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  Axalp 2018 Ė the last Tiger show
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   

Whenever I  go to the Axalp, I try to be there as early as possible. At six in the morning it is still dark and not too crowded yet. My aim is to be on top before the sun rises above the horizon. It is not only more comfortable to walk but you also have a bigger chance of finding a suitable place on top where to place yourself for taking pictures. As the flying starts at about nine, the earlier you are there, the more chances you have of taking good pictures.

People arrive on top during the span of about seven hours. However, as soon as the last display item is finished in the afternoon people start rushing down again. Everybody wants to be first at the chairlift and then the busses taking the people down to the valley. If you are unlucky, you may have to wait several hours for a bus to take you down as the road is single track with few passing places where the busses can cross.

   

climbing to the top (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The valles still covered by morning fog (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

The race to get down again (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Queuing for the cablecar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Gunnery display

The whole event started when people went to watch the shooting for the Air Force gunnery competition. From this it grew until it is what one can see today. There is still shooting for the competition during the morning, as the public part only lasts about 1,5 hours in the afternoon. This year the two F-18 J-5011 and J-5017 with their special tail markings took part in the shooting.

   

F-18 firing ist guns (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 two seater (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

F-5 firing guns (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Nortrop F-5E Tiger II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Nortrop F-5E Tiger II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Nortrop F-5E Tiger II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special tank markings (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 special Tail (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Nortrop F-5E Tiger II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Pilatus PC-21

The PC-21 is the advanced trainer of the Air Force that prepares the student for the F-18.  Many Air Forces have meanwhile introduced this trainer into their inventory.  

 

Pilatus PC-21 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 
 

Pilatus PC-21 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Pilatus PC-21 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Pilatus PC-21 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Pilatus PC-21 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 Solo Display

The start of the display was very special when the F-18 departed vertically from the formation with the two Pilatus trainers.  It felt a bit longer than the normal solo display. The one new feature was to shoot flares while flying inverted.

 

F-18 The first rays of the rising sun (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-18 Firing flare while flying inverted (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mc Donnell Douglas F-18C (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Helicopters

This year the Super Puma was the only Helicopter that gave a display. This was basically itís standard Axalp display. Later two Super Pumas showed the dropping of water from their underslung buckets.  The EC-635 was only present in a support role for the event but didnít display.

 

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar shooting flares (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter Cougar with water bucket (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Eurocopter Cougar dropping water (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter EC-635 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Eurocopter EC-635 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Special displays

There were three items in the program that were unique and have never been shown before. A very dissimilar formation of a PC-7, a PC-21 and the display F-18 flew in formation. After a pass in formation the F-18 started right into his solo display. Special were also the parachutists, as their speed and lack of any noise contrasts so much with the jets.

Suddenly there was an announcement, that an unidentified aircraft had violated the airspace and needed to be investigated. Therefore, two F-18 had to be dispatched to investigate. The intruder was of course a Cessna Citation from the Air Force. So, the F-18 could show how they intercept and investigate with one of the F-18 flying in a certain distance to cover his colleague. Unfortunately, the distance between the planes as well as the one between them and the audience was too great to take any pictures. It was nevertheless interesting to see how it worked.

As this was the last time the F-5 would be flying at the Axalp, there was a special 12 ship formation that did a fly past.

 

F-18 intercept mission (Picture courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Cessna 560XL Citation Excel intercept mission (Picture courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Paras (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Paras (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Special formation PC-7, PC-21, F-18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Paras (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Special formation PC-7, PC-21, F-18 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Breaking formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-5 Formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-5 Formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

F-5 Formation (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Patrouille Suisse

 

Like always, this is the last item on the program. What can one say that hasnít been said already many times, except that blue skies and aerobatic teams are a perfect match.

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 
 

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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last update 17. February 2019

Written 17. February 2019

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