Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
Switzerland, region South-Central
This collection of airfields is ©
2010-2012 by RonaldV
Frutigen Added 15 Jan 2012 - Turtmann Added 15 Jan 2011
Interlaken Added 14 Feb 2012 - ... More to come
runway: 03/21 - 900x40m - tarmac
Frutigen airfield (german: Flugplatz Frutigen, ICAO: LSFR) was a military airfield 43 kilometers south-southeast of Berne.
The airfield opened on 28 April 1942 and the first two aircraft to land were two Bücker Jungmann trainers.
In May 1943 construction of an asphalt 900x40m runway began.
The complex was part of the Swiss National Redoubt, the Swiss stronghold fortifications in the Alps.
Over the following years aircraft parkings and platforms were added.
The first front line unit (Fliegerkompanie 4) was assigned in September 1943.
No photos predating the end of World War II have been located
After the war it was soon found that the runway was too short for modern aircraft.
Because of the mountainous terrain its approach was too difficult.
As far as I could trace the airfield was used only once by a jet aircraft.
A DH Vampire landed at and started from the airfield.
From then on the airfield was only used by light aviation squadrons.
Regular flying from the airfield ended in September 1984 by the Leichtfliegerkompanie 2 (Light Aviation Company 2).
During the avalanche winter of 1999 Frutigen was briefly pressed back into service.
A mix of civilian and military helicopters used the airfield to rescue people from the mountains and connect to cut off communities.
During the operation about 500 flights were made from the airfield.
Today the airfield is property of tthe community of Frutigen and private owners.
It is used for industrial purposes and agriculture.
A Puma and an Alouette of the Swiss Air Force at the airfield in 1999 (festung-oberland.ch).
The remains of Frutigen airfield in 2009 (Google Earth)
Runway: 08/26 - 2400meters/0000feet - concrete
Turtmann airfield (german: Flugplatz Turtmann, french: Base aérienne de Tourtemagne, ICAO: LSMJ) was a military airfield 75 kilometers south-southeast of Berne.
The airfield was first used in April 1929, by Fliegerkompanie 8.
At the time it was an exercise airfield, with no permanent structures or units attached.
That changed during World War II.
After an exercise in February 1941 it was decided that a dedicated airfield in the area was desirable.
In June the order was given for the immediate construction of a permanent airfield.
On 31 July funds became available for the construction of 10 airfields as part of the first tranche of investments.
The initial construction was completed by the end of November 1941.
The 140x800m airfield was too small however, and was expanded the next year.
The funds for tranche two were used for the construction of roads and hangars.
In 1943 the runway and taxiways were hardened, making the airfield an all-weather airfield.
The wooden constructions that had been used thusfar were replaced by concrete.
No photos predating the end of World War II have been located
Many of the facilities that had been built during World War 2 were replaced in the 1950s.
Hangars and ammunition bunkers were replaced with the first 'Kavernen', bunkers carved out in the mountains next to the airfield.
To allow the use of Venom jet fighters the runway was lengthened; first to 1200m, then on to 1500m.
The mountainside bunkers were completed in 1958.
The lenghtening of the runway and taxiway was completed in 1965 when the northern taxiway was finished.
Turtmann airfield in 1956 (flplabt3.ch).
A new ammunition cavern was built between 1973.
Plans for further expansion of the airfield met with stiff resistance from local civilians, however.
From 1980 the airfield was gradually improved, but expansion did not take place anymore because of the local resistance.
To prepare for the 1990 'Wiederholungskurs' (the Swiss Defense emergency reactivation exercise were dubbed 'Rehearsel Course') the airfield was renovated in 1989.
1000m of runway was completely rebuilt and QRA facilities were constructed.
On 11 July 2002 the announcement was made that Turtmann would be surplus to requirements after the March 2003 Wiederholungskurs.
The airfield was to close, its assigned unit, Flugplatzabteilung 3 would disband.
The F-5E Tiger squadron (Staffel 6) would relocate to Payerne, the F-5 sqn at Payerne (Staffel 13) would disband to keep the balance between German and Roman speaking Swiss in order.
Two F-5E Tiger-IIs overfly Turtmann airfield in 1997 (flplabt3.ch).
Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons why Turtmann had to close: its proximity to civilian life. Aircraft would taxi virtually through town,
and it was not uncommon for traffic lights to turn red to allow fighters to cross the street! (cavok-aviation-photos.net)
By 2009 the runway had only been used as a dragrace strip.
In the not too distant future it will be used as a provisional highway, until the completion of a new highway.
Once completed parts of the runway will be broken up and replanted.
Once the runway and the base have been removed the two sides of the village Turtmann can be reunited.
The closed airport in 2009 (Google Earth)
runway: 05/23 - 1981x40m - asphalt
runway: 08/26 - 0000x00m - asphalt
Interlaken airfield (german: Flugplatz Interlaken. ICAO: LSMI) was an airfield 40 kilometers southeast of Berne.
The airfield was built by the Swiss military in 1940, after a previous civilian airfield at Interlaken Unterseen had failed 10 years earlier.
Planned were 3 grass runways, measuring 800x200, 950x200 and 600x200meters.
By March 1940 the airfield was declared 'ready for use', although its hangar was still under construction.
The first aircraft, two Bücker double deckers, arrived in February 1941.
The field expanded and hangar 2 was taken into service in September 1941.
The first hardened runway (600x40m) was operational in October 1942.
A second 900meter runway was completed a year later.
An engine test stand, a fuel depot, 18 revetments and a taxiway were completed in 1944.
Interlaken airfield, ca. 1943 (festung-oberland.ch).
In 1947 Interlaken was assigned the role of Vampire jet maintenance base.
To accomodate the fighter the 600m runway was lengthened to 920 meters and a control tower was built.
The runway was lengthened once more in 1951, giving it two runways (900x40m and 1300x40m), 18 revetments and 4 hangars.
A new lengthening followed in 1956 (1950m).
In 1955 the Hawker Hunter maintenance center was assigned to Interlaken.
Crash barriers were built on all runways.
From 1964 the airfield experimented with civilian co-use of the airfield.
Globe-Air flew three weekly servises to London until at least 1967.
In the same period the Kavernen-hangars were taken into service.
In 1976 the Vampire maintenance center moved to Sion air base in preparation to the arrival of F-5 Tigers.
They arrived in two batches: the first from 1978, a second from 1985.
QRA facilities became operational in 1985.
In 1987 it was decided to make the base the maintenance center for the new F/A-18 Hornet.
In 1992 it also became the maintenance base for the SuperPuma helicopter.
Late in November 1993 the final flight of the Hunter took place from Interlaken.
Around 2000 the air base was only used by an air transport unit and as a helicopter support unit.
The number of air movements had dwindled to about 500 per year.
The air base closed in 2003 when the remaining units were brought to Meiringen.
It was subsequently sold off.
Interlaken in 2000 (Google Earth)
Although it lost the use of its shortest runway (now occupied by Jungfrau Park, the former Mystery Park) the airfield remained open for a few more years.
In 2007 for instance it hosted the Red Bull Air Races.
Today the airfield is closed.
It is used for large events, especially motoring and car events.
2007 Red Bull air races at Interlaken in 2007 (Sue Warwick at virtualtourist.com).
Interlaken seen from above in 2009 (Google Earth).
Interlaken in 2010 (flightforum.ch).
If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in Switzerland, email RonaldV.