One of the best places in the world to do military aircraft photography must be Switzerland. Airbases are so easily accessible, where else in the world would you have a public road crossing the runway of a military airbase and have benches on top of an aircraft shelter to enjoy the view?
Meiringen is one of the places to be when visiting Switzerland. It is located in a small valley between spectacular high mountains. This valley is so deep and narrow that in the winter period the sun will not even reach the airbase. Keep this in mind when going there. The view from the base is breathtaking and spots to take pictures can be found everywhere around the base. There is no real base fence, and it is possible to drive over the field, but please be reluctant going to places where the military would not appreciate you being around.
This airbase is definitely recommended. Tip: a trip to Meiringen is easily combined with the Axalp demonstration, it is "just around the corner".
The runway is east-west and follows the contours of the valley. There is a taxiway routing to and from the cavern on the south side, crossing the public road.
Coming from Luzern, take the A8 to Interlaken (you will pass Alpnach airbase) Coming down from the mountain you will already see the airbase in the valley,
Around the Airport
1From the mountain
From up above the mountain you have a superb birds-eye view over the airfield.
2North side - 1
Coming from road 11 (Also known as road 6 or Haubtstrasse) you can take the Unterbachstrasse which will lead you over the runway. Just before you cross there are gate barriers which will close once aircraft arrive. Here you have a nice view but unfortunately with backlight conditions.
3North side - 2
From spot 2 it is possible to follow a small dirt road parallel to the runway eastward. Here some more viewing points can be found. Unfortunately, these are still backlit.
From a hill, just outside the village, it is possible to get an overview of the flight line which is a good opportunity for the number crunchers to read off the serials
5Along the runway -1
First spot alongside the good side of the runway is this spot 5. Here one of the roads crosses the taxiway. A barrier goes down when aircraft are using the taxi track. A bit further to the right some excellent pictures can be made.
Across the road ,a new complex has been built. It includes a restaurant 'with a view': Restaurant "Fliegertreff". From its terrace (one floor up) it takes 300 mm (effectively) for aircraft on the runway, and about 200 mm for aircraft on the taxi track.
6Along the runway - 2
Spot 6 is also excellent. Pictures of the planes taking off or on the taxi track can be made from here.
7Along the runway - 3
Spot 7 is on the end (or the beginning) of the runway, where the taxi track makes a turn. A barrier can be found here as well. From this barrier use a small dirt road alongside the runway to take you various good photo opportunities here. Park you car away from the road leading to spot 7. The farmer is not that happy with people visiting. This also goes for entering the grass lands here.
As the Dorfstrasse crosses the taxiway and actually leads right through the base you will find, coming from spot 6, some shelters on your right. You can stand on top of them and have a prefect view on the runway, the taxi track in front of you but also the taxi track at the back of the shelter.
9Road crossing taxi track
And so it happens that you can find a road in the middle of a village where fighters cross... Can you imagine walking to the grocery shop in the morning and an F-5 crosses your way. Quite something...
10From the other mountain
If you leave Unterbach in the direction to Meiringen, you might want to try this mountain road which gives you quite a view over the base. Just follow the Dorfstrasse in the direction of Meiringen and turn right at a sign which says "Zaun". The road starts climbing up and after a few kilometres and a lot of turns you will see a large antenna. Drive about two hundred metres further down the road and stop at a wooden bridge on the right. Park your car, cross the bridge and you will see the airfield down from you. Very special pictures can be made here but you will need some millimetres.
In the autumn, Meiringen is particulary beautiful. This picture was taken at spot6. (Philip Stevens)
At spot 7 pictures can be taken on the taxitrack as well as on the runway. (Philip Stevens)
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