AXALP tour: Meiringen 10th October 2017

We arrived at Meiringen air base in the early afternoon and it felt great to be back in one of the most stunning locations to photograph military aircraft. The sun was still shining and as we drove around the 09 end of the runway, passing a number of photographers waiting for the afternoons departures. We were directed by Swiss Air Force personnel along the old disused taxiway to where there was parking and portaloos. Making my way back down the taxiway i heard the distinctive sound of engines starting in the cavern hangers. The taxiway is gated which is normally a great place to stand and shoot the departing aircraft from R27. But these gates had been opened and the Swiss Air Force had placed barriers further along the taxiway onto the base. The photo below is a panoramic fro this location.

I didn't have to wait long before two F/A-18 Hornets of Fliegerstaffel 11 taxied out to the runway readying for departure. When the engines switch to full power the noise echos around the valley and creates the feeling of surround sound. The backdrop to any aircraft's departure is full of colour at this time of year with autumn in full swing.

Between the Hornets departure and return there was constant movements, with Super Pumas ferrying personnel and equipment up to the AXALP range, PC7s departing on training missions and two PC-6s departing.

Not long after the final Pilatus aircraft had departed the Hornets returned with a run and break, before diving down into the valley to line up on the approach.

With the evening closing in and the Super Pumas starting to return it was time to head off to our hotel in Meiringen. As i headed back up the taxiway back to the car a farmer was moving his cattle to another field and was driving them down the road. As they wandered down the road some of them wore the distinctive Swiss cow bells which will always trigger happy memories of being in this beautiful location in the Alps.

Driving to the hotel I began to feel the excited anticipation of what the next two days was going to hold at the weapons range above AXALP. Bag packed, camera checked, alarm set for 5am, time to try and get some sleep. Day one of AXALP coming soon.


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