(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: 2 - 4 minutes)

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

The Axalp airpower demonstration 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.

Read more ...

more Airshows

LTG61 Penzing Farewell

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Penzing LTG61 - Mach's guad Transall - C-160 Fly-Out
Where? Landsberg/Lech, Penzing Airfield, Germany
When? June / September 2017

The „Tag der Bundeswehr“ became a regular event to promote the German Armed Forces. Held on a Saturday usually around the second week-end in June several locations all around Germany open their doors to present the different tasks of the Bundeswehr to the public. This also includes the Luftwaffe. After last year’s major location Neuburg in 2017 once again Southern Germany did host one of the major Luftwaffe events. The Lufttransportgeschwader 61 (LTG61 at Penzing has been chosen as Luftwaffe’s main location of festivities. Unfortunately this fell together with a sad event that is just on the doorstep of this tradition-rich wing.

Read more ...

more Air-Air

Yak-11

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Czech Yak-11 Air-Air

Yak-11 OK-JZE

The Yak-11 was the trainer aircraft for all pilots of the Warsaw Pact states from the 1950s up to the 1970s. To free up production capacity for other aircraft Russia decided to outsource the manufacturing to Czechoslovakia. During the 1950s 707 Yak-11 left the Let aircraft factory in Kunovice. Czech aircraft were designated C-11 (civicny: exercise).

Read more ...

Twitter feed

My Warbird Book

photos on www.airfighters.com