Super Puma Display Team

super puma display

Super Puma Display Badge

Displays offer an opportunity for our highly trained pilots to show their skills, and some of the capabilities of the versatile Super Puma and Cougar helicopters, which the air force uses for daily operations. The eight-minute display can be varied to suit the venue's local geographical and meteorological conditions.

By landing at the display venue, the pilots can have personal contact with the spectators as they can present and explain their machines at air bases and other locations before and after their performances.

The Pilots

The Super Puma Display Team Pilots

All Super Puma Display Team pilots are working pilots and flight instructors from the air force professional aviator corps who are familiar with the helicopters' entire range of operations. The machines are flown by two pilots in training sessions and display performances: the captain focuses fully on flying the show programme as precisely as possible, while the co-pilot monitors the systems and is responsible for the radio communication.

Commander

Capt Jan «Schwiiz» Schweizer

Hauptmann Jan «Schwiiz» Schweizer

2018 saw a change at the head of our Display Team: Capt Jan Schweizer, a member of the team since 2012, took over the lead as "player and manager", since he is now the team's commander AND one of the active display pilots.

In 2001, he graduated as a military pilot flying the Alouette III, and afterwards completed the professional military pilot school. Today, he has 5,800 flight hours experience with aerial transport aircraft.

Capt Schweizer is assigned to Air Transport Squadron 3 stationed in Dubendorf. In the professional aviators corps he works as a Super Puma flight instructor and provides tactical training with the EC635. As an operational pilot, he flies in Switzerland but has also served in many missions abroad.

Major Sebastian «Sebi» Hanimann

Major Sebastian «Sebi» Hanimann

Sebi became a military pilot in 2001, flying the Alouette III. After completing training to professional military pilot in 2004, he was assigned to Air Transport Squadron 6 and in 2015 to Air Transport Squadron 8, which he leads as the squadron commander.


In 2017, Major Hanimann joined the Super Puma Display Team. Flying the PC-7, PC-6, Alouette III, EC635, Super Puma and Cougar, he has gained 5,900 hours flying experience. As an operational pilot and EC635 flight instructor in his daily job, he flies missions in Switzerland and abroad.

Captain Sandro «Sandro» Haag

Hauptmann Sandro «Sandro» Haag

Sandro joined the Display Team at the beginning of 2015. He graduated as a military pilot in 2005, flying the Alouette III.

After starting his career with Air Transport Squadron 6 in Alpnach, he was re-assigned to Payerne based Air Transport Squadron 1 in January 2007. Exactly ten years later, however, he was re-assigned to Air Transport squadron 4 and with this re-located to his hometown. He gained his experience of 4,300 flying hours in the Super Puma, Cougar, TH06, EC635 and the PC-6 Porter.

An operational pilot from the professional aviator corps, he has been deployed as a Super Puma and EC635 flight instructor in Switzerland and abroad.

Captain Marc «Marco» Lauber

Pil_4

In 2011, Marco graduated as a military pilot flying the EC635. He has since been assigned to Payerne based Air Transport Squadron 5 and flies both the EC635 and the Super Puma. As operational pilot, he is deployed to missions in Switzerland and abroad and as EC635 flight instructor, he mainly provides tactical training at the pilot school.  

Captain Lauber joined the Display Team in 2018. He has 3,100 helicopter flying hours in helicopters.

Captain Robin «Robin» Stauber

Hauptmann Robin «Robin» Stauber

Robin joined the Display Team in 2015. After graduation as a military pilot in 2002 and completing the professional military pilot school, he was assigned to Air Transport Squadron 4, and after serving a short term there, to Alpnach based Air Transport Squadron 8.

Besides flying missions in Switzerland and abroad, he is a flight instructor for the Super Puma, the EC-635 and the PC-7. His flight experience in helicopters is 4,400 hours and in the PC-6 and PC-7 almost 1,000 hours.

Captain Philippe «Philippe» Weber

Hauptmann Philippe «Philippe» Weber

Philippe joined the Display Team in the 2013 season. He graduated as military pilot flying the Alouette II in 2005, and began his career with Air Transport Squadron 8 in Alpnach before being assigned to Duebendorf based Air Transport Squadron 4 in October 2007. His flying experience with PC-6, EC635 and Super Puma, Cougar, and TH06 is 4,800 hours.

He is a flight instructor for the EC635 and Super Puma helicopters and mainly teaches tactical training skills. As with all other professional military pilots, he has flown several missions abroad.

Manoeuvres

The aerobatic display features individual manoeuvres, and can be adapted to the venue's geographical and meteorological conditions.

If you would like to see the individual manoeuvres in 3D animation, we recommend the "Super Puma Air Display" DVD, which can be viewed and ordered at video portal ECM.

Hammerhead

Hammerhead

From horizontal flight at maximum speed, the helicopter is pulled up in a vertical climb pointing straight up. Shortly before stalling, the pilot uses the tail rotor to rotate the aircraft to the left or the right. Precise rotation on the spot leaves the helicopter pointing straight down, and from where it continues back down to the presentation axis along exactly the same line it came from.

