MILAVIA > Air Shows > 75 Years Meiringen Air Base 2016 - Switzerland Last updated: 23 August 2020

Air Show Report : 75 Years Meiringen Air Base 2016 - Switzerland

75 Years Meiringen Air Base 2016 Switzerland

The Swiss Air Force celebrated 75 years of Meiringen Air Base in June 2016. Air show report by Harrie Kraaijeveld.

75 Jahre Militärflugplatz Meiringen

On June 17-18, 2016, the Swiss Air Force welcomed some 30,000 visitors at an air show to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the military airfield near Meiringen, located near the hamlet of Unterbach in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.

Meiringen military airfield started operations on 1 December 1941 and today is one of three fighter bases of the Swiss Air Force. The Fliegerstaffel 11 operating the F/A-18C/D Hornet is based at Meiringen Air Base. Fliegerstaffel 11 is the Swiss Tiger squadron and a full member of the NATO Tiger Association (Switzerland is not a NATO member state but has been a NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) member since 1996). Three fellow NATO Tiger members had travelled to Meiringen to join the celebration; the Belgian Air Force 31 Smaldeel with two F-16s, the German Air Force Jagdgeschwader 74 with two Eurofighters, and the French Air Force Escadron de Chasse 1/7 with two Rafales.

Besides the festivities to celebrate the anniversary, regular operational missions were also flown as a Wiederholungskurs was taking place at the same time. During the Wiederhohlungskurs, F/A-18s and F-5s fly various missions as a refresher to maintain proficiency for the reserve duty militia pilots, who usually have a civilian aviation career outside the Swiss Air Force. The reserve duty F-5E/Fs of Fliegerstaffel 8, also based at Meiringen, formed still an integral component of Swiss air doctrine and training, despite its limitations, in lieu of a replacement.

In the static show, various other types of aircraft belonging to the Swiss Air Force could be admired, as well as a mix of Swiss Army vehicles.

The air show display programme exclusively provided by the Swiss Air Force participants took place in the afternoon. The following displays were flown:

  • PC-6 Porter paradrop demonstration
  • PC-21 advanced trainer solo display
  • Super Puma helicopter demonstration
  • PC-7 Team formation display
  • F/A-18 Hornet solo display
  • Patrouille Suisse display team

Although not included in the image set, the Patrouille Suisse naturally presented the finale of the flying programme. This had become highly uncertain just prior to the event as the team suffered a mid-air collision a week earlier during a training flight for an airshow at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Thankfully, the incident only saw the team losing one airframe with the pilot having ejected safely. For this reason, the display at Meiringen was flown with five aircraft instead of the normal six.

Besides the air displays, there were also several demonstrations on the ground. The airfield's fire brigade demonstrated how a pilot is rescued from a F/A-18 in case of an emergency, using the F/A-18C mock-up with serial X-5099, the airframe replica is constructed of mostly wood and serves as a dedicated training platform for fire and rescue exercises. The Swiss Army presented a spectacular demonstration with a Leopard II and Schützenpanzer 2000 (CV9030), showing off their speed and coming to an immediate emergency breaking stop, as well as deploying smoke grenades. At noon the Super Puma (Cougar) took off to provide the winners of the air baptism lottery.

Mirage IIIDS J-2012
F/A-18D Hornet J-5238
F-5E Tiger II J-3070
F/A-18 fire rescue training mock-up X-5099
F/A-18 fire rescue training mock-up X-5099
F/A-18 fire rescue training mock-up X-5099
EC635 P2+ T-354
Eurofighter EF2000 30+68
Rafale C 4-HE
Meiringen Air Base
F-5E Tiger II J-3097
F-5E Tiger II J-3038 and J-3030
F/A-18C Hornet J-5015
F/A-18D Hornet J-5238
Rafale C 30-GV
PC-9 C-410
AS532UL Cougar T-338
PC-6 Porter V-620
PC-21 A-102
F/A-18C Hornet J-5002
F-5E Tiger II J-3038 and J-3030
PC-7 Team
PC-7 Team
F-5E Tiger II formation
F/A-18D Hornet J-5238
F/A-18C Hornet J-5009
F-5E Tiger II J-3074
F-5E Tiger II J-3038
F-5E Tiger II J-3030

Let's hope the Swiss Air Force will be able to celebrate 80 years of operations at Meiringen Air Base in 2021 with a similar public event!

Report and photos by Harrie Kraaijeveld ( view portfolio )

First Published: 23 August 2020
Last Modified: 23 August 2020

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