10 and 11 October 2017 – The Meiringen airport
The tradition is repeated.
As every year, the Air Force has organized the Swiss Confederation, on the polygon in Axalp share, the usual annual event to show to the world the efficiency of aircraft and training pilots and ground staff. Needless to say,, always eats, the organization and the hospitality of the Schweizer Luftwaffe has proven at the highest levels.
The trip begins in the morning of the day 10, with the transfer to Meiringen. I arrived around noon I took possession of the room in a nice small hotel in the resort of Hasliberg. This year the weather is particularly mild and the view from the windows of the room is particularly striking, foretaste of doing the show the next day.
After downloading a few bags and refreshed myself at least I go immediately to Meiringen. The top view of the airport is always magnificent, with the track lying in the valley, this season adorned with all the colors.
The airport is already in full swing. I understand immediately that it already exercises today in alive when, after takeoff 4 Hornet, them feel above the polygon and Axalp, from a distance, I acknowledge the roar of cannon M 61 Vulcan's 20 mm shooting at targets.
The peaceful swiss cows continue their activities, heedless of the sound of numerous planes and helicopters continued to take off and land without stopping.
A few minutes later I see in the proportion F 5 Tiger II and also recognize the sound of guns M 39 small twin-engine Northrop. Meanwhile in Meiringen are prepared for the Super Puma steps with the Bambi Bucket to demonstrate firefighting skills and land the 2 Turbo Porter who launched the paratroopers on the polygon 2400 meters above sea level. The camouflage of the Super Puma and Cougar Swiss stands well with the raking light of the afternoon and this allows me to make an avalanche of photos. In the evening take off other 2 Hornet which also resume in landing from the top of the shelter next to the headboard 28. They are the last movements of the day. He gets the barrier, mobile tower is gone and I understand that tonight, unfortunately, there will be no night flights. Pity. I'm going back to the hotel to rest your weary limbs: Tomorrow will be a busy day.
The morning 11 to 08:00 They are already operational. They are one of the first to park your car in specially crafted spaces, just as I open the portira to go down, I hear the classic F404 turbofan engine of the Hornet that are put in motion. Bill 8 ulularis: I am in 4. Hasten the pace towards the terrace located on the top of the building canteen and reach while F 18 enter the track. The sun begins to peep from the mountains placed behind the airport and a little’ fog begins to rise from the lawns, creating a fantastic scenery. I 4 F 18 off in sequence while the area begins to animate. Several Super Puma, Cougar and EC635 slam the fog with their rotors, forming circular contrails with their rotors. I decide to go to resume landings from a better position and take this opportunity to withdraw pass.Ah…already. Did not I say? Today I get to Axalp in elicottero.Niente trek. The Swiss Military Aviation has credited Aviaspotter.it and the passage helicopter A / R is part of the package.
The appointment is for the press conference to 11,10 assembly hall. I can do it comfortably to take landings and to return.
I start then to the shelter yesterday but, arrived on site, I'm not satisfied: I have the sun against, bass and intense and I assess that the picture in these conditions would have to be thrown away. But the air is full of moisture and landing planes will form the interesting trails: I can not make me miss the chance. I descend from the shelter and I start, in the grass wet, other side of the landing path. When I arrive I have wet pants down to his knees but the location is terrific: I am just at the beginning of the asphalt ribbon, with low sun behind. The view below fails to give the idea of the scenario
I decide to mount the 70-300. From them little training 4 It appears on the sky field and performs the classic opening. The Hornets with the red cross emblem on the tail are seen from a distance on the landing path: from the wings unfold long contrails tens of meters, sometimes, clouds that appear on the extrados, when planes are above me, become of all colors.
An incredible sight!!!
At the end of landings I headed to the appointment. Retrace beautiful and bucolic green fields. The Meiringen cows maintain a perfect aplomb and continue to graze the grass in peace.
All 11:00 They open the doors of the House Magna and all the guests take their seats. Among them well-known representatives of the armed forces of the world: Tedeschi, French, Hungarians but also Americans, Mexicans, Chinese and South Koreans. Do not forget that this is the 75th anniversary of the polygon and should be celebrated properly. In this sense, the weather took a giant gift: they were 4 years that the event was canceled.
All 11:10, on time, begins the press conference of the Commander of the Air Forces of the Swiss Confederation, Lieutenant General Aldo C. Schellemberg. Unfortunately it's all in German and French, languages I do not know, but I understand, between the lines and interpreting the bilingual presentation that also in Switzerland are struggling in the swamps of decreasing expenditure for the Defense.
After the conference we come together in the square for the climb on helicopters. Divided into groups of 16 deliver boarding passes for the climb, we weighed and, When comes the helicopter assigned to us, take place inside.
