On Monday 14th May 2018 at the Swiss Air Force Base in Dübendorf (Switzerland) an event was organized by Markus Moser, owner of Alpenglühn Handels GmbH, in cooperation with ic! Berlin und Knecht & Müller AG.
Best Shot Aircraft – “The Easy Way to Fly High” with an invitation from Luciano Cestonato, owner of Berling Optik – Zurich (Switzerland), was able to attend the event to document the first official training of the PC7 Team with the new flight display 2018.
The PC7 Team is the second aerobatic team of the Swiss Air Force, born in 1989 on the anniversary of the 75th years of the Swiss air force, it performs every year in many events in its own country and also in several European airshows.
The name of the team come from the aircraft used for the shows: the Pilatus PC7, a two-seater turboprop training aircraft built in Switzerland by Pilatus in Stans (Switzerland). Developed in the 1960s from the Pilatus P3, is used both as an aerobatic plane and as a basic training aircraft.
The 9 aircraft used for acrobatics, as well as the others used in normal flight activities, were updated in 2008 with Glass-Cockpit, autopilot and GPS to improve the training of the Swiss Air Force pilots. In 2014 they were also equipped with smoke generators to make the acrobatics of the PC7 Team even more spectacular. Acrobatics awarded in 2013 at RIAT in Fairford (UK) with the «King Hussein Memorial Sword» and in 2017 with the “Bill Hartree Memorial Trophy” at the Raf Cosford Airshow (UK).
The event organized by Markus Moser was attended by about hundred people invited and almost all professionals of Optics.
All the guests were able to spend time with the PC7 Team pilots, with whom they also shared a pleasant lunch offered by the organization.
After the official presentations, Markus Moser together with some of his collaborators and Marcel Zischler, Managing Director of Knecht & Müller AG, introduced the Commander of the Team Lt. Col. Daniel «Stampa» Stämpfli, the “leader” in flight Captain Cyril «Johnny» Johner and the Team pilots. The 9 pilots, the Commander and the two PR received a special set of sunglasses “ic! Berlin für PC7 Team” from the organizers, very welcome and immediately used for the next training session.
Following, the Commander “Stampa”, presented the team and the training and acrobatics procedures to the guests.
“Stampa” in particular explained how the use in the acrobatic team represents a secondary activity for pilots. Each TEAM PC-7 pilot is mainly employed in one of the three F/A-18 Squadrons of the Swiss Air Force at Payerne or Meiringen and performs about 120 flight hours per year on the F/A-18 Hornet, contributing to the defense of the territory and Swiss airspace.
Immediately after the guests were able to attend the Briefing pre-flight, much appreciated and very interesting, where the pilots also simulated the maneuvers and procedures during the aerobatic training flight. After that the pilots went to the preparation for the flight and after a quick salute they got on their aircraft and started the take-off procedures.
The flight presentation of the Team gave a preview of the new 2018 display, followed on the ground by the attentive eye of Commander Stämpfli, who from his position in the center of the display has monitored the training in constant radio contact with the pilots ensuring safety and giving immediate indications for possible corrections. This presence on the ground is essential, in particular because many maneuvers take place with the aircraft a few meters from each other.
The two speakers excellently explained the acrobatics to the invited public, which normally happens with a much wider audience.
At the end of the training and immediately after the landing of the Team, the pilots became available for the usual photos in front of their aircraft. Upon returning to the hangar, guests attended the de-briefing. This happened with the video support of the filming made by the aeronautics personnel present at the training. The video gave pilots the opportunity to see their positions, their acrobatics and to understand where to correct their maneuvers.
The well organized event and the pleasant availability of the Swiss Air Force staff made the day unforgettable for all the guests.
We don’t often follow all the operations before and after the flight of a military acrobatic team, which with the meticulousness and precision that they have shown make evident the merits for which the Team has been awarded in the past few years.
From Dübendorf: Daniele Maiolo