By Bill Harby
Aviation nerds and even otherwise normal people who just love watching airplanes and helicopters crisscross the sky, will want to land at the Breitling Sion Airshow, 15 – 17 September 2017.
That weekend the skies over Sion (Valais Canton) will be filled with jet fighters, huge helicopters, wingwalkers, historic warbirds and even a guy swerving overhead on the hoverboard he invented. This will be the biggest airshow in Switzerland this year, say organizers.
Besides aerobatic teams that will wow the crowd with high-speed synchronized pirouettes traced by trails of smoke, there will be low-level fly-bys of all kinds of aircraft including iconic WWII fighters like the P-51 Mustang (U.S.), the Spitfire Mk IX (U.K.) and Yakovlev Yak-9 (Russia). Modern military jets including the Eurofighter Typhoon (multi-national), FA-18 Hornet (U.S.) and Rafale C (France), will roar over the field so low they might make your sausages sizzle while assaulting your eardrums.
Also screaming across the skies will be the Saab Gripen (Sweden), a totally cool and very expensive warplane that Swiss voters shot down in 2015 when the Swiss military floated it to become the new fighter/bomber for the Swiss Air Force.
Among the aerobatic demonstrations will of course be the beloved Patrouille Suisse, as well as the Breitling Jet Team, the airshow’s primary sponsor. (Now you know why Breitling watches cost so much.)
Not all the action will force you to crank your neck back and squint into the sun. The Sion airport, just outside town, will be a sprawling display of wheels-down military and civilian aircraft that visitors can see up-close.
Tickets are CHF 25 for one day up to CHF 65 for a 3-day pass (kids free, discounts for teens, seniors and families, also VIP seating). And this year if you want to buy a pair of souvenir pilot’s goggles, a few beers to get your head in the clouds, or anything else at the airshow, you’ll need to buy credits for their cashless system – no cash or bank card purchases will be accepted. You’ll need to either buy credits when you get to the show, or avoid the lines by loading your pre-paid ticket with credit when you purchase online.
Throttle up and we’ll see you there.