Payerne Air Force Base Spotting Guide

Payerne Airport is a military airfield of the Swiss Air Force north of Payerne, approximately 1:15min from Geneva Airport by car. LSMP was the home of the Northrop F-5 Squadron 6 Ducks, now you’ll see more FA18 from the Fighter squadrons Sqd17 Falcons and Sqd18 Panthers. It’s also the base of Solar Impulse and there is an aviation Museum “Clin d’Ailes”.

LSMP is by far the busiest military airfield in Switzerland. Mostly Swiss AF traffics, rarely foreign army, except Air show time and special military flights extremely rare, C17 USAF (weapons delivery) and C-130 / Spartan during summer from Morocco Air Force.

The training of the Swiss Air Force is between Monday and Friday from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:30-17:00. In case of an emergency, the FA18 runs vetween Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 18:00. Evening flights, every Monday or Tuesday nights from October and March 18:00-22:00.

On the link, the flights services of military aircraft of Swiss Air Force at LSMP:

http://www.vtg.admin.ch/fr/organisation/forces-aeriennes/engagement-fa/base-aerienne-payerne.html

Written by Jeremy Denton and Omar Alex Saffe / Frequent visitors (last update 2017)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Information Runway 05/23
2483m (8.145 ft)
Concrete
Terminals Block A + B + C
Different military aircraft
Spotting Information Ladder Recommended but you might be ask by security to remove your ladder. They don’t like us to use the ladder.
Car Necessary
Restrooms Available only at spot 3
Drinks/Food Available only at spot 3
Hotels Inside the Town of Payerne
Season I suggest April – September, chance of bad weather in winter is pretty high
Runway Usage 05/23 Mostly of the time, runway used from 8h to 12h and 13h30-17h.

Spot #1 – Arrivals 23
WHERE From Geneva, follow the direction of Fribourg and Valley de Joux then follow Payerne. Exit at Payerne, at the first roundabout turn on the left, continue strait until the second one follow airport. You will pass under the highway and take the second exit on the right. Small way between field.
WHAT Good spotting point for arrivals on rwy23
TIME In the early of the morning to 13:30-14:00
MISC. Bring what you need before coming at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 150-300mm
Spot #2 – Control Tower
WHERE From spot 1, exit the path by taking the main road on the right and then turn on the left and drive until the control tower.
WHAT Good location for taxi, arrivals and departures of both runways. It’s also possible to sneak a good shot of what’s standing on the left ramp by standing on a ladder right under the control tower, you can get a nice view over the first positions there (see Morocco Air force picture below). Don’t stay on the ladder for too long, just take your shot and go back next to the public parking
TIME From the afternoon until the end of the day.
MISC. There is a restaurant for the pilots and staff of the airfield where you can have food, drinks, toilets.
FOCAL LENGTH 18mm – 300mm


Spot #3 – Awaiting point
WHERE From spot two, drive back and passed over the canal. Then take the road on the right for a couple of hundred meters. It will be a small path on your right side. A crash gate could be seen as well as signs that doesn’t allow you to be here. If you park the car next to the way and if you stay here only for this short moment it’s fine.
WHAT Only if they use runway 23, they will use this awaiting area before they go to complete their mission. Good point for night shots as well if you want to get clos shot from FA18 Hornets. 4x FA18 could be possible to shot throw the crash gate. The hole is enough big to put throw your lense.
TIME Best afternoon light, from 1500.
MISC. Do not stay here to long because you are not allowed to park the car here. Only FA18 are possible to get from here.
FOCAL LENGTH 18mm to 200mm


Spot #4 – Approach rwy05 morning
WHERE
For approach shots on rwy05, just park your car by the main road or to Estavayer le Lac and walk to the different spots. The fields offer different angles and it might be interesting to move around a bit, just don’t pass the military fences. 100-400mm. No food around
WHAT Approach rwy05
TIME From early morning until 14:00
MISC. Bring what you need before coming at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm – 400mm


Spot #5 – Approach rwy05 afternoon
WHERE
On the afternoon just go around the approach and you can stand by the football field. Further down the new fences are a big problem and might obstruct your view.
WHAT Approach rwy05 afternoon
TIME From 15:00 until the end of the day
MISC. Bring what you need before coming at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm – 400mm
http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_06.png Spot #6 – Runway Cross (South)
WHERE If you come from Geneva, take the exit Payerne and then turn on the left direction “Estavayer-le-Lac. Then on the roundabout continue strait until the second small way that you will have to take on your right. Then, drive until the end of the road take on your right and follow the path until you arrived at the cross runway fences. Then park your car next to the road on the grass.
WHAT Arrivals and departures both runways plus taxiing aircraft to runway 05 and taxiing aircraft from runway 05 to the box.
TIME Best light from sunrise until 1430LT.
MISC. Theirs nothing nearby this spot so bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH Runway : F5 = 210mm / FA18 = 170mm

Opposite taxiway : FA18 = 240mm

Front taxiway : 18-50mm


http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_07.png Spot #7 – Runway 05 Lights
WHERE
If you come from Geneva, take the exit Payerne and then turn on the left direction “Estavayer-le-Lac. Then on the roundabout continue strait until the second small way on your right. Drive until the end of the path and here you are at the lights runway 05.
WHAT Arrivals face to face or 3/4 shots on runway 05.
TIME Best from sunrise to 1300.
MISC. Theirs nothing nearby this spot so bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 50mm to 500mm


http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_08.png Spot #8 – Taxiway Runway 05
WHERE If you come from Geneva, take the exit Payerne and then turn on the left direction “Estavayer-le-Lac. Then on the roundabout continue strait until the next roundabout take the first exit on your right. Follow the road until you reached the third way on your left. Park next to the road on the grass. After that, take the ladder with you and walk to the corner of the fences. next to the beginning of the runway.
WHAT Arrivals, departures and taxiing aircraft for runway 05.
TIME Best from 1500 to sunset.
MISC. Theirs nothing nearby this spot so bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 50mm to 300mm


http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_09.png Spot #9 – Swiss Hornet Display
WHERE From the spot 6, drive on the road direction south and take the small path on your left just after the house. Then, drive the long small path until the end. Take the road on the right “Aéropole” and take the small way on the right before doing the turn of the road. Here park the car on the grass as well.
WHAT I put several position that a great to get pictures of the Swiss Hornet Display when it takes place. It’s always at the same area that the training display takes place.
TIME Best from sunrise until 1300.
MISC. Theirs nothing nearby this spot so bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH At least a 500mm, bigger always better.
 http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_10.png Spot 10 – Le Musée Clin d’Ailes
WHERE From spot two, drive back to the crossing roads, take on the left, pass in front of the restaurant and for a few meters on the right you will see the museum.
WHAT You will be able to shot a range of history of the Swiss Air Force that includes :

De Havilland DH-100 / DH-112 / DH-115 (J-1157 & J-1584 & U-1211)

Hawker MK.58 / TMK.68 / (J-4078 & J-4203)

Dassault Mirage III-S / III-RS (J-2301 & R-2117)

Sud-Aviation Alouettes SE 3130 / SE 3160 (V-43 & V-282)

Northrop F-5E Tiger II (J-3057)

Pilatus PC-7 (A-908)

From the terrace you are able to get shots on the runway as well both directions but taxiway no way as the fences will obstruct.

TIME 2 April to 30 October (Tuesday to Sunday 1330 to 1700 / closed on Sundays in July/August)

November until 28th March (Wednesday and Saturday 1330-1700 + first two Sundays of November)

The museum is closed : Every Monday, Easter Sunday, Firs of May, Ascension, Sunday of Pentecôte

http://www.clindailes.ch/index.html#

MISC. Toilets, foods, drinks and souvenirs, shops are available.
FOCAL LENGTH Smaller you have the best it is.


Payerne Air Show
WHERE
Payerne Air Force Base
WHAT Every 10 years, LSMP offer you an Air Show during 2 weeks with a lot of different display and static aircraft. The next Air Show will be in 2024.
TIME From 09:00 to 17:00 the weekend and from 08:00 to 19:00-20:00 during the week.
MISC. They provide stands of foods and drinks and plenty of shops with aviation merchandise.
FOCAL LENGTH The bigger you have, best pictures you will have.

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