For aircraft enthusiasts, there are few opportunities to see an aircraft cannon in action. The flight demonstration on the Axalp is certainly the easiest opportunity for this and is therefore visited by thousands of people every year. However, a certain level of fitness is required for the ascent. This can be done with varying degrees of difficulty, but even for the easiest route (not counting the flight with the Super Puma from Meiringen), the walk is over an hour uphill on alpine terrain!
High above Lake Brienz near Interlaken, the Swiss Air Force displayed almost its complete range of types. From the PC-7 and PC-21 turboprops, which represent the beginning of pilot training, to the F-5E and F Tiger II aircraft in service (which unfortunately no longer have their own demonstration and are only presented by the Patrouille Suisse) and the F/A-18C and D Hornet, the air force was able to marvel at some of its aircraft above the Axalp. Particularly impressive were the air-to-ground attacks of the Hornets on various mountain targets from three different approach directions (some of them over the heads of the spectators!). The sound of the M61A2s could even be heard at the neighbouring Meiringen airfield, from where the F/A-18Cs took off with live ammunition. From Payerne came the Swiss Hornet Solo Display with Captain Yannick “Fönsi” Zanata and the specially painted Fliegerstaffel 17 Hornet J-5017, of which Fönsi is a member. In addition, two Hornets were provided for the QRA interception exercise, armed with live AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120C-7s AMRAAM. The Parouille Suisse flew in directly from its home base Emmen.
But also rotary-wing aircrafts (or helicopters) Super Puma, Cougar and EC-635P2+ could be admired in the air. In addition to the Puma Solo Display Team, an interception exercise for slow-flying aircraft was demonstrated with Cougar.
Surprise guests of this edition were 2 Italian F-35A of the Italian Air Force, among them MM7366 with the code 6-01. This aircraft is to become the first Lightning II for the 6° Stormo in Ghedi, which is currently the last wing with Panavia Tornado IDS and ECR (correct Italian designation: A-200C and EA-200CD) in service. In addition to the Swiss, the German Air Force has also opted for the modern aircraft made by Lockheed Martin, which is why Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz did not miss the chance to see an F-35 in flight.
A great deal of praise goes to the Swiss Air Force, which organised this event perfectly. The excellent weather also made this visit a real highlight!