The „Tag der Bundeswehr“ became a regular event to promote the German Armed Forces. Held on a Saturday usually around the second week-end in June several locations all around Germany open their doors to present the different tasks of the Bundeswehr to the public. This also includes the Luftwaffe. After last year’s major location Neuburg in 2017 once again Southern Germany did host one of the major Luftwaffe events. The Lufttransportgeschwader 61 (LTG61 at Penzing has been chosen as Luftwaffe’s main location of festivities. Unfortunately this fell together with a sad event that is just on the doorstep of this tradition-rich wing.
Where? Landsberg/Lech, Penzing Airfield, Germany
When? June / September 2017
The Luftwaffe’s Lufttransportgeschwader 61 is not only the oldest Squadron, it is also the most southerly located and close to the Alps. Even on days with just normal visibility the impressive mountain chain, cumulating in the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, can be seen from the airfield. Due to this proximity the chamois buck became the heraldic animal of the wing, and the main theme on the wing’s current – and final – special colored C-160D Transall 51+01, the „Silberne Gamms“ – the “silver chamois”.
2017 saw the 60th anniversary of LTG61, and will also see the disbandment towards the end of the year. With the arrival of the new Airbus A400M transport aircraft the venerable C-160D Transall becomes obsolete and years ago the decision has been taken that with the coming end of the Luftwaffe Transall Penzing will also have to close its doors.
As a short rundown of the wings history, it should be mentioned that before Lufttransportgeschwader 61 received their aircraft, transport duties were handled by the venerable Douglas C-47 Dakota and Nord N2501 Noratlas. Of course both of these types are also represented in the anniversary patch.
With the arrival of the C-160 Transall the wing moved from Neubiberg to its current home Penzing in 1971. Since then these reliable aircraft saw action in many parts of the world, flying humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, or serving NATO on the Balkans, in Afghanistan or recently in Mali.
Much credit has to be given to LTG61 personal for their effort and motivation to still set up the “Tag der Bundeswehr” in June, just month before their beloved wing would cease flying operations. They were also not put off to create a stunning colorscheme on one of their Transalls and present it around Europe. The basic silver color serves as a reminder to the first Transall cargo aircraft that were introduced into Luftwaffe service.
On the Thursday prior to the main event a „Spotter’s Day“ has been organized as well. 250 enthusiasts were given the possibility to attend the fly-in to the show as well as to see some of the rehearsals for the „Tag der Bundeswehr“ itself.
Obviously the star of the day was the „Silberne Gamms“. Transall C-160D 51+01 was adorned in an overall silver color scheme to remember the appearance of the first C-160s when they were delivered to the Luftwaffe from 1968 on. The tail was adorned with a black chamois, the emblem of the wing, as well as with the Bavarian. On the front fuselage the farewell emblem represented the main transport aircraft flown by the wing since its foundation in 1957: C-47 Dakota, Noratlas 2501 and of course the C-160D Transall. To form a historic formation a C-47 Dakota from the UK as well as the sole flying Noratlas based on Southern France near Marseille were invited and performed a, though distant, but nonetheless formation fly-by.
During the Spotter Day also the Luftwaffe’s Eurofighter solo display was performed as well as there were several appearances of the Luftwaffe’s newest asset, the H145M helicopter, which replaced the Bo105 in its role to support the special operating forces (SOF). It fly in from nearby Laupheim as well as the CH-53 heavy transport helicopter.
Tag der Bundeswehr
Two days later for the Tag der Luftwaffe not only the historic formation consisting of the Dakota, Noratlas and Transall as well as the Eurofighter solo display were repeated, also the Luftwaffe role demonstration was shown including air-air refueling from an A310MRTT, Tornados performing in their ground attack role as well as the Airbus A400M transport aircraft. Due to a perfect spotter day your reporter decided that this was an excellent opportunity to bid farewell to this wing and decided not to attend the Tag der Bundeswehr festivities itself.
Penzing Fly-Out – Servus Transall
On September 28th, 2017 a ceremony was held at Pezing to bid farewell to the wing. Though flying operations will continue until at least the end of 2017, they will only be performed at a very low scale with only three to four aircraft remaining within the wing. In the meantime, LTG61 will move on to other Units and that day was the Moment for all of them to bid farewell to their Transall, including the Special coloured aircraft 50+64 carrying the Bavarian Slogan “Servus Transall…mach’s guad!”.
For sure this tradition-rich wing with its highly motivated, and Bavarian-throughout, people will sorely be missed once the doors at Penzing are finally shut.
LTG61 Penzing – C-160D Transall Farewell Airshow – Photo Gallery
Note: the images of the special-marked C-160D Transall (50+64) “Servus Transall…mach’s guad!” were taken on September 28th during the farewell ceremony of LTG61. Airshow photos are from the “Tag der Bundeswehr” Event in June, which also served to say “Good bye” to other squadrons and the local public.