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Tiger Meet 2024

As per usual in any aviation led adventure an early start was the order of the day with a home departure of 03:00 hrs for London’s Heathrow airport. Today we would be flying with Eurowings (which is a first for me) on board an Airbus A319 to a bright and sunny departure. Our flight took us into Hamburg airport, an airport that has been in operation since January 1911 and remains one of the oldest operational airports still in current use. On arrival at Hamburg we met up with Steve Comber, our guide for the trip, before picking up our rental cars and heading 3 hours south east to Potsdam. Our accommodation in Potsdam was the NH Hotel, which yielded fantastic rooftop views of the city as the sun was going down. After a long day of travelling it felt only right to end the day sipping beer and eating good German food at Café Extrablatt on Brandenburger Straße.

Beers in Potsdam

Sunday 9th June was to be our only lay in, after a hearty continental breakfast we headed to Gatow Aviation Museum which is under the care of the Luftwaffe and what a job they have done!

Gatow aviation museum

This museum is truly worth a visit, they have some excellent examples, particularly from the Cold War. Inside they have an immaculately preserved Mig-29 and a Tornado ECR. One of the star exhibits truly has to be IL-28 ‘Beagle’, a rare survivor of cold times past. Gatow is an extensive museum so perhaps in the near future I’ll do a separate blog post where I can truly do it justice!


IL-28 Beagle Gatow Aviation Museum

By 2:00pm we were on the road again heading back north to Kiel for our hotel for the next two nights. Food always plays a huge part in any aviation trip, tonight’s and indeed both night’s location for food would be at ‘Mr Steaks’. No points for guessing what was the cards there.


In true COAP fashion a 0300 start was on the table with arrival at Schleswig Air Base at 04:30. Gates would open at 06:30 so we had a wait on our hands and it was most certainly sideways heavy rain, challenging our resolve and drive for our art.


Tiger Meet 2024

Schleswig was founded in 1916 as a military airfield. During WW2 the Luftwaffe launched night fighters from Schleswig and in the latter years the Me 262, the first operational jet fighter. The airfield also housed JU-88s, He111s and Bf-109s that were to launch raids to London and Manchester. At the end of WW2 the RAF took control of the airfield under the code B.164, they firstly operated the Spitfire Mk XIV & XI and Hawker Typhoon IB. Schleswig played it’s part during the Berlin Airlift under the control of the Royal Air Force operating Handley Page Hastings from 47 Squadron. In October 1959 the north part of the airfield was handed over to the German Navy with full control being relinquished in November 1961. 


06:30 came around, gates opened, we were presented with our complimentary back pack, hat and Tiger Meet 2024 patch. The spotters area had been positioned in front of the ATC and the 51 Squadron hangers. This year’s Tiger Meet was hosted by 51 Squadron who’s day-to-day task is ‘Suppression of Enemy Air Defence’ but also contributes to tactical reconnaissance.


“51 Tactical Air Wing Immelmann is the only flying unit of the German Air Force capable of performing manned and unmanned airborne imagery reconnaissance, signals intelligence and electronic gathering measures. On 1 April 2013, the Wing took over the capability to suppress enemy ground-based air defense from the disbanded Fighter Bomber Wing 32 in Lechfeld. Equipped with all-weather capable Tornado combat aircraft, advanced reconnaissance sensor systems and a deployable evaluation system, the Wing is an integral part of the Bundeswehr operational forces. Since 1 January 2005, the Wing has also been tasked with the naval air warfare role.”


It is a well know custom at these Tiger Meets to present to the public with a mind boggling array of ‘Av Swag’, perhaps someone had their head screwed on when deciding to offer us free bags in which to carry all that said swag in. Runway in use for today’s proceedings would be 23.


With 80 aircraft in attendance, 1200 personnel from 11 nations, Tiger Meet is always a highlight of the European Aviation calendar. Operations commenced with departures from the Dutch F-35s from 313 Squadron Volkel Air Base, who have been members since 1990.


Dutch Air Force F-35 313 Squadron Tiger Meet 2024

Representatives from 74 Squadron with their EF-2000 Typhoons from Neuburg, affectionately known as the Bavarian Tigers, they are well known for producing particularly striking paint schemes.

