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Taifun trail

Michael Balter looks at the second Luftwaffe unit to convert to the Eurofighter Taifun (Typhoon), JG (Fighter Wing) 74

The seventh Eurofighter unit in operation, Jagdgeschwader (JG) 74 (Fighter Wing 74) of the German Air Force saw the delivery of its first four single-seat plus a single twin-seater Eurofighter Taifun (Typhoon) aircraft on 25 July 2006 at their air base at Zell, near Neuburg/Donau. The Taifuns came direct from Laage Airbase, home of JG 73, the first Luftwaffe unit to convert to the new aeroplane.

Taifun cometh

Phantom phinale

Two F-4F Phantom smoke trails became visible, followed by the five Taifuns for JG 74, the twin-seater leading the four-ship single-seater formation. After a few formation passes of all five aircraft the first Taifuns touched down at at 11:31 local - the memorable moment when JG 74 transition from the smoky F-4 Phantom to the fourth-generation fighter aircraft began.

JG 74 will focus purely on operational and tactical flying, in comparison to JG 73 at Rostock-Laage, whose responsibilities, in addition to its operational role, also includes the pilot training for the German Air Force and the conversion to type of the future Austrian Eurofighter pilots. The German Air Force has already accumulated over 2,000 flying hours on Taifun.

After shut-down of all five Taifuns on the flightline, Lieutenant General Kreuzinger-Janik, Commander Luftwaffenführungskommando, handed over a symbolic key to the Wing Commander of the JG 74, Oberst (Colonel) Klein.

Major Thomas Koller and Major Norbert Biehler are the first two fully-trained pilots at Neuburg, with Major Stefan Kirschner and Major Berthold Eibisch in training until the end of 2006.

With JG 74, the number of Eurofighter Typhoon units in the four Partner Nations increased to seven: Ala 11 at Morón, Spain; 4 Stormo 'Amadeo d'Aosta' at Grosseto, Italy; Nos 3, 17 and 29 Squadrons at RAF Coningsby, United Kingdom; JG 73 at Rostock-Laage and JG 74 at Neuburg/Donau, Germany.

My special thanks go to PIZ (Pressezentrum der Luftwaffe) in Cologne, to the Neuburg and Fürsty staff for their great support and the crews of the LTG 61 (61 Airlift Wing) German Air Force crews who flew us from Cologne to Neuburg and back, without which this trip would not have been so successful.

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