Hornets in the Swiss mountains
Text & pictures : Marc Arys & Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P. ©
Wich one of us, through aviation fans, never dreamt attending the yearly exercise of the Swiss Luftwaffe at the shooting range of Ebenfluh not far from the Axalp skiresort.
This year our team decided to report on this event and went to Switzerland on October 08 and 09, 2008.
The first day we met the Swiss Air Force communication team at the airbase of Meiringen (a real beauty for all passionates). We were due to fly in a helicopter Super Puma all the way up to the range at some 2.200 m but around 10.40 AM the decision was taken to cancel the exercise and presentation of this first day. The deteriorating weather in the mountains being the real problem regarding visibility but most of all security reasons.
In spite of this bad news we had the opportunity to fly with the Super Puma to have a great overview of the airbase and tour the beautiful region of Meiringen and Brienz. Mountains are very impressive seen from here !
Click on the picture to get the Meiringen photopage
The next morning our team was already en route towards Axalp at 05.15 AM. The program of this day was going up to the Ebenfluh shooting range, but this time on foot ! As one of the participants stated : Axalp is meritorious ! He was not wrong after all !
Going up to this aeronautical paradise is quite an adventure and breathtaking (not only the view as the sun came up ;-).
It was under a little shy sun and afterwards under her brightness we were granted firing exercises flown by F/A-18C and F-5E. The proficiency of the Swiss pilots is remarquable manoeuvering their planes in this mountainous terrain. A very spirited demonstration indeed !
During the pause, awaiting the highlights of the day including the Patrouille Suisse, helicopters went of and on, for some flying up personalities and for others bringing in food and drinks to the various restauration booths.
But at about 01 PM we saw, with horror, clouds coming up from the valley and enclosing the shooting range. Should we expect the worse ?... Alas yes, about 30 minutes later, the announcement of the cancellation of the exercise came through... Security first !!
All in all, we had a great journey and we certainly will be back at Axalp in the future.
Click on the picture to get the Axalp - Ebenfluh photopage
We would like to thank the communication team of the Swiss Air Force in general and particularly Mr. Nussbaum for granting us our accreditations and Mrs. Berthold, our contact, for her dedicated obligingness.