In the air, in a lifeboat, at a barbecue or in the classroom, photographer Fabian Biasio was always there. Between 2011 and 2013 he accompanied two military pilot classes PK06 and PK07 on their journey from the classroom to the cockpit.
The Swiss air force has been at the centre of public attention in recent weeks. On May 18, voters rejected the planned purchase of new Gripen fighter jets. But how does the air force train the next generation of pilots? For the book “Our fighter pilots” by journalist Margrit Sprecher, Fabian Biasio accompanied the pilots-in-training.
“These are young men who are at their socialising peak. But instead of being out having a good time, they are cramming every day,” Biasio explains. Biasio dreamed of being a jumbo jet captain when he was a boy, but fell in love with photography instead.
“They just want to fly, and they stake everything on it. This goal comes above everything else: girlfriend, social life, their own family. This work-life balance is as clear to them as the job they are doing.”
Biasio was in the military in the press and radio transmission section and then moved to air force communications. He was, as he describes himself, a “photo soldier”. That’s how he managed to make the necessary connections for this reportage.
His personal highlight was a loop-the-loop in the training plane. “It was absolutely magical.” He was not allowed to fly along in a fighter jet though. “That’s where the generosity of the air force ran out,” he says with a wink.
(Pictures: Fabian Biasio; Text: Christian Raaflaub, swissinfo.ch)