Words and photographs Michael van der Mee
October 8th and 9th planned to be this year's Fire Power Demonstration of the Swiss Air Force. 2.200 meters above sea level the Swiss Air Force practice their air-to-ground gunnery skills at the Axalp-Ebenfluh range. This year we had the unique possibility to witness the action opposite of the general public. Due to the fantastic cooperation of the Swiss Air Force we were allowed to land a helicopter on a plateau before flying activities started.
With all arrangements made we took of with "our" chopper to the range. Enjoying the experience flying over the fantastic landscape and the weather looking great expectations were high as we landed and unloaded our equipment. At around 9:00 the first F/A-18s appeared from down the valley dropping flares on their spectacular entry to the range. Some fog over the target this mission consisted only of "dry runs". Too bad, let’s hope for the next mission then!
The expected F-5s didn't show up and we waited for the 2nd wave of F/A-18s. From our position we saw again a four ship taking off from nearby situated Meiringen. But this time the weather had worsened as we couldn't see the tower and most parts of the public; this mission was again without shooting. The weather wasn't very cooperative as it worsened even further the decision to cancel the rest of the day was made.
Following this spectacular Solo Display again four Hornets took the arena before lunch break. While watching the VIPs being brought in with the Cougars suddenly the clouds came over the public and within minutes the valley was filled and visibility gone. Again the show had to be cancelled due to the weather. Sadly this ended a promising day abrupt. With understanding the decision we had a great time and we are looking forward to another time on Axalp with hopefully better weather!
The author wishes to thank BOHAG and the Swiss Air Force for their cooperation, without their help this article wasn't possible.