Medieval Mini Tiger Meet 2023 in Neuburg

In the first decade of July 2023, Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 74 (74th Tactical Air Force Wing – TaktLwG 74) organized – at its home base in Neuburg a.d. Donau – a Medieval Mini Tiger Meet. The event celebrated the 10th anniversary of ´Bavarian Tigers´ in NATO Tiger Association, and thus was an opportunity to reveal the ´74 Tiger´ special aircraft livery. 

Two years ago, TaktLwG 74 celebrated its 60th anniversary. The unit was founded in 1961 as the last former fighter wing of the re-established German Air Force (Luftwaffe), and designated Jagdgeschwader 74 (74th Fighter Wing – JG 74).

On 18th March 2013 during a solemn ceremony organized at Neuburg, the unit officially took over the Tiger Spirit from disbanded Jagdbombergeschwader 32 (32nd Fighter-bomber Wing) and became known as the ´Bavarian Tigers´. In October of the same year, due to further structural changes of the German Air Force, JG 74 was transferred into TaktLwG 74.

Initially, TaktLwG 74 received status of NATO Tiger probationary member, but in 2016 it was changed into a full membership (click here to read the full story of JG 74 / TaktLwG 74).

In July of 2019, Mini Tiger Meet was for the first time organized in Neuburg. The units that sent their aeroplanes to participate in that event were TaktLwG 51 ´Immelmann´ of the Luftwaffe and 36º Stormo (36th Air Wing) of the Italian Air Force. The size of Neuburg air base does not allow any large-scale aviation exercises (hence the term ´mini meet´), therefore crews from Switzerland, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Belgium joined as observers, without their aircraft.

The moniker ´medieval´ comes from the Neuburg castle and its huge medieval festival held there every two years. At that time, citizens of Neuburg, reenactors and tourist – many of them wearing historical costumes – celebrate the festival of old customs and the entire city centre travels back in time to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The date of the Mini Tiger Meet was, intentionally, was aligned with the term of the castle festival and named appropriately.

The tenth anniversary of the ´Bavarian Tigers´ was marked with special ´tiger livery´, applied on Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon ´30+76´ (click here for more information about that aircraft) and officially named ´74 Tiger´.

Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon ´74 Tiger´

The new livery was for the first time revealed on 6th July 2023, during ´family day´ organized at Fliegerhorst Neuburg (Neuburg air base). On the following day, aviation enthusiasts and the media had their chance to see the ´74 Tiger´ during Spotterhour´ held at the base.

Approximately 400 aviation fans arrived to Neuburg on 7th July 2023, not only from Germany but also from Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. At the airfield, they could enjoy the static display of the ´74 Tiger´ and buy some aviation souvenirs at squadrons´ stands, as well as take pleasure in watching the great programme of flying displays.

The show at Neuburg started from presentation of historical aircraft that, the day before, took part in the family event at the base. They included de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide, Nord 1002 Pingouin II (a French-built, post-war variant of Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun), North American T-6 and AT-6G Texan trainers, Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan and North American T-28C Trojan.

Although quite short, it was an interesting part of the flying programme. That display block, rather unusual for the Tiger Meet events, was underlined by outstanding low pass over the runway performed by the AT-11 crew, as well as by dynamic take-off and flypast of the T-28C Trojan.

The next to present their aircraft to the aviation enthusiasts gathered at the base were the ´Bavarian Tigers´ and their guests. First and foremost, it meant a variety of Eurofighter Typhoon jets from TaktLwG 74. Then, there were another two Eurofighters from 36º Stormo ´Riccardo Hellmuth Seidl´ of the Italian Air Force. The aircraft performed take-off and landing operations, a few full-power flypasts and also taxied just in front of the spotters´ group.

Then, three more aircraft participated in the flying display and then landed at the Neuburg base, creating additional opportunity for the spectators to take some interesting photos. The first of them was LET L-410 ´Turbolet´ UVP-E20 of the Czech Air Force that also taxied closely to the spectators´ area, then there were Airbus A400M and Panavia Tornado IDS of the Luftwaffe. The Tornado crew performed a spectacular low pass at the arrival that delighted all the aviation enthusiast at the base. Moreover, it was the aircraft ´44+69´ with special tail art, made for occasion of Air Defender exercise that concluded just a few days prior to the Mini Tiger Meet.

The Bavarian Tigers

The flying display over Neuburg airfield included also an amazing performance of two Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft from the Top Aces company. The ´Scooters´ made a few flypasts, initially flying in formation with a Eurofighter Typhoon of TaktLwG 74 and then one more time presented to the visitors in two individual passes over the runway.

Among other Luftwaffe aircraft that could be seen over Neuburg that day there were: Bombardier Global 5000 and Airbus A321-251NX (click here for more information about the military variant of the A321), as well as Airbus H145 helicopter (civil cargo variant operated by the Luftwaffe).

During the event, the aviation enthusiasts were able to take several photos of the ´74 Tiger´ aircraft that was all the time available on the static display. As mentioned above, there was also a possibility to buy some souvenirs, not only related to the ´Bavarian Tigers´ and Luftwaffe, but also at stands organized by other Tiger units that participated in the Mini Tiger Meet 2023, but without their aircraft – the 313th Tiger Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Tigerstaffel (2. Staffel – 2nd Squadron) of the Austrian Air Force.

Last but not least, perfect organization of the spotter day must be mentioned. Not only in regards of information, communication and logistics, but mostly in terms of surviving that hot day at the airfield. On the day the event in Neuburg was held, Bayern began to suffer from a heat wave and on 7th July temperatures reached 32°C in the shadow. Therefore, a big thank you goes to the base personnel and organizers of the spotter day, as there was enough cold water for everyone during the entire event, as well as some shadowed areas to cool down.

In conclusion, it should be noted that during the Tiger Meet 2023, held between 2nd and 13th October in Gioia Del Colle air base in Italy, the ´74 Tiger´ aircraft was recognized with ´Best Tiger Aircraft´ award. Moreover, TaktLwG 74 won the prestigious ´Silver Trophy´ award for the best unit of the Tiger Meet 2023.

More images from the Medieval Mini Tiger Meet 2023 in Neuburg: