Meiringen 2003     Meiringen 2004     Meiringen 2005     Meiringen 2006     Photography at Meiringen

Axalp week
Swiss Air Force Base, Meiringen - Unterbach
October 2007

It is Axalp week once again and there is no better place than Meiringen to spend some time in between climbs up to the Ebenfluh firing range. Each year I come away after a few days here thinking that there are still some new places and different angles to try. I always aim to improve my expanding collection of images of Swiss Air Force F-5s and F/A-18s. So armed mostly with a fixed 300mm lens I put my ideas into execution once again.

Last year Fliegerstaffel (FlSt) 11 with its McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet's were transferred permanently to Meiringen, however during Axalp week this year they were deployed to Payerne, leaving the Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs of FlSt 8 the run of the base. Sorties throughout the week followed the Axalp display program. First eight F-5Es emerged from the caverns and took to the air in pairs in rapid succession. They were followed by a further pair five minutes later. Finally two
F-5Es (J-3080 and J-3089) lift off with air to air target banner equipment
Left to right: The morning departure at 08:07 and recovery 30 minutes later of F-5Es (J-3080 and J-3089).
Left to right: After returning from the afternoon sortie, these two special F-5Es taxied into the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) just off the main ramp.
Left to right: Ten F-5Es (J-3079 and J-3068) taxi down the parallel taxiway to the western end for the first launch of the day at 8:30.
F-5E (J-3094) departing in the afternoon sun
Left to right: Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter recently painted in the Patrouille Suisse scheme brought their show commentator in from Emmen on the show days. It carries the name 'Felix' on the nose.
At the eastern end north side for departures and landings
Left to right: You need a good nose shot sometimes to add to the variety of shots! F-5Es (J-3079, J-3093 and J-3097).
The nose gear has been extended lifting the nose by 3 degrees for the take-off decreasing the rotation point by 50%.
Left to right: Afternoon arrivals from my elevated position, F-5Es (J-3074, J-3097 and J-3093)
Left to right: F-5Es (J-3094, J-3097, J-3073 and J-3097).
Left to right: Some tyre smoke on touchdown always looks good, F-5Es (J-3070, J-3067, J-3097 and J-3072).
F-5E Tiger IIs (J-3094 and J-3079) throughout the week were taking off in pairs
The afternoon launch.
Left to right: F-5Es (J-3072, J-3094, J-3068 and pair J-3068 and J-3093)
Left to right: F-5Es (J-3074, J-3097 x2 and J-3068) return in the early morning at the western end.
Left to right: Beside the runway north side F-5Es (J-3044, J-3072 and J-3067) and visiting PC-6 V-620 in the normal scheme.
Eurocopter AS.332M-1 Super Puma's (T-325 and T-312) set off  for Axalp to collect the VIP's at then end of the show.
Left to right: Five AS.332M-1.
Left to right: The caverns were used to house the based F-5Es.