(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

The Axalp airpower demonstration (Fliegerschiessen) of the Swiss Air Force is held every year in the beginning of October. Located at an altitude of 7365 feet (2242m) above sea level the Ebenfluh shooting range provides a unique training environment for Swiss Air Force pilots to exercise their air-ground gunnery skills. Weather conditions for the 2017 edition of this famous spectacle were just right with some snow remaining on the surrounding mountain tops and splendid sunshine throughout the week.

Axalp Airshow Swiss
Where? Axalp - Ebenfluh Shooting Range, Switzerland
When? October 2017

0Axalp17 Mitflug 2123 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Mitflug 2123 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Mitflug 2111 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Mitflug 2140 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Mitflug 2372 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0124 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0124 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0099 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0113 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0121 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0129 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0136 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 0969 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 0969 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 1058 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 0867 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 1009 Zeitler 100 67 85

Several thousand spectators climb the mountain every year to witness this spectacular show. Where the event has been cancelled in the past few years due to different circumstances – bad weather being one of them – this year’s edition was blessed with glorious sunshine throughout the week. This obviously made the trip into the Swiss Alps more than pleasant at a time when the first snowfall of the year can reach the heights where the event is being held.

Axalp17 Formation 2160 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 Formation 2160 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Formation 2161 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Formation 2170 Zeitler 100 67 85

Fliegerschiessen Axalp at the Ebenfluh Shooting Range

Though there is a bus shuttle from the valley and a cableway service from Axalp village, a 1-2 hour lasting hike still has to be done to reach one of the three spectator areas. The shuttle service is necessary as the Ebenfluh range shooting event became more and more popular and the small Axalp village just could not cope any longer with the large amount of visitors. People arriving by car nowadays have to park down in the valley near Brienz and use that shuttle service. Whereas going uphill the crowd is being distributed throughout the morning up until around midday, one down point are the large queues that build up along the cableway once the show is over as obviously everybody gets back around the same time.

0Axalp17 F 18 0826 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 0826 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 0805 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 1081 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 1089 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9263 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9263 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 0004 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 0019 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 0238 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9213 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9251 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9366 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9366 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9271 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9288 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9304 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9318 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9351 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9924 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9924 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9395 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9405 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9414 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9890 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9915 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9990 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9990 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9936 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9939 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9957 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9965 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Hornet 9977 Zeitler 100 67 85

Live Shooting Demonstration

Traditionally this opening of the shooting season is also combined with a small airshow to present the capabilities of the Swiss Air Force to the general public. During two days of the Fliegerschiessen in 2017 F/A-18 Hornets and F-5E Tigers opened the program by flying the shooting pattern and performed live firing training within the view of the spectators. While being overhead of the public, smoke and nozzle fire could be observed when pilots fired their bullets against the targets located in the mountain slopes. This was accompanied by the screaming sounds of their canons.

0Axalp17 F 5 1153 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 5 1153 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1123 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1170 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1191 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1245 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1249 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1229 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 F 5 1229 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1284 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1306 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1330 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 1408 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0146 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0146 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0155 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0196 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 0257 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9472 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9478 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9504 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9504 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9496 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9577 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9584 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9611 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9624 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9633 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9633 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9675 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9701 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9767 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9777 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 5 Tiger 9778 Zeitler 100 67 85

After finishing this so-called „parcours“ having the shape of a cloverleaf Hornets and Tigers performed a formation fly-by to salute the spectators. This might have been the last time for the Tigers to participate in the shooting demonstration, as Fliegerstaffel 8 will be dissolved this year and Tigers will only be used for air policing and adversary tasks.

Axalp17 F 18 Solo 0365 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 0365 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 0442 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 0474 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 1698 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 1731 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 F 18 Solo 1807 Zeitler 100 67 85

Swiss Air Force Helicopters, Hornets and Tigers in the Alps

Apart from this impressive and unique live-firing the F/A-18C Hornet also flew a solo display in this alpine environment. Cougar and EC635 helicopters also take part since recent years with a focus on their Search and Rescue (SAR) and firefighting duties. Furthermore the new advanced trainer aircraft of the Swiss AF, the Pilatus PC-21, flew an aerobatic routine on the shooting range.

0Axalp17 Cougar 1919 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Cougar 1919 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 0778 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 2019 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 2031 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 2330 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Firefighting 2190 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1647 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1647 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1570 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1598 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1626 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1637 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar Solo 1687 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 Cougar EC635 2207 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Cougar EC635 2207 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 1948 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 EC635 1547 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 EC635 2222 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 EC635 2357 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Rega 0785 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 PC 21 1503 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 PC 21 1503 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 PC 21 1424 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 PC 21 1438 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 PC 21 1455 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 PC 21 1494 Zeitler 100 67 85

Patrouille Suisse at the Axalp Airshow

This unique spectacle was concluded by the Patrouille Suisse, who closed the 90-minute long program with a break and rain of flares above the Ebenfluh range. Spectators of the Fliegerschiessen  then returned back home with happy and sometimes sunburned faces, as watching the show from the officially designated spectator areas makes the crowd watching directly into the sun.

0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0550 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0550 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0527 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0558 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0571 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0585 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0597 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0725 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0725 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0648 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0677 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0684 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 0717 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1881 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 2258 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 2258 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Handy 9929 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1887 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1897 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1910 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 2277 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1883 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 Patrouille Suisse 1883 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Parachute 2177 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Parachute 2181 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 So 2156 Zeitler 100 67 85

In the meantime, Hornets and Tigers have already recovered back at Meiringen Airbase and the Cougar and Super Puma helicopters were busy flying the invitees back down as well.

Axalp17 Hornet 1885 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 Hornet 1885 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1889 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1902 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1905 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1821 Zeitler 700 470 90
Axalp17 Hornet 1821 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1831 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1858 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Hornet 1868 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Meiringen 1801 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Axalp17 EC635 1978 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Axalp17 EC635 1978 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 1847 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 1945 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 Cougar 2052 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 EC635 1837 Zeitler 100 67 85
Axalp17 EC635 2045 Zeitler 100 67 85

Note: Some of the images taken for this report include photos from the opposite side, which requires a steep and long mountain climb that should be carefully considered due to its duration and the difficulty of moving in Alpine terrain at an altitude of nearly 3000m.

 Handy 9714 Zeitler 700 470 90
 Handy 9714 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Handy 9815 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Handy 9884 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Handy 9889 Zeitler 100 67 85

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