In our case it is an Aerospatiale AS 332M1 Super Puma, Freshman T-314, for the same exemplary case with which we had made the rounds of Lake Brienz 2 years ago, on the occasion of failure to climb all'Axalp for bad weather (the service then you can find it which). The boarding occurs with the rotor in motion and the phases are quite excited. The board space is not much but the seats are comfortable and the belts 4 sternal connection points do not bother in the least.
I am fortunate to take a seat right behind the pilots and I enjoy so even the Cockpit view.
The flight takes just a few minutes but allows us to see from the polygon. We also see several people who still are facing the uphill walk. The helicopter slowdown signals that we are about to land. The car is almost hovering, shaken by strong vibrations, and moving forward is its minimum.
We land on a pitch of Lilliputian dimensions, open wide the doors and go down quickly, incamminandoci along a narrow path overlooking the mountain (but protected by a robust network that prevents any falls). The whole thing lasted so little that it is hard to believe they can be increased by 1700 mt circa. The landscape has completely changed: the lake is under, down, far and Wildgarst and Garstenhorn, in front of us, They are full of snow. Breathtaking scenery. We look for a place to watch the event, not without difficulty. People are already so much, Also in the enclosure reserved for us. It is estimated that this year, for each day of the event, were present in about share 6000 people, divided between the peak dell'Axalphorn, where we are and the Tschingel, place on our right.
The program says that the 14:00 one begins and the Swiss punctuality remains true. Il Air force live fire Axalp 2017 It is opened by a pair of F 18 Hornet, very low, spewing flare a go-go. Immediately join with other 2 specimens to begin the shooting with cannome M 61 Vulcan. Affected by the sound of a gatling 6 rotating barrels makes me go back to 2008, the first experience here (service which). The steps are fast and more direzioni.E’ very complicated to keep up with everything. The planes coming from the right, from behind and from the front and, just fired the barrage, change direction and are caught behind a mountain, often making sudden reversals allowing pilots to cash can not G. Finished with the Hornet and the turn of 6 Tiger II. This time the guns are firing 2 for aircraft and even the agile twin-jet Northrop showcases his skills, Following the same modalities of the biggest fratellone.
After the fire tests touches to the new jewel of Pilatus training, The turboprop PC 21 who juggles in fast passages in all positions and leaves the stage to the formation composed by F 18 and the F 5 who carried out the steps first.
It is now up to the component to Air Force rotary wing with Switzerland 2 Cougar performing a pass with Bambi Bucket and downloading water in the valley, immediately followed by a formation composed by Cougar T-335 and EC-635 T-368 that, after a quick pass separate. The first of the two returns immediately and opens his solo performance with a rain of flare that illuminates the valley.
It then performs an impressive sequence of steps and rock fil-turns knife to demonstrate the ability to truly operate “nap of the edge”. The small EC635 instead performs in a rescue simulation with the stretcher with recovery winch.
The show continues with the entry into the Captain Nicolas scene “Vincent” Rossier, Demo Pilot of F Only 18 for this year. Another demonstration with abundant use of afterburner, decibel level a ball and abundant use of flare. Per ultima Patrouille Suisse, big sweep: It is not quite usual to see an acrobatic team make their own figures 2400 meters above sea level in the mountains. The event is closed by the passage of a formation of 8 between Cougar and Puma Super crossing the valley.
It’ was 1 Now 1/2 adrenalin flowing. They hurt my arms in fury to support camera and telephoto and traverse all in all directions, but happiness is skyrocketing. An exciting show, without pauses that has put on display means and very peculiar capacity: fly and shoot in the mountains require special training, and the men of the Schweizer Luftwaffe they do very well.
We wait patiently for our turn to fly back to Meiringen still enjoying the scenery around us.
The descent we do abordo Cougar T-332 that lands a few meters from us, There embarks and rushes to the ground. The flight takes less than 5 minutes: The GPS tells me that we went down to 1700 mt in less than 2 minutes! We ride next to the runway of Meiringen and to align for landing the pilots perform a tack that crushes us on seats. Let's put the wheels and go down quickly.
The track is already closed, raised the barriers and then I am going to leave this paradise.
2 heady days, with an unusual weather for the season, that allowed me and to all those gathered for the event to enjoy an unforgettable sight.
Like in 2008 I leave you with just a thought: it does not matter as you ascend but do it. Axalp is an avid aircraft such as the trip to Mecca for a Muslim: once in life you have to do it.
Aviaspotter.it want to thank Lt. Gen. Aldo C. Schellenberg, Ms. Alina Gysin Office Communication from the Swiss Air Force, around the base of the staff Meringen Air and Swiss Air Forces who have worked hard for this edition dell'Axalp Fliegershiessen.
Below the photos suits: