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Military - LSMS

The Air Force Logistics (AFLO) is located in the southern part of the airport and ensures the technical maintenance of the runway as well as the snow clearance. The air base of Sion is used mainly for the schooling of the future military pilots flying with F5 Tiger E/F. During the military course, a squadron of F/A 18 is based at Sion.

Observation of the aircrafts
Leave the highway at the exit "Sion-Ouest" and follow the signs «Base Aérienne». West of the control tower, a parking area with a static MK-58 Hunter , allows good view of rolling and departing aircrafts. For pictures, a little ladder is recommended because of the surrounding fence. Another possibility is to go to the northern part of the airport on the terrace above the restaurant. This site, located near to the threshold of the runway 25, allows good view of the departing aircrafts but is not ideal to take photographs because it faces the sun.

The following schedule is generally applied:

Military operationg hours
MON-FRI0730 - 1205 LT1315 - 1705 LT 
Night flightsOCT - MARTUE and/or THUPC-9 flying as target for the anti-aircraft firings.
Jets only during military course.
Alternate airbase
Publication and changesNOTAM 

The activity with the jets implies a particular infrastructure on the runway such as the net barriers and the retractable arresting cables. A sound-proof building is used for the tests of jet engines and turbines.

For the VFR approaches, the military jets follow similar circuits to those of the civil aircraft, at an altitude of 6000 ft for noise abatement. A military aircraft is always separated from another military aircraft or a civil aircraft by the air traffic control.
Contrary to the civil aircraft, the military aircraft are guided by air traffic controllers during IFR approaches. The air traffic controller speaks continuously to the pilot and transmits corrections to be carried out compared to the course and the altitude. These indications are transmitted on the basis of observation of the position of the symbol representing the plane compared to two lines of reference: approach axis and glide path. The approaches are recorded on a videotape.
Two types of approaches are used :

  • Approach in landing configuration until 2600 ft. This approach is called «Quebec Approach».
  • High speed approach for cloud brake procedure with retracted landing gear, until 3100 ft. When below clouds the pilot flies a circuit at low altitude, in order to establish the landing configuration and to reduce speed. This approach is called «Papa approach».

The F/A 18 are equipped to fly the civil IFR approach (IGS).


Image of the military radarscope

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