|F/A-18 Hornets deploy to Meiringen's underground caverns
Swiss Air Force Base, Meiringen - Unterbach
September 3, 2004
|Swiss Air Force air base Meiringen-Unterbach is the home of Fliegergeschwader 13, Fliegerstaffel (FlSt or Air Squadron) 8 which operate the Northrop F-5E Tiger II. Additionally there are regular deployments by FlSt 11 from Payerne with their McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18Cs and two-seat Ds. During exercises and in wartime Fliegergeschwader (Air Wing) 11 at Payerne deploys FlSt 11 to Meiringen and Fl.St. 18 to Sion in the south. Escadrille d'aviation 17 with F/A-18C/Ds remain at Payerne.
Meiringen in typical Swiss style has underground hangars or caverns carved into the rock below Axalphorn mountain. During my brief visit F/A-18Cs and two-seat Ds taxied directly out of these cavern complexes, which are actually off the airfield as such. Barriers block a public road, just seconds before the Hornets taxi out onto the airfield proper. Immediately after landing the procedure is reversed, as they taxi straight back into their protected rock homes.
|McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18C (J-5017) climbs out of Meiringen.
|Left to right: Two-seat F/A-18D Hornet (J-5238) on its way to the end of the runway. The final image is of F/A-18D (J-5234) as passes between the electric gates and disappears into the cavern area.
|The F/A-18 Hornet (F/A-18D
J-5238 and F/A-18Cs J-5017 and J-5010) as it rolls out over the public road which crosses the centre of the airfield.
|F/A-18D J-5238 and F/A-18C J-5017 returning after a typical 45 minute sortie. The third shot looks like it is landing in a farm yard, such is the close proximity of the farming community at Meiringen.