74 Squadron Luftwaffe Tiger Typhoon Tiger Meet 2024

Up next, Rafale B/C’s from Escadron de Chasse 3-30 French Air Force stationed at Mont-de-Marsan, who in 2022 at Araxos won the ‘Silver Tiger Trophy’. The French Air Force were then followed by a flight of 4 French Naval Rafale M’s of Flotille 11F  from BAN Landivisiau, who have been members since 1979.


French Air Force Rafale C Tiger Meet 2024

French Navy Rafale M Tiger Meet 2024

following up, the Hellenic contingent with their F-16 C/Ds of 335 Mira stationed at Araxos, members since 1972, they operate the Block 52+ variant. Someone clearly got the best selfie of the excercise!   


Hellenic Air Force F16 C/D Tiger Meet 2024

Rocking the mighty Tornado ECR, the home team, 51 Squadron caused considerable movement in the ground with full burners putting the younger aircraft in their place.


51 Squadron Luftwaffe Tornado ECR Tiger Meet 2024

This year being an important milestone for the F-16 with 50 years of active service, we had a healthy attendance from the type. The Polish Air Force departed with 6 Squadron flying their F-16 C/D Block 52+ variants from Poznań-Krzesiny, the squadron is tasked as an operational combat squadron with a multi-role purpose.


Polish Air Force F16 C/D Tiger Meet 2024

Continuing the thunder, Staffel 11 from Meiringen with their F/A 18 C/D’s departed sporting their painted fuel tanks. Having photographed these in October last year, they are always a welcome site for my camera. They also hold an illustrious history having won the ‘Silver Tiger Trophy’ in 1982, 2008 and 2014, 2014 of which was the last time Tiger Meet was held at Schleswig.

Staffel 11 F/A 18 Hornet Swiss Air Force Tiger Meet 2024

I think one of the greatest hits, paint scheme wise, for this year’s Tiger Meet has to be the German Marineflieger Super Lynx Mk88A from MFG5 stationed at Northolz, with its strikingly colourful blue paint work. Which for those of you who are old enough to remember the Marineflieger always did have a particular penchant for colour.


Germany Navy Lynx Tiger Meet 2024

With recoveries inbound, being positioned along the secondary runway axis of 07/25, we had an excellent opportunity to photograph the jets taxiing past us and in some instances in their flight formations.  


51 Squadron Tornado ECR Luftwaffe Tiger Meet 2024

74 Squadron Typhoon Luftwaffe Tiger Meet 2024

Dodging a couple of minor showers we continued our luck throughout the day. During the afternoon’s sorties we had an appearance from a pair of EC-665 Tigre attack helicopters of the French Army, which did us the honour of hovering directly in front of us sending many hats and bags flying! These are operated by Escadrille d'Hélicoptères de Reconnaissance et d'Attaque n°3 stationed at Etain-Rouvres. Also attending from Etain were an NH-90 and an SA-342 Gazelle.


French Army Tigre Helicopter Tiger Meet 2024

With the day drawing to a close I will admit it was very disappointing not to see the special scheme from 51 Squadron but sometimes things go wrong in the game of aviation and there is nothing to be done about it. The day over we headed back to Kiel for a freshen up before heading out for another meal at Mr Steak.


Tiger Meet 2024

Tuesday 11th we had a morning to use up, so back to the fence line at Schleswig, parking again in the same car park and simply using the fence line of the base where it offered the opportunity to shoot departures and recoveries from the take-off/touchdown point. Weather/visibility wasn’t ideal for the day’s shoot however some great opportunities did arise to shoot the painted jets in particular.


51 Squadron Luftwaffe Tornado ECR Tiger Meet 2024

Czech Grippen Tiger Meet 2024

Turkish F-16 192 Filo Tiger Meet 2024

With half a day down it was time for us to be on the road and heading back to Hamburg for our return flight to Blighty at 18:05.

74 Squadron Luftwaffe Typhoon Tiger Meet 2024

For a full list of participants in this years Tiger Meet check out the embeded link.

Check out this short film:     



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