A tribute to the German navy's flight demonstration team


(taken from: "Vikings for Take-off", Motorbuch Verlag)

    In the late 1970 the German navy decided to establish a two-ship flight demonstration team to display the navy's primary weaponsystem F-104G Starfighter and it's outstanding abilities.
    The Jagel based MFG 1 was first to attend airshows, while MFG 2 followed soon after. Both air wing's displays cheered the crowds with their stunning displays home and abroad.

    Naval air demonstration came to a sudden end, when Kapitänleutnant Manfred Stürmer of MFG 1 crashed on approach to Yeovilton/GB on 03. august 1979.

    It took almost four years before a new Starfighter duo was established on the occasion of the Eggebeck Airshow in 1983. As MFG 1 was already converting to the Panavia Tornado, the honors belonged to the Eggebeck based MFG 2 to created the "Vikings". The new team consisted of Korvettenkapitän Ingomar Suhr (lead), Kapitänleutnant Manfred Schulze (number two) and Korvettenkapitän Lothar Martin (spare pilot). Suhr and Martin had already been part of the previous display teams of MFG 2 before 1979.

    Vikings on the taxiway

    Based on the fatal accidents of other F-104 teams, the "Vikings" decided to display a series of tactical manoeuvres, which primarily consisted of horizontal movements. A lesson learned from previous fatal accidents of other F-104 display teams. The first shows lasted a mere 8 minutes, but the length was increased to 12 minutes over the next few years.
    The great success of the early shows and the accident of the Canadian Star-Fighters, meant the "Vikings" had to perform far more displays than the originally planed 5 per year. The "Vikings" appearance was so in demand by airshow organizers that the team's cadre  had to extended, so two seperate formations emerged.
    This enabled the "Vikings" to divide airshows amongst them or perform at two seperate events simultaneously. Other teammembers were: Kapitänleutnatnts Siegfried Schmidt, Hagen Haar and Axel Ostermann, Lieutenant Robert E. Hummel (an US Navy exchange pilot) and Oberleutnants zur See Dietrich König and Benno Ganster.

    One of the climaxes in the teams history sure is their farewell-tour to North Amerika in august 1986. Four Starfighters crossed the atlantic to perform in several US and Canadian airshows and entertained well over half a million spectators.

    Stopover at Goose Bay 1986

    Though it's existance was pretty short in regards of time - the figures are quite amazing:
    Between their maiden show on 14. august 1983 and the final display on 27. september 1986 (the events took place at open houses at Eggebeck, the "Vikings" homebase, and Neuburg/Donau, home of the JG 74 "Mölders") some 6 million spectators were able to enjoy more than 60 displays worldwide. Of these display the final five were flown with a colorful paintsheme, symbolizing the colors of Schleswig-Holstein.

    When the F-104G Starfighter was put out of operational service with the German Navy, not only the aircraft, but the "Vikings" as well disappeared from the skies.



    (all pictures taken from: "Vikings for Take-off", Motorbuch Verlag)

    Vikings over the Marine Schule at Mürwick

    Vikings turning

    Low pass


    (photo by: Adrian Hexter)

    Over the clouds

    Single Viking