Dübendorf Air Base
|Dübendorf Air Base|
Aerial view of the Dübendorf Air Base
|Owner||Swiss Air Force|
|Occupants||Swiss Air Force, JuAir, Rega (air rescue), Skyguide, Solar Impulse, Motorfluggruppe Zürich|
|Elevation AMSL||448 m / 1,470 ft|
The search for a suitable site for an airfield started in 1909.  On 1 August 1910 geography improvement of the swamp started and on 22 October 1910 the first airshow was held on the Airfield Dübendorf. Since 1914 Dübendorf has been used as an air base by the Swiss Air Force. From 1919 on Dübendorf was also an airport for civil airlines, first for the predecessor of the Swissair, the Ad Astra Aero, and from 1932 on for Swissair.
During World War II there was virtually no civil flight activity. Any foreign military aircraft that was interned by Switzerland was held at Dübendorf, including about 120 US B-17s and B-24s, together with one German Me 262. From 1943 Switzerland shot down American and British aircraft, mainly bombers, overflying Switzerland during World War II: six aircraft by Swiss Air Force fighters and nine by anti-aircraft cannons; 36 American and British airmen were killed. Besides, there were 137 emergency landings to May 1945 resulting in about 120 US aircraft that were interned at the Dübendorf airfield. The officers were interned in Davos, airmen in Adelboden. Although US military attaché Barnwell Legge instructed the soldiers not to flee, many soldiers ignored his warning; after their escape from the internment camps, the airmen usually were detained in the Wauwilermoos penal camp near Luzern. Repaired by USAF technicians, on 7 September 1945 around 60 US aircraft started from Dübendorf to return to their bases, where they were scrapped. The Swiss Air Force used in this time Me-109E, Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 and so on.
After World War II, civil aviation moved to the new Zurich Airport, opened in 1948, and Dübendorf became a purely military airfield. Dübendorf had been considered for expansion as Switzerland's primary international airport, but the Federal government reportedly preferred the development of a new Zurich airport for dedicated civil use for technical reasons including the difficulties inherent in a shared military and civil facility.
During the Cold War, Dübendorf was the home of Aérospatiale Alouette II and Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters and jets such as the de Havilland Vampire, de Havilland Venom, Hawker Hunter, Dassault Mirage III and Northrop F-5 Tiger II. Also, the Swiss-built fighter jet FFA P-16 took off from Dübendorf for its first supersonic flight. Dübendorf was the home base for the Patrouille Suisse until they moved to Emmen AFB. With the move of Fightersqadron 11 Tigers with the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet to Meiringen AFB in 2005 the history of fighter aircraft in Dübendorf ended. The air base was equipped with retractable arresting gear devices at both ends of the runway, which were used by the F/A-18 and, in case of a problem, by the F-5. This was removed after 2005.
On 26 June 2009, the long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 1 was first presented to the public at the Dübendorf Air Base. Following taxi testing, a short-hop test flight was made on 3 December 2009, piloted by Markus Scherdel. In August 2013, after setting several records including a cross-US flight, the aircraft returned to Dübendorf to be placed in storage.
On 22 September 2015 the Airbus A310 Zero-G reduced gravity aircraft flew from Dübendorf Air Base, in the first operational flight of a Zero-G Airbus outside France. It is planned to continue using Dübendorf for these flights. The first public parabolic flight in Switzerland with the ZERO-G, with starts from Dübendorf took place on 22 October 2016.
Today Dübendorf AFB is the home of Lufttransportstaffel 3 and Lufttransportstaffel 4 (Air Transport squadron 3 and 4) with Eurocopter EC635, Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma, Eurocopter AS532 Cougar, De Havilland Canada Twin Otter, Beechcraft 1900 and Beechcraft Super King Air. Dübendorf is, together with Locarno AFB, the home base of the PC-7 Team and the Superpuma/cougar Displayteam. Other Swiss military aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo-Porter and Pilatus PC-9 are often seen in Dübendorf, less often the Dassault Falcon 900, Cessna Citation Excel or the armasuisse Diamond DA42 and Pilatus PC-12. Under supervision of the Swiss Air Force, Dübendorf is also used by friendly nations in the context of exercises or joint missions (e.g. Austrian C-130 or German CH-53). Dübendorf acts also as parking space for private business jets and government jets during the WEF at Davos.
