Thank you for your time. Please introduce yourself to our readers, which unit you are from, since when you joined the Swiss Air Force?
My name is Julien Meister, nickname “Teddy”. I’m captain in the squadron 17, part of the Swiss Air Force. I started my career as a pilot in 2000, flying the F/A-18 Hornet since 2006. I have around 2400 flight hours, 1200 on the Hornet.
Can you tell us about how you spend a week in the air force?
It’s varying a lot. Normally I’m flying with my squadron, but I also work as an instructor on the Hornet or in Simulator. With my Hornet display side job, I have to make trainings, airshows and public relation jobs as well.
When do you train for the airshows?
I train for two weeks in the beginning of the season (in April), afterwards I just train on site before every airshow.
Did your program change from last year?
I will adapt some phases during my training in April, to be defined…
Please tell us how many people are in your team for a demo flight and what they do to help you?
I always take one spare aircraft with me, so I need a second pilot. He assists me if I have any trouble during an airshow, and helps me with organizational matters on the ground. Four to five ground crew members are in the team, too, taking care of our aircrafts.
How can you summarize the 2015 year for the Hornet Solo Display?
2015 was a very interesting year. I flew some airshows in Switzerland with high terrain (mountains), so I had to adapt my program. Additionally, I attended some nice airshows abroad like in Sliac or Sanicole.
Personally I was at SIAF 2015, and I can tell the Hornet was very popular during the weekend. Did you felt that?
SIAF was for me one of the highlights of 2015 with its incredible atmosphere and hospitality. We had a great weekend together with the PC-7 Team and the Slovak people.
During the SIAF you flew together with the PC-7 Team. Is it hard to “slow” down? Do you have to really concentrate, or with the Hornet is sort of “easy”?
We flew together at around 180kts, which is still comfortable. I flew formation with the Skyvan for a photo-shooting session in Sanicole at 140kts, I even go down to 125kts for my slow pass.
Who decides which airshow the Hornet goes?
Once a year, there’s a meeting with some big chiefs and the commanders of the Swiss display teams (Patrouille Suisse, PC-7 TEAM, Super Puma Display Team, Swiss Hornet Solo Display) and we decide together who is going to which airshows.
Which airshow you focus the most at the moment for 2016?
The airshows abroad are always more demanding regarding preparation. Ostrava (never been in Czech Republic before with my Hornet) and Bournemouth (four days seafront airshow) are on my focus.
If one day the Air Force would say…you can choose an airshow to participate, which one would it be?
AIR24 in Payerne, Switzerland! 🙂
Any solos display from other country you like?
They all have their strengths, I especially like the agility of the F16 and the power of the Eurofighter. Never seen a F22, would be great…
Thank you for your answers. Any final words to our readers?
Wish you all the best and hope to see you soon this summer! Teddy