MILAVIA > Specials > 50 Years WTD 61 Anniversary Event and Specials Last updated: 20 May 2009
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Special Markings : 50 Years WTD 61 Anniversary Event and Specials

50 YEARS WTD-61

Giampaolo Tonello visited Manching in Germany to check out the small public event and specially painted jets celebrating 50 years of WTD 61.


This year marked the 50 year anniversary of the Wehrtechnischen Dienststelle 61 (WTD 61), the Luftwaffe’s experimental unit. WTD 61 was established on October 1st, 1957, on the Oberpfaffenhofen Air Base. In 1965-1966 the unit was moved to its current home at Manching, near Ingolstadt.

The main focus of WTD 61 is the evaluation of aircraft, helicopters and their weapons system for operation with the Luftwaffe as well as future development projects in which Germany takes part. The EFA/Typhoon is one of these for example. Manching is also used by the European industrial consortium EADS (European Aeronautic and Defence and Space) and the Messerschmitt foundation.

To celebrate WTD 61's 50 years of existence, a small event was organised on September 15th with a static and flying display of the Luftwaffe's inventory and some warbirds of the Messerschmitt foundation. Stars of the display and static show were the F-4F and Tornado painted in an orange special livery with many scientific formulas on it to commemorate the unit's anniversary.

The flying display started with some oldtimers, in particular the BF-109G-10, the BF108 Taifun and T-6 Texan. Interesting were the new attack helicopter Tiger and the NH-90 displays, with a formation flypast together with a CH-53 and UH-1. In the end the Luftwaffe's newest fighter, the Eurofighter EF2000 (EFA), showed us its capabilities right after the display by the F-4F Phantom II. It certainly was a very nice and impressive display, but... the old fascinating Phantom will always keep its place in our hearts!

One of WTD 61's Tornados taking off. WTD 61 Tornados performing a buddy refueling demonstration. Tornado 98+59 landing.
Helicopter formation: CH-53G, Tiger, UH-1D, BO-105. The Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter is being tested for service with the Heeresflieger. CH-53G Stallion test aircraft.
UH-1D 'Huey' continues to serve with the German armed forces. CH-53 84+02 of WTD-61 also carried anniversary markings. Airbus A310 10+25 making a touch and go.
The Airbus A310 MRTT will be the Luftwaffe's aerial tanker. Eurofighter Typhoon 98+03 with air-to-air missiles. Eurofighter Typhoon with afterburners on.
Eurofighter Typhoon 98+03 showing its flying skills. Eurofighter Typhoon 98+03 touching down after its impressive display. Beautiful vortex photo of the C-160 Transall 51+08, also belonging to WTD 61
Bölkow BO-105 86+29 on static. Although WTD 61 is a Luftwaffe unit, it also tests German army helicopters. UH-1D 70+53 on static, notice the winch installation.
Some of the older jets preserved at Manching: G-91R, F-104G, Su-20, F-4F Another classic, the Fouga Magister, now flown under civilian markings. Perhaps the most special aircraft in the Messerschmidt Foundation's fleet: the Me-163 Komet.
One of the Messerschmidt Foundation's BF-109 warbirds. Focke-Wulf FW-190 Also flying was this restored T-6 Texan.
50 Years of WTD 61 - the Luftwaffe's test unit
Specially painted F-4F Phantom II and Tornado IDS in formation. The special orange scheme include various formulas.
The mighty Phantom in anniversary on static display. 50 years of flight testing
The Phantom on its way to the runway. Good side view of the anniversary scheme, a combination of orange and German national colours.
F-4F 36+16 taking off for its display. Afterburners on!
Better look of the scheme, revealing the word test on the aircraft's back and 5, 0 on its wings. Mr. Spooky making its appearance on the underside of the aircraft.
36+16 releasing its brake chute on landing. Tornado IDS 45+03 taking off to fly its anniversary display.
The two specials together on static, looking surprisingly good in the orange colour. Both aircraft have their tail painted in the German colours with the unit's insignia.
The Tornado on its way to the runway. Tornado 45+03 has the unit's insignia painted on the underside.
Tornado 45+03 putting on its display. The Tornado touching down.

Report and photos by Giampaolo Tonello ( view portfolio )