Text: Patrick Brouckaert & Marc Arys - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert, Philip Verhasselt  ©sbap 2022
 
We got up early to start the climb to an altitude of 2320 m to the Axalp-Ebenfluh-installation of the Swiss Air Force with the help of a torch and the last light of the moon. The weather is beautifully calm and we just enjoy the silence and the rising of the sun. The sign Shiessgefahr / flieger - schiessen , yes, we are approaching our destination.

At the top, there are 3 spotter sites andthis year the number of spectators is limited to only 4000 people. We choose spotter point 1, near the control tower from where the scoring (target hits) is given live over the radio to the pilots.
In the morning, the SAR and Medic helicopter land on the edge of the mountain and VIP's are brought up by Cougar helicopters. An EC635 searches the mountains and the valley for lost hikers.

Safety first for the Swiss.

In the course of the morning, a few aircraft flew in for a reconnaissance and there was also the first live firing by F-18 Hornets.
Lunch time from 12h till 14h brought up the nice smells of a real Swiss cheese fondue...
Exactly at 14h, with Swiss precision, the show started with a nice passage of a F-18 firing its flares, followed by a sneak flare pass of the second aircraft.
The shooting practise started and with 4 aircraft in a row, they ran in, strafing the targets on the flank of the mountains. Running in is done through different approach routes and after firing, they pull up sharply and dive over the mountain ridges.
A demo of the Super Puma/Cougar followed, then a formation of 4 F18's with the Tiger Hunter, which will fly its last demo before retiring to the Fliegermuseum in Altenrhein. Check this link: https://fliegermuseum.ch/news
The show continued with 2 Cougars fitted with Bambi Buckets (for firefighting) and an interception of a Pilatus PC-24 by 2 F-18's, after a loss of " radio contact ". Skydivers were dropped from 2 Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, and they skimmed past the audience into the valley.
Time for the Swiss Hornet display team flown by Captain Yannick 'Fönsi' Zanata. Fönsi is a F/A-18 pilot with Aviation Squadron No 17 and has already logged more than 2,000 flight hours, of which 700 are with the F/A-18 Hornet. Spectacular passages with a lot of vortices!.
The Piltaus PC-21, training aircraft of the Swiss Air Force, was not to be forgotten during the flying displays...
On to the Special Forces, which were dropped off on a ridge (by fast roping) firing at the targets and even firing 2 anti-tank rockets on the flanck of the mountain. Mission completed, they were retrieved by the Cougars.
The show was concluded by the renowned Patrouille de Suisse, as always, giving the best of themselves with their nicely painted F-5.
VIP's were brought back to the valley by Super Puma's and for me it was also time to start the descent...

  
October 20th at Ebenfluh shooting range
  
The climbing plan to get to the Ebenfluh shooting range and the 3 spots
  
Night climb...
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
...and sunrise
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
View point number 2
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
View point number 1
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Brienzersee
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
AgustaWestland AW109SP from Rega...Ready in case of...
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Eurocopter Ec 635 P2+ on duty
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
With typical landscape in the background
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Swiss pilots are mostly mountain flying artists
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Hello everyone !
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Eurocopter Ec 635 P2+ doing some target control
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Mountainous and bucolic
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The most beautiful invention for mountain rescues
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Pilatus PC-21 solo display rehearsal
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Palying with the mountains
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
High speed pass
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The main subject of the day " Luftwaffe Fliegerschiessen"
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Note the gun muzzles... !!!
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Better to be behind than in front!
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A small evasive maneuver
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
Simply splendid
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
With some flare effects
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Exceptionnal
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
View point 3...incredible!
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A second wave attack
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
You have to admit they are good shooters
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Clearance after the pass
(Patrick Brouckaert©)

Eurocopter AS532UL Cougar solo display
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Impressive flares fly past
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
"Hornet" 11 Fliegerstaffel and "Hunter" in tiger suit
 (Patrick Brouckaert©)
Hawker Hunter T Mk 68A  J-4206/HB-RVV - Suisse/Verein Hunter Flying Group
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The c/n 41H-670841 was built in 1968
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A last upside down pass
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Operation "Bambi Buckets"
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Amazing pair
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Pilatus PC-24 T-786 from Lufttransportgeschwader 2
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
McDonnell Douglas F-18C Hornet J-5021 for an high speed pass
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Swiss Army freefall demonstration
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Pilatus PC-6 duo
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Basic Training, Advanced Training and Operationnal training planes
(Patrick Brouckaert©)

The breathtaking "Hornet" solo display from the Swiis Luftwaffe
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The demonstration in a splendid landscape
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
The Pilatus PC-21 solo display
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Swiss mode power demonstration
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The troops in action
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Cluster evacuation of the danger zone
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The final presented by the famous "Patrouille Suisse"
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Mirror mountains
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
Crossing on a pebbles background
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Swiss colours
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The last majestic split
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Transport helicopter for the VIP guest
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Back to Meiringen air base
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Flight over the splendidly blue waters of the Brienzersee
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The simply magical landscapes of the Swiss Confederation
(Philip Verhasselt©)
 
