Swiss Air Force on Guard - WEF 2008
Words Michael van der Mee, photographs by Nico van Remmerden.
In January the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) took place in Zurich - Switzerland. This traditionally coincides with a Wiederholungskuhrs at one of the Swiss Air Force bases.
This year Meiringen had its turn. With 8th and 11th Staffel providing Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) 24 hours a day. 8 Staffel with their F-5Es provided only daytime CAP cover and 11 Staffel with the night vision equipped F/A-18C and Ds round the clock.
As Meiringen makes us always a good start of the year and hoping for snow and nice night flying opportunities Nico and Michael went for three days to the Swiss Alps. When we arrived we soon found out that the heavy rain from Tuesday had washed all snow away, so again no snow on the ground at Meiringen!
In January the airfield is covered in shade during most of the day but in take-off you can get sun on the jets a few hours a day. So we spend all day in the cold shade with harsh photographic conditions because the background was sunny and the jets in the shade the cameras were going crazy to get a good measuring on the aperture.
One advantage of the low sun is that we could drive around to the other side up into the mountains to check if we can get some landing or take-off shots while not being hindered by backlight conditions which resulted in some nice shots not possible later in the year.
As the flying went on 24 hours we spend two nights at the field to get some good night shots and to test the new EOS 1D Mark III on high ISO settings. Both worked out very well resulting in some great action shots!
After spending three days at the field we left to go homeward, knowing this would not be our last "WEF" to visit! And looking forward to the next trip to Switserland already, probably AXALP.
In the meantime we hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed making them for you!