 26th/27th for the region around Bremen was not very favourable, but as I have already booked my flight to visit the MFG3 (Marinefliegergeschwader 3) Airday 2006 in Nordholz near Cuxhaven quite in advance it was then already too late to step back from this wet adventure.
The homepage for the event has already been put online in January and announced a big show.
Where? MFG 3 "Graf Zeppelin" - Nordholz / Germany
After two very nice events with the MFG2 and their Tornados in the last two years I became a big fan of the Marineflieger and have therefore foreseen to stay there for the fly-in on Friday until Monday for the fly-out. And of course I also did not want to miss the Farewell of the Breguet Atlantic in the MPA role (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) and the introduction of the PC-3 Orion in Nordholz at the same time. Fortunately the remarkable shape of the Atlantic can still be seen in the future in the German sky as three special equipped SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) aircraft will remain operational in the near future.
Atlantic & P-3C Orion take-offs
Unfortunately for the fly-in on Friday the weather was already dull and cold, which is not very typical for a late August even in the north of Germany. Additionally to this a lot of the visitors did not show up that day or were already on base.
But the "Spotter Day" on Saturday morning made up for this. For a 20€ entry fee (including an Airday patch and entry to the Aeronauticum nice photos of the visiting aircraft were possible. Even the sun came out on that morning and compensated for the day before. The highlights were for sure the two special coloured aircraft ofthe MFG3 (Atlantic 61+11 and Sea Lynx 83+09) together with a Canadian CP-140 Aurora. There was a real good variety of aircraft present, however some of the aircraft that were awaited eagerly did not show up. Furthermore a tour of the vast display showed that not many other European naval air arm aircraft were present, especially no Atlantics/Atlantiques or Orions, which would have been a very nice gesture to honour the retirement and introduction of these two types in Germany. Personally I did also miss a Kormoran equipped AG51 Tornado, since this task was handed over by the former MFG2 to the Luftwaffe.
On the other hand one has to be very happy with everything that is being offered nowadays and so I took quite some photos and even slides of the aircraft, among them also one of my favourite propeller aircraft, the Dornier Do228.
Saturday afternoon saw the flight rehearsal of a hostage evacuation demonstration by using two Sea Lynx and a Sea King helicopter and some more sunny spells on the static display.
Breguet Atlantic Solo Display
Sea Lynx Demo
German Navy Demo (Sea Lyx & Sea King)
The show day itself started with splendid sunshine and a clear blue sky with only some clouds, what I used once more to take more or missed photos of the static display. At 10am the flight display started and the parachutist used the last pieces of blue sky for their demonstration.
Shortly afterwards an Austrian PC-6 and PC-7 performed under a grey sky and just in time for the take-off of the three Marineflieger Atlantics and one Orion the rain started. Fortunately the 4-ship formation was able to perform and so did the solo Atlantic. Still during the morning 3 different versions of the Sea Lynx (equipped either with a gun, Sea Skuas or a sonar buoy) were shown and one more helicopter presented a solo display. Shortly afterwards heavy rain showers hit the airfield and the flying in the morning was cancelled.
And so was the rest of the day, because after the lunch break from midday until 2pm the situation did not improve. The Aurora was planned to fly and has for this reason already been towed out of the static display, but it did not move. Later a German Orion lined up on the runway as well, but then rolled only down the runway and taxied back to its parking position.At around 3pm it was finally announced that the flying was cancelled and when they said that a parking is going to be flooded a lot of the people decided to finally leave the show and rescue their cars before the parking places become completely muddy.
Special Coloured Atlantic 61+11
Lockheed P-3C Orion
German Navy Static Display
The show was planned to last until 6pm. As a lot of other visitors did others already leave during the lunch break, only a few people were still present at the airfield. when I left at half past 5.
After getting a hot shower I went back and had a beer at the party and enjoyed the setting sun and interesting cloud formation in the background of the static display.
The fly-out on Monday was quite nice with some good photos of the participating aircraft, especially the Canadian Orion and the Dutch Orion, but unfortunately without any local flying of the MFG3. Unfortunately I was some minutes late for the Phantom take-offs with two bright afterburners in the still gloomy sky.
So I came back home with mixed emotions after that week-end. Personally I did hope for more aircraft on the ground and in the air and have therefore been a bit disappointed by the static display, but on the other hand was very happy to still have seen the German Atlantics flying.
Furthermore I feel very sorry for the organizers, because with only 25.000 visitors these numbers lay well below their expectations. They did a great job and devoted a lot of their dedication to the show, but you cannot blame anyone for the weather.
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