(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

User Rating: 5 / 5

Please rate this article:
5 of 5 - 1 votes
Thank You for rating this article.

Meiringen Swiss Air Force WK 2017
Where? Meiringen, Switzerland
When? March 2017

Alpine Base Meiringen offers a gorgeous setting The airfield is nestled in a small valley in central Switzerland in the canton of Bern. Surrounded by mountains that partly rise up vertically for several hundred meters it is challenging flying terrain, but provides plenty of photo opportunities. Meiringen is the home of the Swiss Air Force's Fliegerstaffel 11 "Tigers", one of Switzerland three F/A-18 Hornet Squadrons, and is also home to the militia Squadron 8 "Destructors" ("Vandalos"), flying the F-5E Tiger II.

Cavern Operations

Meiringen stands out by the fact that aircraft operations are handled out of caverns. These underground aircraft shelters are highly secret and hold a classified number of aircraft including all support material. Flight operations are performed directly in and out of these caves: flight-ready aircraft get towed out by a tug with the pilot already sitting in the cockpit. The engines are started with the aircraft still on the tug and the aircraft is ready to go within minutes. Cavern doors just open very shortly for aircraft movements. All this is quite well hidden behind trees and covered by a winding construction of the overall layout.

The actual photographers delight of this setting is not only the mountain scenery offering nice backgrounds during operations on the runway, but also the taxiway leading from the cavern to the actual airfield. It passes along a cow paddock without any fencing and offers great opportunities.

Wiederholungskurs / WK (repetition course)

The "Wiederholungskurs" (repetition course), or just "WK" in Swiss abbreviation slang, is a yearly event of high intensity training. During a WK reservists train their skills during this three week course. This includes especially militia pilots flying the F-5 Tiger II. Contrary to F/A-18 Hornet pilots the Tiger pilots are not military personnel, but hold down a civil job that is not mandatory aviation-related. During a repetition course they fly and train their skills on the F-5 Tiger, mostly to play the Aggressor role for the Hornets.

When night flying activities are planned, three flying shifts during daylight hours are usually performed involving a typical number of six Hornets and four Tigers. For the night flying F-5 Tigers are excluded since some years, and these are only performed by Hornet pilots to stay current under these conditions as well.

Farewell F-5 Tiger II Squadrons

The end of 2017 might see the disbandment of the Squadrons 6 "Ducks", 8 "Vandalos" "Destructors") and 19 "Swans". Rumors are that all Swiss Air Force F-5 Tiger jets might then be pooled in one single Squadron. The end of this year will tell how these plans are realized, but they seem to be settled firmly as aircraft J-7073 received a special tail decoration reading "Adios Vandalo" to bid farewell to Fliegerstaffel 8.

This change will also mean in the future that Tigers will not necessarily operate out of the cavern anymore, so this might have been a last chance to photograph the F-5E Tigers on the picturesque taxiway at Meiringen.

The WK date in March meant that there was still lots of snow in the mountains in the backgrounds, and the sun already high enough in the sky to shine down in the valley. During the winter months life can be hard from November to February as the airfield will see no sun at all. This can be nice for atmospheric photos as well, but I preferred a sunny day for this trip to Switzerland.


Links worth a visit if you are planning to go to Meiringen:

The Air Force Website even includes a schedule for flying activities:

http://www.vtg.admin.ch/de/organisation/luftwaffe/einsatz-lw/militaerflugplatz-meiringen.html

The F/A-18 Hornet Tiger Squadron at home in Meiringen:

https://www.fliegerstaffel11.ch/

recently published

Axalp 2017

(Reading time: 1 minute)

Axalp Firepower Demo - Swiss Air Force Live Shooting Exercise 2017
Where? Axalp - Ebenflug Shooting Range, Switzerland
When?October 2017

The Axalp 2017 Firepower presentation of the Swiss Air Force at the Ebenfluh range was blessed this year with splendid weather throughout the week. Apart from shooting demonstrations with the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-5E Tiger II the Swiss Air Force did also perform flying demonstration with the Cougar and EC635 helicopters as well as the Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainer aircraft.

Read more ...

more Airshows

Shuttleworth Pageant Airshow

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Shuttleworth Military Pageant Airshow 2014
Where? Old Warden, Biggleswade, UK
When? 07/09/2014

The Shuttleworth Collection has not been particularly lucky with the airshow weather in 2014. The main shows in August had to be cancelled, and for some other events the sun either did not want to come out or the winds were too strong for some of the aircraft to fly. However, for their Pageant Airshow in September everything went just right! And the DH.88 Comet was finally in the air again!

Read more ...

more Air-Air

Phantom Pharewell Photo Phlight

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Luftwaffe / WTD61 F-4F Phantom II air-air
Where? Bavaria, Germany
When? 07/2013

The months of June and July 2013 saw the final operations of German F-4F Phantoms. With Jagdgeschwader 71 "R" at Wittmund officially putting Luftwaffe Phantom operations to an end and handing over the QRA task to the Eurofighter, the two Manching-based Phantoms were the last German examples to soldier on for some more days. During those final days also arose a unique photo opportunity - a Phantastic "Phantom Pharewell Photo Phlight"!

Read more ...

Twitter feed

My Warbird Book

photos on www.airfighters.com

More photos