AIR14, Payerne, Switzerland
AIR14 was held at Payerne in Switzerland, and took place over two weekends at the end of August and beginning of September. I was lucky enough to attend the first weekend. Each day had a unique theme which influenced the type of aircraft on display.
The Swiss Air Force's centenary celebrations was at the heart of the flying display. Swiss participants included; The Patrouille Suisse, PC-7 Team, F/A-18C Hornet and Super Puma solo display.
The Patrouille Suisse joined formation with a SWISS Airbus A330 which made several flypasts before the A330 broke away to perform a missed approach and rapid climb-out.
The highlight for many would have been the 45 minute tribute to the history of the Swiss Air Force, showcasing past and present aircraft in interesting formations and set-pieces. For example a specially marked F/A-18C Hornet flew a tight formation display with Swiss marked warbirds, alternating between a P-51D & Morane D-3801.
Alongside the historic aircraft showcased in the Swiss Air Force tribute there were a significant number of European warbirds on show. Red Bull's P-38 Lighting, B-25 Mitchell and F4U Corsair displayed on alternating days. Other notable warbird displays included AD-4N Skyraider and P-51D 'Moonbeam McSwine'.
AIR14 will be regarded by many that attended as one of the best aviation events in Europe this decade. With 10 years of planning, the centenary of the Swiss Air Force was a great success and high expectations were met with a large variety of aircraft, large crowds and beautiful weather.
Many European fighters were present during the event including; Polish Air Force SU-22 Fitters and MiG-29 Fulcrum; RAMEX Delta with their Mirage 2000N of the French Air Force; and F-16 from the Belgian Air Force. In addition to fast fighter jets, impressive displays were provided by helicopter types such as the Mil-24 Hind of the Czech Republic and EC665 Tigre of the French Air Force. Many more types could be found both in the air and on static display throughout the weekend.