Special Report : Neuburg JG74 Spotter Day 2013
JG74 Spotter Day 2013 at Neuburg Air Base
Helmut Richter reports on the Neuburg spotters event held in August 2013 by the German Air Force's Eurofighter wing based there.
Neuburg Air Base in Bavaria, home of Jagdgeschwader 74 (JG74) has hosted several spotter days in recent years. In 2008, a spotter day was held in the course of the "JG74 Phantom Phlyout" celebrations and in 2011, the 40 year anniversary of JG74 provided the backdrop for another spotter day. This year, a spotter day was announced for 29 August without any formal reference to any specific JG74 related event.
In the course of the day, which benefited from beautiful weather and perfect photo conditions for runway and taxiway and a large part of the small static display, two developments at JG74 and beyond became clearly visible.
Firstly, the new membership of JG74 in the NATO Tiger Association did not only bring forward an extensive flying and static presentation of EF2000 30+29 with its attractive tiger colour scheme as well as some tiger merchandising, but also a range of tigers from other units like Tornado 46+57 of AG51, JAS 39C 9238 of 211tl and F-16AM FA-106 of 31 Sqn.
The second development is the major re-organisation of the German Armed Forces which is still going on. CH-53GS 84+42 was a welcome participant with full ISAF markings applied but no indication of unit association. In fact it now flies with Luftwaffe’s Hubschraubergeschwader 64 (HSG64), which exchanged its NH90s for the CH-53s, formerly flying with the Heer. Tornado 43+01 from Büchel did several fly-bys and touch-and-goes in its new special color scheme showing “Taktisches Lufwaffengeschwader 33” (Tactical Air Force Wing 33) on its fin. Formerly JaboG33 it formally became TaktLwG33 on 1 October 2013, so at the time of the spotter day the colour scheme was somewhat ahead of time. At the same point in time all other fast jet wings of Luftwaffe (JaboG31, JG73, JG74, AG51) became TaktLwG as well indicating a change to multi-role rather than specialized unit.
Tornado 98+59 of the WTD61 test unit from nearby Manching was another less common participant. It was interesting to see because the Norm '83 camouflaged aircraft has been fitted with a replacement fin that has the overall grey scheme. Several touch-and-goes and a fly-by with its wings swept did a lot to please the spotting crowd.
Overall, it was not really a big event and the number of JG74 sorties flown that day was not more than a standard day programme with no EF2000 two-seater flying at all. Nevertheless, the event benefited from some interesting visitors and provided excellent photo opportunities both in the flying programme and a large part of the static display. So, the organizers need to be credited for hosting an event which was well worth the travel. Let us hope that this was not the last of its kind at Neuburg.
Report and photos by Helmut Richter ( view portfolio )
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Last Modified: 12 December 2013