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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

Lieutenant Colonel Jan «Schwiiz» Schweizer

Hauptmann Jan «Schwiiz» Schweizer

Schwiiz was an active Super Puma Display pilot from 2012 to 2018 and has been the display team’s commander since 2018.

In 2001 he graduated as a military pilot flying the Alouette III and afterwards completed the professional military pilot school (BMPS).

To date he has 6,500 hours of flying experience with transport aircraft.

Schwiiz is head of aerial transport pilot training and is stationed in Dübendorf. He works as a Super Puma flight instructor in the professional aviator corps and is chief flight instructor for the upgraded Cougar transport helicopter.

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 July 2005, flying the Alouette III. After starting his career with Air Transport Squadron 6 in Alpnach, he was reassigned to Air Transport Squadron 1 in Payerne in January 2007. Ten years later he was transferred to Air Transport 4 Squadron and was able to relocate to his home town.

He gained his 4,600 hours of flying experience with the Super Puma and EC635 helicopters, and the PC-6 Porter aircraft.

An operational pilot from the professional aviator corps, Sandro is a Super Puma and EC635 flight instructor and flies missions in Switzerland and abroad.

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 Air Transport Squadron 8 based at Alpnach.

Besides flying missions in Switzerland and abroad, he is a Super Puma, EC635 and PC-7 flight instructor. He has 4,900 hours of helicopter flying experience and around 1,100 hours of flying experience with PC-7 and PC-6 aircraft.

Captain Marc «Marco» Lauber

Pil_4

Marco has been a member of the display team since 2018.

He graduated in 2011 as an EC635 military pilot and was assigned to Air Transport Squadron 5 in Payerne. Since 2020 he has been a member of Air Transport Squadron 1, also based in Payerne.

He flies both EC635 and Super Puma helicopters.

Marco flies missions in Switzerland and abroad, and is an EC635 and Super Puma flight instructor. He has around 3,900 hours of helicopter flying experience.

Major Fabio "Feyb" Verna

Major Fabio "Feyb" Verna

Feyb will begin his first season in the display team from 2021.

He graduated as a military pilot in 2001, flying the Alouette III, and afterwards underwent professional military pilot training from 2001 to 2004. He then worked as an Alouette III and PC-7 pilot and flying instructor, and was later deployed on Super Puma and EC635 helicopters.

Feyb has been assigned to Air Transport Squadron 4 since 2019 and is its wing commander.

He has a total of 5,600 hours of flying experience on PC-7 and PC-6 aircraft as well as on Alouette III, EC635 and Super Puma helicopters.

Feyb flies missions in Switzerland and abroad and is an EC635 flight instructor. He is also Chief of Air Policing on Helicopters (C APOH) for air police helicopter missions.

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.

Clover Leaf

The pilots pull the helicopter upwards at a steep angle, make a turn while leaning the helicopter back slightly, and then continue their flight in a similar direction. To you as a spectator, the helicopter appears to be flying a loop – and exactly this is the goal of this manoeuvre.

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.


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

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