30 Years Young 

The maiden flight of the first Eurofighter development aircraft, DA1, took place at DASA in Manching 30 years ago — on 27 March 1994.

Test pilot Peter Weger makes his maiden flight in the Eurofighter Typhoon on 27 March 1994

The company’s chief test pilot Peter Weger made the first flight in the prototype aircraft which had Rolls Royce Spey engines, rather than the EJ200 engines which were adopted later in the development. 

Eurofighter CEO Giancarlo Mezzanatto said: “Today is a special landmark and while we celebrate the people who dedicated their careers to creating an incredible aircraft, we can also look forward with excitement too. Because the aircraft they helped develop continues to go from strength to strength. That is their legacy.

Pilot Peter Weger emerges from the cockpit

“Eurofighter Typhoon has established itself as the backbone of European defence and a fundamental asset for our air forces. At the same time, the Eurofighter programme has played a pivotal role in fostering the fighter industry in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain and will continue to do so for many years to come. The product vision is to keep Typhoon operationally effective for another 30 to 40 years.”

Crowds gathered at DASA’s site in Manching to witness aviation history being made as DA1 took off. The aircraft — with the 98+29 serial number — was flown in a restricted envelope with limits on the speed and the angle of turn.

I wanted to get the landing right because I knew that all the cameras were around

“It was a good day — every first flight is exciting,” Peter recalled later. “I wanted to get the landing right because I knew that all the cameras were around. My major aim was a smooth touchdown. I told myself ‘Don't make a fool of yourself’ but the aircraft made it really easy.” 

The aircraft remained in service, aiding the early development programme, until 2005 — a full 11 years on from its first flight. It is now on display at the Flugwerft Schleißheim in Munich. 

Peter at a celebration event