The World Economic Forum ( WEF ) is a private no-profit foundation based in Geneva which organizes an annual meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos, with all the major political and economic leaders with international intellectuals and journalists discuss and deal about the most pressing issues of the world in all areas including health and the environment.
Numerous personalities are present and there is a strong media attention for the event, so for obvious safety reasons there is a strong deployment of personnel and equipment to protect the participants. About the airspace protection, the Schweizer Luftwaffe (Swiss Air Force) has designated this year the Air Base of Sion which main focus of all activities of air defense above Davos. The Sion airport, in the middle of the Canton of Valais, born in 1935 and now accommodate a military detachment of the Schweizer Luftwaffe together with a civil action planes. Unfortunately the military base will close in the 2017, in conjunction with the complete withdrawal of the F 5E Tiger and the achievement of full operation by the new Gripen multi-role fighter.
In the airport of Sion there is the "Aérienne Base 14", where there are Compagnia d’aviazione 14 which is responsible of ammunition and preparation of the aircraft , the Fliegerstaffel 18 a squadron with aircraft F/A 18 "Hornet" that usually carries in the airfields of Payerne and Meiringhen and Fliegerstaffel 19 a squadron with aircraft Northrop F 5E Tiger II used by the pilots of Militia.
Flight operations for the WEF that during about 60 minutes have been formed by pairs of planes (2+2) taking off in sequence, before two F/A 18 Hornet then followed a distance in about ten minutes by two F 5E Tiger II all armed. To note the participation at flight missions by two aircraft F 5E of the Patrouille Suisse.
During the week of the annual meeting, the Schweizer Luftwaffe took advantage about the event for the periodic recall of reservists F 5 pilots. Being patrols mission almost all of the "Hornet" and "Tiger" fly with external tanks marked "STBY 121.50" with purpose to indicate at the aircraft intercept to fly in the forbidden area tune to the emergency frequency 121.5 for instructions.
Conclusion: the day of Sion is considered extremely positive, primarily for the beautiful geographical setting & the good weather, but especially for the opportunity to observe flight operations at very close distance without any problem in a total- spotter -friendly environment!
Aircraft deployed in Sion:
F/A 18C/D "Hornet"
J-5003, J-5009, J-5012, J-5004, J-5236, J-5018, J-5008, J-5016
F 5E/F Tiger II
J-3203, J-3070, J-3073, J-3038, J-3095, J-3033, J-3074, J-3030, J-3092??, J-3080 and J-3089 Patrouille Suisse.
Parked under the tower:
J-3041, J-3062, J-3063
Images and text by Omar Rigamonti
Produced by Giorgio Ciarini