Report by: Mike Danks
Nestled in the bottom of a steep sided valley and taxiways crossing the roads from the cavern hangers, Meiringen Air Base is one of the most stunning bases to photograph aircraft in Europe.
The locally based aircraft are F/A-18s of Fliegerstaffel 11 ‘Tigers’ and F-5E/Fs of Fliegerstaffel 8 ‘Vandalos’. But as with the other bases I visited in Switzerland there are multiple movements from a wide variety of aircraft and helicopters. With the cancellation of AXALP there were EC635s bringing materials and portaloos down from the mountain. This made for some interesting photos as they passed behind my location and were land locked by the dramatic mountain backdrop.
Driving in from the north you break out of the tunnel carousel and have a great view over the base. As you head down you turn off the main road and drive on the narrow roads past the end of runway 09, which lead to the old taxiway. This is now used for parking. This location is south of the runway and great for photos of the aircraft on rotation.
Now I have been close to runways in the past, but the location next to where the road crosses the runway and taxiways, is the closest I have been to a runway without actually being on base. These locations can be found on the Scramble website.The missions each day consisted of 4 x F/A-18s from FlSt 11 departing from either the 27 or 09 runway in the morning and afternoon. With the wind calm they tended to use R27 as this is closer to where the aircraft taxi from the cavern hangers. These were probably training missions as the aircraft were only away for 45 minutes.
With other locations for photos not tried this time Meiringen is definitely one for a return visit.