December 31, 2017

best wishes for 2018

Yes, the year has already ended in some parts of the world. Many good meetings with people and aircrafts - but with the loss of activity in many Air Forces due budgetary cuts I have not made too many pictures of our beloved birds of steel.
I've invested again a great part of my free time to discover the natural wonders of my area and found a lot of birds and other animals in less then an 1 hour cycling distance around my village. This mountain coat was walking towards me for checking me up, and I proved no harm. This and many other encounters througout the year will stay forever in my heart and I hope to catch many other local habitants in my area also in the future.
A big Thank You to everyone reading regulary this blog and staying in contact all over those years or discovering only a short time. All the best for the new year and see you soon again around some airfields (or in nature).

December 23, 2017

Merry christmas my friends

With greetings out of the wood, I whish you all a happy christmas holiday - Health, laughter and fun to all of you 🎅🎅🎅🎄🎄🎄🎁🎁🎁

December 20, 2017

No heavy helicopters for Switzerland

With the end of service life arriving for the Super Puma Helicopters in 2030 and the need of an transport aircraft, Councillor of State Peter Hess (CVP) requested some informations about using bigger, heavy-lift helicopters instead (September 23rd, 2015).
Today, the seven members of the Federal Council approved the study done since, rejecting the need mainly due budgetary causes.

The Council of State is the smaller chamber of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, and is considered the Assembly's upper house, with the National Council being the lower house. There are 46 Councillors.

 End of service life arriving for multiple systems in Swiss Army, Air Defence and Super Puma helicopters included.

Link (pdf), german:

Le Conseil fĂ©dĂ©ral rejette l’acquisition d’hĂ©licoptĂšres gros-porteurs

Berne, 20.12.2017 - Lors de sa sĂ©ance du 8 dĂ©cembre 2017, le Conseil fĂ©dĂ©ral a approuvĂ©, en rĂ©ponse Ă  un postulat du Conseil des Etats, un rapport Ă©tudiant la possibilitĂ© d’acquĂ©rir des hĂ©li-coptĂšres gros-porteurs. DiffĂ©rentes options sont prĂ©sentĂ©es dans ledit rapport, qui recommande de conserver la flotte actuelle malgrĂ© les restrictions d’emploi touchant les hĂ©licoptĂšres de l’ArmĂ©e suisse.
DĂ©posĂ© par le conseiller aux Etats Hans Hess, le postulat 15.3918 demandait au Conseil fĂ©dĂ©ral d'Ă©tudier la possibilitĂ© d'acquĂ©rir des hĂ©licoptĂšres gros-porteurs pouvant ĂȘtre engagĂ©s par tous les temps Ă  la place d'avions de transport. Contrairement Ă  ces derniers, des hĂ©licoptĂšres gros-porteurs ne seraient en effet pas cantonnĂ©s aux engagements Ă  l'Ă©tranger et pourraient rendre de prĂ©cieux services en Suisse Ă©galement. Le rapport du Conseil fĂ©dĂ©ral passe en revue les diffĂ©rences entre les hĂ©licoptĂšres actuellement en service au sein de l'armĂ©e et les gros-porteurs, notamment sur le plan des caractĂ©ristiques techniques et des possibilitĂ©s d'engagement. Les exigences posĂ©es par les engagements en Suisse et Ă  l'Ă©tranger, dans le cadre de la promotion de la paix et de l'aide humanitaire en cas de catas-trophe, sont Ă©galement analysĂ©es. Enfin, diffĂ©rentes possibilitĂ©s de dĂ©veloppement de la flotte d'hĂ©licoptĂšres de l'armĂ©e tenant compte de la situation budgĂ©taire sont dĂ©taillĂ©es.

Pas d'acquisition avant la fin de la durée d'utilisation de la flotte actuelle

L'acquisition d'hĂ©licoptĂšres gros-porteurs permettrait d'Ă©largir l'Ă©ventail des prestations dans le domaine du transport aĂ©rien en Suisse et Ă  l'Ă©tranger, mais des appareils de cette taille prĂ©sentent des inconvĂ©nients sur les plans financier et opĂ©rationnel. L'acquisition d'une flotte d'une taille semblable Ă  l'actuelle n'est finançable ni dans l'immĂ©diat, en raison du renouvel-lement planifiĂ© d'autres moyens de l'armĂ©e, ni au cours des annĂ©es 2020. Une flotte de taille rĂ©duite pĂšserait sur la flexibilitĂ© de l'engagement des machines. Le rapport arrive ainsi Ă  la conclusion que la flotte actuelle doit ĂȘtre conservĂ©e jusqu'Ă  la fin de sa durĂ©e d'utilisation dans les annĂ©es 2030 malgrĂ© les restrictions qui l'accompagnent et rejette l'idĂ©e d'acquĂ©rir des hĂ©licoptĂšres gros-porteurs avant cette Ă©chĂ©ance. En contrepartie, les hĂ©licoptĂšres Cougar de l'ArmĂ©e suisse bĂ©nĂ©ficieront d'un programme de maintien de la valeur, que le Conseil fĂ©dĂ©ral entend soumettre au Parlement en fĂ©vrier 2018 dans le cadre du prochain programme d'armement.

