report by: Pierre-Yves Lecoeur and Thierry Letellier
With three major anniversaries; AIR14 certainly had the potential to become one of those show, difficult to forget. Hosted at Payerne Air Force Base in western Switzerland, the event last took place in september 2014. The show was split over two weekends in an attempt to avoid massive trafic road congestion.
Obviously the main focus of the flying displays was on the Swiss Air Force’s centenary and all of the official display assets (Patrouille Suisse, PC-7 Team, F/A-18C Hornet solo display & Super Puma solo display) displayed on all four show days.The Hornet also performed an impressive formation display with a Super Puma helicopter, ending with a spectacular flare-dump as the two aircraft broke apart.Other segments of the centenary tribute included a mixed helicopter formation featuring examples of the Alouette II, Alouette III, EC-635 & Super Puma.
The highlight of the Swiss tribute section of the programme for most enthusiasts was a superb fourship classic jet formation display, featuring a de Havilland Vampire, Hawker Hunter, F-5F Tiger and Mirage IIIDS featuring a brilliantly choreographed routine of four beautiful classic jets. Alongside the historic aircraft showcased in the Swiss Air Force tribute there were a significant number of European warbirds on show. Red Bull’s P-38 Lighting, B-25 Mitchell and F4U Corsair displayed on differing days across the two weekends; Other notable warbird displays included an AD-4N Skyraider and P-51D ‘Moonbeam McSwine’.The beautiful Breitling Super Constellation also flew a number of times, including in formation (abiet loosely) with the Swiss PC-7 Team.
With one of the events key teams being the Patrouille Suisse & PC-7 Team’s 50th/25th anniversaries, was made a spectacular flying display with the 2 formations together in the sky.The Polish Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum performed as usual with flares. The Swedish Air Force Gripen were on a marketing mission all week at Payerne. While the Polish Fitter pair enjoyed perfect blue skies on Saturday, Ramex Delta were not so lucky on Sunday with grey conditions persistent for much of the day, however the moisture did mean plenty of vapour coming from their Mirage 2000N aircraft.
Highlights of the static display included a pair of Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornets together with Austrian Typhoon and Croatian Air Force Mil-8 Hip. Aside the flying displays and quality filled static, the overall airshow experience at Payerne was brilliant. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, Globalairpower was only present during the first weekend with some regrets when we saw the second one. But it will remain for us a really great event.