Tight Turn

Tight Turn

This very tight turn, flown horizontally at maximum speed, is a defence manoeuvre in tactical flying. The goal is to fly a full circle as tightly as possible, while always being aware of the enormous aerodynamic force that is being applied to the rotor.

Screwdriver Up

Screwdriver up

From hover flight, the helicopter climbs in a "corkscrew" motion. Increasing the power is enough to bring the machine into a quick counter-clockwise rotation. After about three rotations, the lift-like climb is stopped and from the hovering position brought to a vertical descent in order to reduce altitude as rapidly as possible.

Back Turn

Back Turn

This manoeuvre is extremely challenging, even though it is the slowest; just a little too much speed or too much wind blowing from the wrong side, or the slightest imprecision in steering can ruin a nice circle!

Pull-Up Back

Pull-Up Back

In level flight, the helicopter accelerates backwards to reach about 100km/h. The momentum is then converted into an ascent until the helicopter nose ends up facing vertically down.

And before continuing - a short moment of hovering.

Lazy Eight

Lazy Eight

What follows is an elegant, climbing turn that is initiated at maximum speed. At the culmination point, the helicopter will even start to turn upside-down – i.e. it banks at an angle of over 90°!

Screwdriver Down

Screwdriver down

Hesitation is not an option when flying the screwdriver downwards! As soon as the nose is pointing straight down, the helicopter performs a complete rotation around its own axis. This manoeuvre requires total concentration!

Balance

Balance

Initiated like the Hammerhead manoeuvre, the helicopter begins by climbing into the sky. Shortly before stalling, it is brought to the position with the nose pointing down and a steep descent is initiated.

FAQ

If you want to become a display pilot, you need several years of experience as a Super Puma PIC (Pilot in Command). You then prepare for the specific challenges of display flying by attending special training courses.
Usually, the team consists of the commander and six display pilots.

And how can I become an Air Force pilot?
This information is available at:

  • SPHAIR (only available in german/french/italian)

The co-pilot or “assisting pilot” must be a display pilot as well and his job is, as the name suggests, to assist the captain, the “pilot flying”.
On command, he lowers the landing gear, for example, and reports current engine data, flight altitude and speed to the pilot flying. He is also responsible for radio communication with air traffic control.

The Super Puma weighs 5,350 kg when empty (without load, fuel or pilots). Its maximum take-off weight is 9,000 kg (or 9,350 kg, when carrying an exterior load).

As you see, we have to balance the weight distribution between passengers, load and fuel so that it falls within a certain range.
If I want to carry a load of 2.5 tons, for example, I first consult the capacity charts: What are the current air pressure and temperature? The wind conditions? What is the altitude of the loading or unloading site (air density decreases the higher up we go)? What is the flight distance and how long will it take?

Passengers need a special authorisation, which is only granted if the task requires their transport by helicopter, e.g. as SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) rescue staff responding to an avalanche accident.

Rotor diameter: 15.6 m
Length (1 main rotor blade in front): 18.7 m
Height (1 tail rotor blade vertically up): 5 m
Undercarriage: 3 x 5.3 m

No. The Super Puma is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment that allows flying by day and night and in all weather conditions. Its cockpit equipment is almost equal to any modern airliner, it even includes an autopilot that supports the pilots during long flights in the clouds. At night, the pilots wear night vision goggles.

All this allows the Super Puma to carry out any mission just about ‘round the clock.

There are many reasons.
The helicopter has two turbines, which are started one after the other. From the outside it looks like the helicopter could lift off using the first turbine but the second turbine needs to be started first as well.
Then the data can be entered into the navigation computers, which takes longer or shorter depending on the mission type.
Some checks can or should be performed only after the starting procedure has been completed.
Therefore it always takes five to ten minutes from the time the rotor blade begins rotating for the first time to lift off.
And sometimes we have to wait for quite some time until we receive clearance from traffic control to roll out or take-off.

It used to be easier to distinguish between the two helicopters. In 2014, however, the Super Puma fleet upgrade was completed, i.e., the cockpit and the navigation devices were brought to state-of-the-art technology standard.

Since then, the interior of the Cougar and the Super Puma has become very similar: both have a glass cockpit and an abundance of monitors!

But from the outside it is difficult to distinguish them as in fact they are the same helicopters. The turbines and the cabin are the same and the construction is practically identical. Nevertheless, the attentive observer can make out this or that detail: The air inlets of the Super Puma’s turbines for example, are all fitted with sand filters – but then, this goes for some of the Cougars as well... The only sure thing you can say: if the inlet grill is of silver colour, it is certainly a Cougar! And if we look up close, we can see that the number and layout of the antennas are different as well.

Downloads

Here is a summary of all flying displays of the Swiss Air Force in 2018.

Badge Einsatz Luftwaffe

Do you have any further questions? do not hesitate to get into touch with us!

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