“I´m flying in the rain…” (visiting the Bavarian Tigers)
Once a year, the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) are organizing an open doors event called ´Tag der Bundeswehr´. During this day several military facilities are opened to public, allowing the visitors to see all branches of the armed forces at their sites.
There were sixteen locations that opened their doors to public during the open doors day on 11th June 2016. Three of them were interesting for the aviation fans – International Helicopter Training Centre (Internationales Hubschrauberausbildungszentrum) in Bückeburg, Hohn airfield (the home base of Lufttransportgeschwader 63) and the airfield in Neuburg am Donau, the home of ´Bavarian Tigers´: Taktische Luftwaffengeschwader 74.
´Tag der Bundeswehr´ in Neuburg was also connected with the 60th anniversary of the German Air Force and the 55th anniversary of the TaktLwG 74 – formerly, before the reorganization of the Luftwaffe, known as Jagdgeschwader 74 (JG 74).
The organizers were expecting 70,000 – 80,000 visitors to come to Neuburg, unfortunately due to weather conditions just approximately 20,000 people visited the airfield. The Saturday, 11th June, was cold and rainy, with the heavy showers in the morning. Those who visited the airfield despite the weather were not disappointed, the event was well organized, with interesting static and flying displays.
The flying displays were divided into two parts – morning and afternoon display – and were flown just by the Luftwaffe airplanes. The first display block was presented during the heavy shower and it was a good example showing that military aircraft really can operate in bad weather conditions.
This display started with the emergency take-off of two Eurofighters – there was an unknown aircraft spotted near the airfield and the pair of Eurofighters was sent to intercept it. That ´unknown´ aircraft turned out to be the newest addition to Luftwaffe inventory, an Airbus A400M Atlas. Shortly after is first display the spectators could watch the Eurofighter solo display. The demo aircraft was painted in a special ´60th Anniversary of Luftwaffe´ painting.
The weather during the afternoon display was slightly better. Well, at least it was not raining cats and dogs all the time. The display has started with the take-off of four Eurofighters and four Tornados. Both fours presented several flypasts over the airfield in different formations. There was another Eurofighter solo display – with the same anniversary airplane, but this time flown by the different pilot.
Combat search and rescue operation was the joint demo at the end of the afternoon display block. The shot down pilot was rescued by the parachute team and evacuated from the danger zone in a C-160 Transall, with the support of CH-53 Sea Stallion, Tornados and Eurofighters. The crew of C-160 performed an assault landing and it was really astonishing.
The static display in Neuburg included different types of modern and historic Luftwaffe aircrafts: Eurofighter (in special NATO Tiger Meet painting ´The Cyber Tiger´), Tornado, EC 135 or Phantom. The Bavarian Tigers has also invited some guests to their home base and the visitors could see F/A-18 Hornet (Switzerland), MiG-29 (Poland), JAS-39 Gripen (Czech Republic), F-16 (Belgium), F-15 (USA) and another Eurofighter (Austria). Most of the visiting aircrafts were also in special paintings, giving the opportunity to take some interesting shots, even with those weather conditions.
Additionally, there were also static displays of German army equipment, including the Patriot missile system and Ozelot air defence missile system.
The open day in Neuburg was, despite the weather conditions, the event with the interesting flying and static displays. Those who were not afraid of the rain and arrived to the airfield were not disappointed, certainly.