Open Days German Naval Aviation 

Eggebek, Germany, 22-23 August 2003



During the weekend of 23 and 24 August 2003 Germany's Marineflieger (Naval Aviation) staged an Airshow on it's Eggebek Naval Air Station. Reason was the 90th anniversary of Naval Aviation in Germany and the 45th anniversary of the service's Marinefliegergeschwader 2. MFG 2 for short has since 1986 been flying the Panavia Tornado in the maritime strike role. One of the wing's aircraft, 45+30, had been painted for the occasion in this striking paint scheme.

The German Navy had invited various units from neighbouring countries, one nation's Air Force to respond positively being Itlay's Aeronautico Militare. In this view AMX-T two seater MM55048 from 101° Gruppo, the AMX conversion unit within 32° Stormo at Amendola. The device along the fuselage of this AMX-T is the dragon which is part of 101° Gruppo's squadron badge.

Dark clouds are literally as well as figuratively gathering over Italy's last remaining F-104S-ASA-M Starfighters. The airshow visit to Germany by two, this one being MM6770/9-35, might well be the last. Replacement by temporarily leased F-16's in anticipation of the definitive Eurofighter Typhoon is now under way. In 2004 the Starfighter will be retired by the Italian Air Force, the last user of this classic of post war fighters. 

One of the few remaining USAFE fighter wings in Europe is the 31 FW based at Aviano, Italy. It's component squadron 510 FS brought this F-16C Block 40 88-0413/AV. This jet has been marked as the squadron's commander's aircraft, nicknamed "Buzzard 01". It was accompanied by a more anonymous F-16 from the sister squadron 555 FS "Triple Nickel".

Always a popular item at airshows are British Harriers. These Harrier pilots were well aware of this and after having performed one of the fastest and most abrupt overhead breaks this writer ever saw flew a very noisy but very welcome hover along the crowdline. After this, ZD323/04 from No. 4 sq RAF Cottesmore can be seen taxiing in.

Not just Italian Starfighters are having their last operational year, the same also goes for German MiG.29's. After having been inherited from Eastern Germany following reunification in 1990, the Luftwaffe flew 24 MiG.29 fighters with JG 73 at Laage. Introduction of the Eurofighter Typhoon is now imminent and thus it was decided to dispose of the MiG's. For the princely sum of 1 Euro apiece they have been sold to the Polish Air Force with which they will continue to serve for a number of years. 29+10 received this special paint scheme as a memorial to the German MiG's exploits in the USA. On it's left side an American flag had been applied.

The relatively small Austrian Air Force sent three of it's aircraft to Eggebek, all different types. Apart from a Short Skyvan transport and a SAAB Draken fighter, this SAAB 105 Oe coded GF-16 light attack and advanced training aircraft was part of the static display. For the last few years it has been the only one of it's type in the Austrian Air Force to have been painted in a tiger livery. A participant for nearby Jagel's Tiger Meet 2004 perhaps?

A civilian aircraft in pages devoted to military aviation must be something special. That can be said of this Douglas A-4N Skyhawk N437FS. Flown by BAE Systems on behalf of the German Luftwaffe for target towing work from Wittmundhafen, it's former owner was the Israeli Air Force with which it flew as 384.

During 2002, the Skyhawks replaced former Royal Danish Air Force TF-100F Super Sabres.

The BAe Hawk T.1A, like XX190/190 from 208 sq, is being used by the RAF as an advanced trainer. The British brought three to Eggebek, two were parked on the flightlines for participation in the flying display. In Britain, the Hawk is also used for the same type of target representation work as the A-4 above.

This ungainly PZL M.28 Bryza serialled 1116 was sent to Eggebek by it's owner, the Polish Navy. The M.28, a Polish built derivative of the Russian Antonov An.28, is Poland's maritime reconnaissance aircraft. It is being flown by 28 Eskadra MW. Note that it is nearly being dwarfed by it's neighbour, a German Air Force C-160D Transall.

As a contrast to the M.28, a picture of a similarly roled but rather larger French maritime patrol aircraft. This Dassault Atlantique 2, serialled 6, is part of Flotille 21F. The German Navy itself operates the Br.1150 Atlantic (note the spelling), but the German ones are of an earlier generation.

Helicopters are a major part of any naval air arm. This Lynx Mk.90B S-134 is from Denmark's Navy. It was built in the early '80's as a Mk.80 and since received a new airframe and rotor system. Yet it still is serailled S-134!

30 years of Bo.105 operations with the German Army prompted this service to spray Bo.105P anti-tank version serialled 86+66 in this colour scheme based on the German national colours. The helicopter belongs to the Heeresflieger Waffenschule (Army Aviation School) at Bückeburg.

Apart from the Tornado equipped naval strike wing, the SAR helicopter equipepped Marineflieger Geschwader 5 at Kiel-Holtenau also celebrated 45 years of service. Initially with US supplied Sikorsky SH-34 Seabats, the unit has flown Sea King Mk.41's like 89+57 since 1974. 45 years of SAR service was of course the reason behind this special paint job.

A visitor from afar was this Turkish Air Force F-16D 92-0024 from 182 Filo, 8 AJU from Diyarbakir. It was accompanied by a single seat F-16C.

A Danish Army SAAB T-17 Supporter, T-425, at Eggebek's flightline. It was part of a group of no less than five of these training and light communications aircraft. Four were on the flightline, a fifth was in the static park.

All, in all, Eggebek's Air Show was well worth a visit with an excellent turnout of aircraft which were very well placed. The arrival day, Friday 22 August started wet but turned very bright. Saturday had similar weather, albeit sunnier. Sunday was a lot worse, with the sun not breaking through the clouds until late in the afternoon.

Sadly, this was Eggebek's final Air Show. In 2005, the fast jet component of Germany's Marineflieger will disband. After this, only long range Atlantic reconnaissance aircraft and Sea King and Sea Lynx helicopters will remain.

Thanks and compliments go to all at Eggebek who made the show and particularly the enthousiast days during which these pictures were made such a great succes!




All pictures (c) Hans Rolink.