Saturday, July 3, 1993

Flying over Central Switzerland

In the summer of 1993, I went flying in central Switzerland, leaving from the grass strip at Thun Airfield. The airstrip is located in a Swiss Army practice range, used mostly by armored vehicles. As second in command, I flew part of the flight, which included flying over Lake Thun, past Spiez, over Interlaken and Lake Brienz, past Brienz and making a u-turn over Meiringen Air Base (which is closed on weekends). Meiringen AB is one of Switzerland's most secretive sites, because in addition to being an airbase, it has two nearby hardened aircraft shelters (tunnels housing Mirage, F-5 and Hunter aircraft), which will be modernized and expanded to three tunnels to protect over twenty FA-18 aircraft which Switzerland recently acquired.

(above) Preflight check (notice the Swiss tanks in the background!).

(above) View of hangar while taking off from the grass strip.

(above) Immediately after takeoff I flew over Pz-68 tanks practicing on the field.

(above) Flying over Interlaken Air Base.

(above) Approaching Meiringen Air Base.

(above) Flying over the two mountain aircraft shelter entrances at Meiringen Air Base (each leads to a hardened tunnel for Mirage III, F-5E and Hunter fighters).

(above) Returning west, I flew past the lakefront town of Brienz.

(above) Flying over Interlaken (the famous Victoria Jungfrau Resort in center).

(above) Thun is home to Switzerland's main armored vehicle manufacture, assembly and maintenance facilities.

(above) Many of the Swiss Army's armored units train in and around Thun's army base.

(above) At the center of Thun's military base, not far from the airfield is a collection of old armored vehicles from all over the world.

Copyright © 2008 A.C. Frieden. No reproduction permitted.