Category: Switzerland


Axalp is so much more than an airshow. Axalp is experience!

Not only do you have to climb the mountain, to attend it, you must also expect the unexpected – especially the sudden changes of weather. And the weather was the culprit this year as well. Tuesday’s afternoon airshow was cancelled because of incoming rain. Wednesday’s airshow was already cancelled the night before and while we woke up to a starry night on Thursday’s early morning at 3AM, the show was eventually cancelled because of the low cloud cover.

Below photos were taken on Tuesday, waiting for the to-be cancelled afternoon practice on Tschingel and Thursday’s hike up to sunlit Wildgärst.

The people of Tschingel

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Hike up the mountain always wets the appetite – forget the power bars; there’s nothing better than a piece of bread and sausage enjoyed in fresh Alpine air.

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Damn, this thing is heavy!

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When visiting such an event, don’t forget to document everything! By any means necessary.

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Sharp, Soft, Out of Focus, Delete, Sharp, Soft, Out of Focus, Delete,…

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While most of the photographers feel sorry for themselves, carrying the heavy camera equipment up the hill, the award goes to this guy – carrying two kids!

The attack on Wildgärst

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While we started in pitch black night, crossing alpine streams and our paths lit only by headlamps, the dawn up in the Alps always look amazing.

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Panorama of the area below the Schwarzhorn, looking towards the West. Click on the photo for bigger resolution.

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One of the most amazing things in the Alps – sunrise!

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My two Swiss guides, Grimmi and Adrian with our destination, Wildgärst in the background.

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Finally on top! Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains bask in the morning sunlight!

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NE to SW panorama from the Wildgärst. Click on the photo for bigger resolution.

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F-5E Tigers flew in to check for the weather…

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…but while we were enjoying the sunshine, targets on the range were covered by low clouds, as was most of the Switzerland.

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Next visitor was this Pilatus PC-21.

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While the pilot couldn’t perform his display on the range, he did make a few inverted low passed for the people gathered on Wildgärst…

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…and disappeared behind the mountains again.

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In the meantime, we could at least feed and observe the feisty Alpine Choughs.

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Watchbird.

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The poser!

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Later, F/A-18 Hornets tried their luck to no avail.

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And all we could do, before returning down the mountain, was to observe Hornet intercepts above our heads.

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F-5E Tiger II at Axalp 2015

Northrop F-5E Tiger II first flew in 1972. Swiss Air Force bought the first batch in 1978 and the second one in 1984. Tigers have proved cheap and easy to maintain and can provide adequate air-defense. All the F-5s are flown by a militia pilots – sort of a Air National Guard, consisting mainly of ex-SwAF pilots who are now flying airliners – that includes the Patrouille Suisse display team. Swiss AF operated a staggering 110 F-5E/Fs but unfortunately due to the fatigue only a handful remain in service. They ought to be replaced by JAS-39 Gripen, but due political decisions, the orders still hangs in the air.

The following photos were taken on Tuesday, October 6th 2015.

Interlaken steam locomotives

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Front view of the steam locomotive workshop based at station Interlaken Ost

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Axalp

Axalp je majhna vasica, ki leži nad Brienzom v osrednji Švici na nadmorski višini 1535m. Če pa omenite besedo Axalp letalskim navdušencem, pa se le-tem zasvetijo oči. V neposredni bližini te idlične vasice namreč leži vojaški poligon, kjer vsako leto prva dva tedna v oktobru potekajo vaje njihovega letalstva, kjer piloti z letali F-5E Tiger II in F-18C Hornet napadajo tarče s topovi. Vsa stvar ne bi bila nič posebnega, če se cela zadeva ne bi dogajala na nadmorski višini približno 2.200m, cel poligon pa obdajajo vrhovi, ki krepko presegajo višino 3.000m. V drugem tednu vaj, pa v sredo in četrtek pripravijo celo čisto pravi visokogorski letalski miting.

Axalp is a little village, lying in the hills South of Brienz in Switzerland at 1.535 of altitude. If you mention the word “Axalp” to any aviation fan, you’ll see their eyes widen and they’ll heart beat will rise. In the proximity of this little idilic mountain village lies a military range, where in first two weeks of October each year, Swiss Air Force trains and uses targets on the ground for gun attack practices with F-5 Tiger II and F-18 Hornet jet fighters. The training wouldn’t be anything special if the whole thing wouldn’t be happening high in the Alps with targets at 2.200m and surrounded by much highter 3.000m+ mountains. And they even prepare an afternoon airshow on Wednesday and Thursday on the second week of the exercises.

Zemljevid območja, na katerem potekajo vaje.
Map of the training area.