Also located at Dübendorf AFB is:
- The Swiss Air Force Command (AOC)
- Air Defense & Direction Center (the peacetime air defense C3 airops center)
- Skyguide National (military air traffic control)
- Skyguide (civil air traffic control for Switzerland (except western part of Switzerland, which is monitored by skyguide Geneva) and southern Germany)
- Skyguide (see above)
- Police Helicopter Unit
- JuAir Operating 3 historical Ju-52
- Base 1 of the Rega (air rescue)
- Solar Impulse 1 (HB-SIA) was built, tested and is now stored at Dübendorf Air Base.
- Touring Club Suisse Anti skid driving ranch.
Current plans are that from 2016 on, only the Air Force will use helicopters at Dübendorf and that the REGA and the Kantons Polizei will have to move their helicopters to the opposite side of the airfield (next to the military helicopter hangars). The government has allowed a mixed civil/military use of the AFB Dübendorf and the joint use of aircraft maintenance companies such JetAviation is hoped to ensure the continued existence of the fixed wing aircraft operating in Dübendorf.
Since the capacity of Zürich Airport will (according to the Monitoring Report published by FOCA ) hit a limit wall, Dübendorf Air Base has been proposed as a future relief airport, preferable to Linate Airport.
Otherwise the use of the Dübendorf Air Base has been proposed als "the 4th runway of Zurich Airport".
As far as the Dübendorf Airfield seems to be one oft the oldest worldwide still existing, it is proposed to be evaluated as UNESCO world Heritage. 
One part of the property will be used to build a so-called Innovationspark (factory, office rooms and apartments for start up enterprises).
- Fliegermuseum Dübendorf, VFMF, Dübendorf 1989 (ISBN none).
- Ernst Frei: Erlebter Aktivdienst 1939-1945. Novalis, [Schaffhausen] 2010, ISBN 978-3-907160-54-1.
- Max Hügli: Fliegermuseum - BAMF, Dübendorf 1981 (ISBN none).
- Uno Zer Zero Aero Publications 2013, ISBN 978-3-9524239-05
- Menschen Maschinen Missionen Geschichten vom Militärflugplatz Dübendorf 1914-2014, published by Schweizer Luftwaffe 12014 ISBN 978-3-033-04653-5
Notes and references
- Fritz Käser (1979-04-20). "ZUR ENTSTEHUNGSGESCHICHTE DES FLUGPLATZES DÜBENDORF VON 1909 BIS 1914" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2016-10-08.
- Bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Walter Dürig (2010-06-30). "Dokumentation zur Entstehung des Flugplatzes Dübendorf" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2016-10-08.
- Franz Kasperski (2015-09-07). "Abgeschossen von der neutralen Schweiz" (in German). Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen SRF. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
- "Gedenkstein für Internierten-Straflager" (in German). Schweiz aktuell. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
- Thomas Stephens (2014-01-12). "Als Bomber im 2. Weltkrieg auf die Schweiz stürzten" (in German). swissinfo. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
- Bell, E. A. (10 May 1945). "Swiss Planning". Flight and Aircraft Engineer. Royal Aero Club. XLVII (1898): 501. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- "Menschen Maschinen Missionen". Lw.admin.ch. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- Palmer, Jason (3 December 2009). "Record solar plane's first 'hop'". BBC. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- Tom Simonite (3 December 2009). "Solar-powered piloted plane makes its first 'flea hop'". Web Edition. New Scientist. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Own vomit comet: Swiss make first zero-G flight RT.com (retrieved ~~~~~)
- Airbus A310 ZERO-G aircraft to log weightless flight from Switzerland airport Intelligent Aerospace (retrieved ~~~~~)
- https://www.travelnews.ch/reiseanbieter/1255-astronaut-fuer-einen-tag-so-fuehlt-sich-schwerelosigkeit-an.html Astronaut for one day: That's how weightlessness feels
- http://zueriost.ch/bezirk-uster/duebendorf/welche-experimente-geplant-sind/492002Again Zero-G flights for ETH Experiments
- "Welcome At Ju-Air". Air Force Center. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Zurich base – Swiss Air-Rescue Rega – Emergency number 1414". Rega.ch. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Hier hebt der Riesenvogel in Dübendorf ab". 20 Minuten. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Die Luftfahrt als Wachstumsmotor für die Volkswirtschaft: Silicon Valley toppt Zürich" (PDF). SkyNews. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- "FLärmproblematik wird oft übertrieben" (in German). NZZ. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
- "Die IG Zürcher Weltkulturerbe bezweckt den Erhalt des historisch einmalig wertvollen Flugplatzes Dübendorf, der Wiege der Schweizer Luftfahrt, und dessen Kandidatur als UNESCO Weltkulturerbe" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Streit um Landreserve: In Dübendorf wird weiter geflogen". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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