Adresse pour l'envoi de questions
Karin Suini
Porte-parole du DDPS
+41 58 464 50 86
With Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III already out of production (and really too big for Switzerland's use), the search for a new transport aircraft will going on the next few years. Our Governement already missed a good opportunity to adopt a C-130 Hercules with the aquisition by Austria. Still my favorite solution, we should buy one more for Austria (also a neutral country with three C-130K at the moment) with all the maintenance and pilot school made there. One Herc available for our own flight crews with something like 24h reservation in advance and maybe in neutral or white UN colors. Win-Win for Austria and Switzerland.

Another very good solution for a new transport aircraft (my personal opinion) is Casa's C-295. Also in use by many nations in europe, this 'little Hercules' should give enough transport capacity for foreign exercises, helping continental disaster relief, immigrant returns (actually made via expensive civil charter and line flights) and organisations like the UN and Red Cross.

With maintenance costs of 2-3 millions CHF arriving for the Beech 1900D T-729 in the end of 2018, our actual transport aircraft should be sold and exchanged by two CL604 Canadair Jets of the REGA Air Ambulance.
The Pilatus PC-24 will be our new government jet aircraft.

Medium and heavy lift helicopters not in sight for the next decade
Transport capacity is surely needed in near future. But is an medium/heavy transport helicopter the better solution for Switzerland than an transport aircraft ?
Helicopters can be used like transport aircrafts. Less effective (slow if not transported in an aircraft) abroad, but giving new possibilities/capacities in and around Switzerland. The boost in transport capacity from the Alouette III to the Super Puma has given our army for the first time an effective and fast system for troop concentration/mobility. And with the humanitarian aid (Indonesia 2005), Security aid (Kosovo Force KFOR), disaster relief (Avalanches in Austria 1999) and fighting forest fires in Montenegro (2017), Israel (2010), Portugal and Italy (2017) - the Swiss Air Force has proven a high quality of working in difficult conditions and a fast line of command answering requested demands.
A Helicopter needs some equipment (engines, cockpit instruments, mechanics), and the difference in weight for that in a big or a smaller cell is not important. Meaning a bigger cell can transport more (in principe). With a cargo door in the back of the helicopter, equipment can be transported inside and giving some security regarding underslung loads. A typical heavy helicopter can transport 11t at sea level, dropping to 8700kg if he's armored and has some defensive systems installed (Cougar: 1700kg). At 3000m, the transport capacity resting at 4000kg (Cougar: 750kg).
Super Puma and Cougar helicopters are mainly used for transporting small detachments of up to 15 soldiers. With a bigger helicopter or a transport aircraft, the governmental 'security policy 2016' - more international cooperation and peace support - will be much easier to succeed. Today's Cougar fleet is not very helpful in tropical conditions, the main area where UNHCR needing help and Switzerland had to decline regular requests of this and other organisations.

You can find more information in the linked pdf above, but the end of the story was that heavy helicopters where surely a 'nice to have', but the actual fleet is capable of the most needed duties. Budget and personal limitations are also an important factor, but heavy helicopters are for sure to have a look at due evaluation after our fleet is reaching the end of the service live.

European and US models are surely preferred by our government due political and technical needs.

NH-90 is introduced in many neighbour countries in the last few years.
Germany is using the CH-53 Stallion intensively in Switzerland, training in snow and high conditions out of Alpnach/DĂŒbendorf and Meiringen. But the old gear is using a lot of maintenance and the Luftwaffe is interested to buy the new CH-53K model instead.

Already in use by Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, the Chinook whould be one of the possibilities for Switzerland.
Mil Mi-8 and it's derivates are still very interesting for transport capacity and combat proven. But with the political situation in Russia and expensive maintenance plus the compability missing to our actual systems still a no go.

An interesting mix of functions - V-22 Osprey

December 16, 2017

After the Calendar of Hunterverein Obersimmental, this time I've got other pictures pubished in the official Aeroclub-Calender 2018 too. Thank you very much, high quality calenders in limited edition. 👌

December 11, 2017

14 years ago - disbandment of Fighter Squadron 13

Time goes fast and with the disbandment of Fighter Squadrons 6, 8 and 19 this year the era of militia fighter squadrons in the Swiss Air Force is coming to an end.

14 years ago, December 11th of 2003, Fighter Squadron 13 was the first of the Tiger-(militia)squadrons ending her history. Still an impressive fleet of the Tiger F-5E/F aircraft where available, but pilots coming to the end of there career due age restrictions or have to transfer to other squadrons.
After an nice celebration in Emmen on September 17th, the final training course in Meiringen marked the official end of Fliegerstaffel 19.

last repetition course in Buochs

March 2003 - last repetition course in Buochs with the Fl Kp 20 (Flieger Kompanie, Ground/Maintenance for the Squadrons 19 (F-5 Tiger). Flights with Recce Sq 10  on Mirage III RS where regular.

 last training course in Emmen

Squadron 19 celebrated an Open Day for family members and made an impressive low flybye

final training course, Meiringen

Final training course of the Fliegerstaffel 13 in Meiringen, only bad luck (maintenance) provided an mass formation of 13 Tigers. Impressive lineup and already with an DSLR back then 👍

December 03, 2017

Big Birds in LSME December 4th/5th, 2017

Two of the biggest civil/military transport aircrafts are supposed to land tomorrow monday in Emmen for space and aviation  FIREWORKS ! parts:

Emmen 04.12.2017

STA1130 VDA A124 RA-82077

Emmen 05.12.2017

STD1300 VDA A124 RA-82077
STD1400 QAF C17A  Takeoff 1500 QAF C-17A A7-MAO on 6th December 2017

(Times in Local Time)

Not the most favourable weather - but a very rare sight indeed 👌