The A380 tagged by a Hornet over the Bernese Oberland
The A380 tagged by a Hornet over the Bernese Oberland

While we are accustomed to beautiful photos of Boeing airliners flying past Mt Rainier and over the North Cascades and Olympic peaks and glaciers, similarly alpine images of Airbus jets are rare.

And this image, possibly taken from one of the two Swiss Air Force FA18 Hornets involved in this rendevous with the Engine Alliance A380 prototype, has been very difficult to discuss with Airbus for some inexplicable reason.

There is a whole set of photos of this A380 posing near the Matterhorn, Titlis, and over the Bernese Oberland on the world wide web, but in the tiny narrow filing cabinets of officialdom, is it a case of ‘cough cough’ don’t look?

Why? Who cares? Maybe the permissions for the proximity between the A380 and the Hornets hadn’t been properly approved, or who knows what. Some Swiss media reports of this encounter, back in January, refer to ‘tests’ to ensure the A380 could safely use Zurich and Geneva Airports. Um, really? The field performance of the jet is astonishingly good, and notably better in some respects to any other Airbus or Boeing that regularly uses those airports.

Perhaps the truth is that it was too good an opportunity to pass up for the Swiss Air Force to do some scenic flying over the Alps in the company of the world’s largest airliner.

But we can be reasonably sure that passengers on the Singapore Airlines daily A380 service to Zurich which began on the weekend will never see a Swiss Air Force FA18 this close, nor the Jungfrau for that matter.