Interview -Air Base Commander, Meiringen

Thank you for your time. Please introduce yourself to our readers, since when you joined the Swiss Air Force, what types you have flown during the years?

Name: Reto Kunz
Rank: Colonel GS
Function: Air Base Commander Meiringen

I joined the Swiss Air Force in 1993. During my basic transition course I have flown the PC-7, the HAWK Mk66 and the TIGER F-5E. 1995 I became a member of the UeG (Überwachungsgeschwader) in the Fl St 1 (Fliegerstaffel 1) of the Swiss Air Force. 1999 I transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet and changed to the fighter squadron Fl St 17 (Fliegerstaffel 17). 2002-2005 I joined the US NAVY SQN VFA-106 as an F/A-18 instructor. 2006 I became a member of the Fighter Sqn 11 (Fliegerstaffel 11) in Meiringen.

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What is the task of the Flugplatzkommando Meiringen in the Swiss Air Force, and what aircrafts are you using?

Meiringen is one of the three fighter jet air bases in Switzerland. It is the home base of two fighter squadrons, militia Squadron 8 flying the F-5E Tiger, and the professional Squadron 11, flying the F/A-18 Hornet. The main part of my work as Air Base Commander is administrative work, but I still get the chance to fly the F/A-18 Hornet in a tactically manor or as an instructor.

Meiringen is famous for its mountains and very popular around the spotter community as I see it, there are hundreds photos on the net, that you can make only at Meiringen!

Meiringen is one of the three fighter jet air bases in Switzerland. It is the home base of two fighter squadrons, militia Squadron 8 flying the F-5E Tiger, and the professional Squadron 11, flying the F/A-18 Hornet. The main part of my work as Air Base Commander is administrative work, but I still get the chance to fly the F/A-18 Hornet in a tactically manor or as an instructor.

For 2016, the base will open its gates. Can you tell us about the “75 Jahre Militärflugplatz Meiringen”? What can people expect in June?

The 75. year anniversary will be a three day military air show (16th -18th June 2016) including the Patrouille Suisse, PC-7 TEAM, helicopters, Swiss Hornet Solo Display. We will have several ground troops exhibitions, for example a dynamic tank show (Leopard II) and much more.

Any foreign air forces who were confirmed for the open gate?

Yes, we will host the French Air Force with Rafales, the German Air Force with Eurofighters and the Belgium Air Force with F-16. We would have loved to invite more friends, but the available tarmac space and the special flying procedure and limitations to land in Meiringen because of the mountain-area made it impossible to invite more.

Some of the Swiss air bases are famous for their cave hangars. Will the one at Meiringen be open the public?

No, the open gates only include above ground infrastructure.

Fliegerstaffel 11, part of the Fliegergeschwader 13 is a member of the NATO Tiger Association! Will the unit participate in the 2016 Tiger Meet?

Yes, the Fliegerstaffel 11 will participate the 2016 Tiger Meet this coming May.

Who decides when can the unit participate?

The commander of the Swiss Air Force places the request to the Federal Council of Switzerland.

I did a search on the internet and I have found a couple of special Tiger paint F/A-18 from Fliegerstaffel 11. Are they still part of the unit? Or they were painted back to grey?

The hornet J-5011 is still painted in the tiger look. A new paint job will be done for the 75. year anniversary.

Meiringen is also known for the Axalp Firing Range which is nearby, the live firing also became famous as well in the spotter community. As a base captain you visit the excersise as well?

Of course. The Axalp shooting range belongs to the air base of Meiringen. Based on this fact, Meiringen is part of the organization community for the opening day at Axalp and I visit the exercise every year.

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