Wolfgang "Wolf" Czaia
Wolfgang “Wolf” Czaia began his aviation career flying gliders at age 14 in his native Germany. After graduating (Abitur) in 1959, he joined the German Air Force; initial military training, Air Force Academy and preflight screening were followed in 1961 by UPT (Class 62-G) at Craig AFB, Alabama in T-37s and T-33s, then combat crew training in F-84Fs at Luke AFB, Arizona, which he finished as ‘Outstanding Student’ and ‘Top Gun’ during the summer of 1962.
Back in Germany, Wolf flew F-84Fs with Fighter Bomber Wing 34 for two years, before transitioning to F-104s in the fall of 1964 at Jever Air Base. He graduated from USAF’s Instrument Pilots Instructor School in 1965, flying the T-38. Wolf remained with the F-104 Fighter Weapons School as an IP, standardization check pilot, test pilot and academic instructor. Developed the zero-airspeed- and vertical recovery procedures for the F-104. He left the Luftwaffe in September 1970 and moved to the U.S. to join Lockheed for the CL-1200 “Lancer” (the follow-up airplane to the F-104).
After cancellation of the project, Wolf was civilian flight instructor and charter pilot (FAA-Learjet designee) through 1979, then an airline pilot for AirCal and American Airlines. He retired in 2000 as Boeing 757/767 check airman and FAA designee, continuing to fly a corporate Boeing 757.
Since 1989, Wolf has been a test- and airshow pilot in civilian F-104 aircraft, while also conducting qualitative evaluation flights at USAF Test Pilots School, Edwards AFB, and International Test Pilots School, Cold Lake CFB. Wolf has over 2,800 hours in type, out of 28,000 hours-plus total flight time in more than 150 different types of airplanes.
Beginning in 1992, Wolf was a test pilot for the reproduction Messerschmitt Me262 – the world’s first operational jet fighter. He wrote the flight manuals and took the airplane(s) through FAA certification. Wolf is a member of the Classic Jet Aircraft Association, Cascade Warbirds, the German Fighter Pilots Association and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.