FACTS

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Name Wolfgang Schirdewahn // Born 1955. // Job Engineer and test pilot, graduate of the Empire Test Pilot School. // Flying since 1975. // Aircraft types Dozens of different types, primarily fighter planes. // Licenses CAT 1 test flight certification, European Union Pilot License // Display types Eurofighter, MiG 29, Tornado, HA 200, Me 262. // Total flying hours more than 5,900; 80 percent of these as test flights. // Special experience Flight testing the Eurofighter, Ranger 2000, MiG 29, Tornado, Me 262, HA 200. //

INTERVIEW

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What makes flying classic planes so special for you? It gives me the opportunity to showcase various technical aviation achievements from different periods in the history of flying. // What do you feel when you fly the aircraft today? I feel a great sense of professional pride because I have the chance to fly some truly unique machines. // What are the differences between preparing to fly today’s modern aircraft and these classic planes? What do you have to pay particular attention to? Every aircraft and every model requires its own very careful preparation. The special characteristics of each plane have to be factored in to the phases and maneuvers specific to each flight. // How do you gain the right experience? What information can you use from older pilots and documentation? We use the existing technical documents as well as flight and test reports. // There are a number of people and organizations that fly these machines worldwide. Do you talk to each other and help each other out? Yes. But mostly sporadically when we meet at different aviation events. // Have you had any dangerous moments when flying? Isn’t this “old” technology prone to failure? There are always dangerous moments, but I’d rather not talk about them here. This “old” technology does demand a certain amount of commitment and care though. // How often do you train for flying these vintage planes? How many hours do they spend in the air each year? The time we spend preparing and flying varies greatly from one model to another. // Could you ever imagine giving up this kind of “pure” flying? That’s probably something you should ask my doctor... //
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Wolfgang Schirdewahn in der HA 200
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Messerschmitt Museum of Flight

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