Air Transport Wing 62
If you were to ask anybody where Air Transport Wing 62 is based, you would invariably receive the answer “in Wunstorf”. But that has not always been the case. The wing was formed in Celle, near Hanover, on 1 October 1959. It was relocated to Cologne in January 1960 and then to Alhorn on 1 April 1963, where it was disbanded on 30 September 1971. Seven years later, on 1 October 1978, it was eventually reformed in Wunstorf, where it is still based today.
The wing today
The Wing today comprises some 1,500 military and civilian personnel and is organised into a Flying Group, consisting of four squadrons, and a Technical Group. A particular feature is the 4th Flying Squadron, which has been detached to the Lufthansa Training School in Bremen. For more than
50 years at that school, future Lufthansa and military pilots have been trained under a co-operative arrangement between the Bundeswehr and Lufthansa. The newly qualified pilots then come to Wunstorf where they undergo additional training in the 3rd Flying Squadron for the C-160 Transall aircraft type. This squadron also trains future commanders, flight mechanics and loadmasters. The aircraft crews who conduct air movement operations form the 1st Flying Squadron.
The wing tomorrow
Of the three currently existing air transport wings, only ATW 62 will
remain. In consequence, Wunstorf will be the sole location where the new Airbus A400M
transport aircraft will be based. Wunstorf air base has been undergoing modification work
for the new transport aircraft since as early as 2009. Together with the new A400M training centre there will also be a Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced (CHT-E) - facility available for the training of loadmasters and loading crews.
ATW 62 is not only a training wing but also an operational wing, making it the most complex component of the German Air Force. As early as 1985, the wing
actively participated in humanitarian relief efforts in Ethiopia and the Sudan. The terrestrial conditions there made it necessary for the squadron aircrews from Wunstorf to develop an “extremely low-altitude cargo drop procedure”. Another procedure was developed for the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the embattled city of Sarajevo, ballistic attacks had to be expected at any time, and so the pilots developed the “Sarajevo Approach”. This involved remaining high above the city for as long as possible and then “diving” for the runway at the last moment.
At the present time the pilots of Air Transport Wing 62 are on deployment in Afghanistan as well
as in other countries where they provide operational crews around the clock, 365 days a year.