Airwingspotter made our trip to Switzerland visiting Meiringen Air Base on 3/12/2015( LSMM) Switzerland is one of the most military aviation friendly countries. They have good access to their bases for photography in many cases public access road leads through the runway and taxiway of Meiringen. There are signs and barriers that comes on when the runway is going active. This bases consists of single runway running 10/28 of 5987 ft long . Both side of the runway are equipped with retractable arresting gear devices (used by the F/A-18C and in case of a problem by the F-5). She is located in a small valley between spectacular high mountains 46°44’36″N 008°06’36″E. Keep this in mind when going there, the view from the base is breathtaking and spots to take pictures can be found everywhere around the base. Runway being East West direction, Aviation photography is perfect for the whole day as long as you stay on the south side of the runway. There is also a base cafeteria “Fliegertreff “that sits in the same building as Staffel 11 ( Tiger Squadron) and a hotel Landgasthof Roessli which sits next to the restaurant. They have a small gift shop in that have small souvenirs for us “ Aviation Enthusiasts” and lots of literature from the Swiss Air force about the Base, squadrons newsletters and events . The Restaurant serve lunch cafeteria style, while the food is excellent you also get o mingle with all the pilots and aircrews during chow time. Meiringen host an active website from the Swiss Air Force and have good information of the base.
My visit started with an early rise with my lovely wife Linda from Luzern . A good 45 minutes of windy roads gets me to the base at 10:45am. I was hearing activities of F-5E, Pilatus PC7 and F-18C up in the air. We drove through the runway and scout out different places on the Southside of the base and finally found ourselves in the Fliegertreff Cafeteria. The owner was really nice and showed me around the building and also there is an elevator that gets you to an upper public viewing deck that overlook the entire base. While I was up on the deck, the barrier started to come down and an F-18C from Fliegerstaffel 11 landed on runway 10 and taxi by me.
Walking around midfield area passing the hotel and the Museum, I found a great spot for spotting take off and landing shots kind of on the midfield area. An F-5E from the local militia Fliegerstaffel 8 came in to land from his morning sortie with drag chute deployed. This was followed by a lone F-5F( visiting ) doing touch and goes. Finally a few local PC7 pilatus doing landing and take offs.
F-5E and F-5F actions
Lunch time was spent in the Fliegertreff cafeteria and we get to chat with some of the pilots from Staffel 11 and was given information on the afternoon sortie . I got myself ready for the 1330 hrs sortie of 6x F-18C on the viewing deck and get some great tarmac actions, taxi by and eventually take off from runway 10. The take off of those F18 was spectacular due to the snowy Alps on the backdrop of the shots.
Typical F-18C sortie of 45 minutes gets me into midfield for the landing at about 1400hrs. One after the other the 6x F-18C came in to land . As this was going on, the lone F-5F came back and do 2 more touch and goes. There was a 1530hrs sortie for Fliegerstaffel 11 and Fliegerstaffel 8 that I miss since we need to head out for the rest of our trip.
We parted the base with a great smile in my face. I’ve got lots of F-5 , F-18 and Pilatus PC7 actions in such a short period of time . Highly recommend any military aviation enthusiasts to come visit this base and experience the Swiss hospitality. Maybe next time I will stay in hotel Landgasthof Roessli and catch my early morning sortie while having a cup of coffee and breakfast.