EADS Family Day
Family days at the EADS site in Manching are always something special - a fact that proved once again to be true this year. According to official sources around 100.000 were attracted by this event that coincided with the 45th anniversary of the site. It is hard to imagine that many people as the access was only permitted to employees and their families and friends, but a massive traffic jam on the motorway clearly demonstrated that people were keen on discovering what is usually hidden behind the factory's wall.
Where? Manching - Germany
For a surprise a lot of the production and maintenance lines were accessible and even photography was allowed. A line up of around 15 Eurofighter Typhoons, which were currently in final assembly, made sure that the production is on the good run and the close-up view of this great effort of engineering were a real pleasure. A sad sight wasthe very first Eurfighter DA1 (98+29), that is currently being disassembled after its last flight in December 2005. However the chances are high that it will be displayed later on in the aircraft museum in Oberschleißheim. The second jet that was presented in maintenance and with different armament configurations was the Tornado, the Luftwaffe's current air-ground aircraft. In the middle of all the Tornados were also some F-4F Phantoms, one example was even stripped and presented its shiny aluminium skin. Other aircraft attractions vastly spread around the airfield were newly acquired P-3C Orions, E-3A AWACS, C-160 Transall and many historiy aircraft in the "Museum Willy Messerschmitt" and several gate guards or airframes that are used for education purposes (F-84, Alpha Jet, F-104 G Starfighter). And not to forget, EADS' UAV demonstrator "BARRACUDA" was on display in line with the Eurofighter Typhoon.
As the flying started only 2 ½ hours after the official opening there was not much time for the static display, as some of the highlights were already presented at the beginning in the frame of the historic aircraft: the Bf 109 G-10 "Black 2" and of course the Me 262. Having seen the 262 already in berlin it was a nice pleasure to see the G-10 also up in the air once again. Other historic aircraft that participated were the Bf 108, Me 163 (glider replica) and a Bücker. The HA 200 provided already the transastion to the more modern aircraft.
But before the fast jet displays were presented the helicopters (Eurocopter NH-90 & Tiger, CH-53 and Bo 105) and a C-160 Transall showed up.
The jets up in the air at the end of the display were those which are currently worked on at Manching: F-4, Tornado and Eurofighter. At the endof the Eurofighter a second one came even in and the presented two formation fly-bys.
Though there were some organisational problems regarding the messes of people on site the amount of interesting exhibitions and presented aircraft was overwhelming for a 'Family Day'. And even if the flight display might be considered as sparse for an airshow it was a real pleasure to see all these aircraft flying that day, especially the WTD Phantom!
The only thing that I hope is that all this will be topped in 5 years, when the Manching site will celebrate its 50th anniversary.