October 21st at Meiringen Airbase
 
Welches Geschwader?
(Philip Verhasselt©)
  
The F-18's start their engines within the mountain and move out to the runway, on a taxytrack laying between the fields. The road is closed and the yellow light on the control tower lights up... there is some flying coming up next!
The runway is vacated and all crossing traffic (cars and pedestrians) is prohibited. After the take-off, the yellow light goes out and traffic resumes to its normal life.
The Museum Hangar closes during the shooting exercises regarding radio communications.
We hurry to the spotters platform on top of the restaurant to have a nice view on the take-offs. Here you also have a very nice view of the Swiss F-5 gateguard.
For the day, there were two waves of 2 F-18's in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, and also one PC-7.
To conclude this day, a walk across the runway and a little time to take a panoramic picture.
 
Pilatus PC-7  A-914 (c/n 322) Pilotenschule
Aerospatiale AS 332M1 Super Puma  T-315 (c/n 2335) Fliegerstaffel 5
Eurocopter AS 532UL Cougar  T-334 (c/n 2534) Fliegerstaffel 6
Eurocopter AS 532UL Cougar  T-335 (c/n 2537) Fliegerstaffel 6
Pilatus PC-6/B2-H2M-1 Turbo Porter  V-613 (c/n 630) Fliegerstaffel 7
Pilatus PC-6/B2-H2M-1 Turbo Porter  V-617 (c/n 640) Fliegerstaffel 7
MDD F/A-18C-48-MC Hornet  J-5008 (c/n 1336) Fliegerstaffel 11
MDD F/A-18C-49-MC Hornet  J-5011  (c/n 1351) Fliegerstaffel 11
MDD F/A-18C-49-MC Hornet  J-5020 (c/n 1369) Fliegerstaffel 11
MDD F/A-18C-49-MC Hornet  J-5023 (c/n 1372) Fliegerstaffel 11

Northrop F-5E Tiger II  J-3044 (c/n L1044)  Fliegerstaffel 19
 
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
Covid Safe Ticket ok!
(Philip Verhasselt©)
The origins of flight
(Philip Verhasselt©)
The magic of the mountains
(Philip Verhasselt©)
The wasp waist of the F-5
(Philip Verhasselt©)
A tiger in the sky
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Swiss roundel
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
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(Patrick Brouckaert©)
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(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
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(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
Nothing on the left, nothing on the right...ok, go!
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
  
  
October 25th at Zermatt Heliport
 

Air Zermatt AG is a Swiss airline founded in 1968 by Beat H. Perren and is based in Zermatt. Like Air Glaciers, Air Zermatt provides air rescue services in parts of the Valais, especially around the Matterhorn. They also provide tourist flights (with an annual fuel consumption equivalent to a long-haul flight from Zurich to New York), heli-skiing and transport flights. These latter account for 60% of annual flight time.
To this day, the company has 35,000 rescues to its credit. This number has increased from 90 rescues in 1968 to over 1,600 in 2021. In this matter, Air Zermatt received 3 Heroism Awards (1972, 1976, 2010).
Air Zermatt was founded with the aim of rescuing climbers in danger in the high mountains and in 1968, the director of the company acquired his first helicopter, financed solely by himself.
The next year, this Agusta Bell 206 A, was followed by an Alouette III.
Worth mentioning, Air Zermatt was the first company to use the tripod, used among other things, to pull people out of crevasses, and in 1973, they were the first company to have a medic abord their helicopters.
Raron base was inaugurated as their second base on September 1st, 1980.
Through the years, rescue evolved, f.ex., the rope used to rescue climbers was to be up to 65 metres, but now it goes up to 200 metres and all the equipment developed by Air Zermatt is set to international standards.
Apart from rescue missions, Air Zermatt organises also heliskiing flights in Switzerland, Turkey (in cooperation with Turkey Heliski) and the Himalayas.
The pilots and some other employees are keen to pass on their knowledge to pilots and crew from Nepal, Croatia, Russia, Turkey and Chile.

 
Aerospatiale SA-315 B Lama
HB-XII  (c/n 2551)

2 Bell 429 
HB-ZOZ  (c/n 57330)
HB-ZSU  (c/n 57067)

Eurocopter EC 130 T2
HB-ZAZ (c/n 7989)
Eurocopter AS 350 B3 Squirrel
HB-ZCX  (c/n 3105)
HB-ZIA  (c/n 4163)
HB-ZPB (c/n 7309) 
HB-ZLW (c/n 8851)
HB-ZOY (c/n 8426)
HB-ZVS  (c/n 7569)

A look at Air Zermatt
(Philip Verhasselt©)
Airbus Helicopter AS 350 B3 Squirrel
(Philip Verhasselt©)

(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
Into Air Zermatt facilities
(Philip Verhasselt©)

Check of the rescue material
(Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)
(Philip Verhasselt©) (Philip Verhasselt©)

One of the numerous task
(Philip Verhasselt©)
Ready for next flight and take off
(Philip Verhasselt©)
 

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