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A 50th anniversary is always something special, and when a flight test centre is celebrating it you have the right ingredients for a lot of surprises. Exactly that was the case at Manching near Ingolstadt in southern Germany when the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 (WTD61) opened its doors on September 15th, 2007.
Where? Manching (ETSI)
The WTD61 was founded on October, 1st 1957 in Oberpfaffenhofen and has been given the task to examine and evaluate everything that was due to fly within the Luftwaffe. But by that time it was still called "Erprobungsstelle" ("E-Stelle", or "Test Centre"), which was still the case when it moved to its current location in 165/66. In 1987 it changed its name from "Erprobungsstelle 61" to "Wehrtechnische Dienststelle für Luftfahrzeuge des Bundeswehr" (WTD 61) and by doing so also got the recognition of the widespread field of activities in aircraft and system testing. It is today the main test and evaluation unit for flying systems in the German armed forces.
To celebrate this anniversary a Tornado and a Phantom were painted in bright orange, similar to the test equipment that is installed in the aircraft. Furthermore aerodynamic and flight mechanic formulas were written all over the aircraft together with the German national colours and the WTD61 emblem. Additionally the F-4 has got 'Spooky' on the bottom side, the Tornado carrying an emblem with a Tornado saying "Tornado Flight Test".
Tornado 45+30 - s/c 50 years WTD61
F-4F Phantom 37+16 - s/c 50 years WTD61
Static Display: Phantom, Tornado, CH-53G 84+02 (special markings)
Published: 15 September 2007