Switzerland - May-June 2005 (177167 visits, last updated on Wed, Sep 28, 2005)
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The whole May and June 2005 Marta and I spent in Switzerland. We visited Switzerland on business (unfortunately not related to flying), however we tried to use all available opportunities to fly.

So far I was only flying in the US, and altough I am a holder of a JAA licence it was a new experience to me to fly in Europe. I actually had one episode when during summer 2004 I flew from Bern to Sion and back, but it does not really count as the flight was with an instructor.

Shorty after arrival to Switzerland at the end of April we started looking for a place where we could rent a plane. Flying costs in Switzerland are quite high so I wanted to find C-172, which would not require any new type familarization. Luckily I found a flight instructor and owner of 2 C-172, who agreed to rent them. Planes were based in Grenchen (LSZG), which is approx. 1 hour trip from Bern where we lived.

As everywhere I first had to do a company check-out. Although I was quite current (just a month earlier I completed my 60+ hours US coast to coast flying trip) it was obvieus that my flying technique is far away from perfect. It became apparent that patterns, approaches and landings in Europe (or at least in Switzerland) have to be much more precise due to a lot of noise restrictions (example from Grenchen) and quite short runways. Approach procedures and radio communication at both towered and non-towerd airports is also much more precise and structured.

After 4 flights (1 longer and the other 3 less than 30 minutes) my instructor was finally satisfied and let me fly on my own.

Although in Switzerland there are almost 70 airports not all of them were accessible to us, because they were either:
  • too big - e.g. Zurich-Kloten
  • military
  • too close from Grenchen
  • not open for not-local planes
  • non-towered and PPR, where the operators and local pilots do not speak English
  • with difficult approach in the narrow mountain valleys (I have too little mountain flying experience)

Even though we were somehow restricted in finding the places to fly to, there was still a lot to see.
Journal route map
FAA Chart data courtesy of www.runwayfinder.com
Note: Could not find coordinates of these airfields from the route: LSPV
Journal entries
First local flight
After one touch and go and one full stop landing my instructor said that he was overall happy with my flying and if I wanted I could take a plane and fly for another hour or so. Since it was already quite late and we were not prepared for longer flight to other airport we just did a short local flight around Lake Neuchatel. ...
(1851 visits, last updated on Sun, Sep 11, 2005)
Cross-country to Wangen-Lachen
It was our first cross-country flight in Switzerland, so we decided to stay away from the mountains. We took off from Grenchen early in the morning for a not very long flight ...
(19843 visits, last updated on Wed, Sep 28, 2005)
Mountain flight
Originally we wanted to make this flight to Gruyere (), which is beatifully situated in the pre-Alps. This is a PPR type airfield, so I called them on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately they did not speak English, only French and German (well, after all it is Switzerland). ...
(19349 visits, last updated on Wed, Sep 28, 2005)
Bad weather
We planned to do a short flight over Thun, Interlaken and Luzern. Unfortunately the weather was not very good when we woke up (6:20) and we decided to cancel this flight. Too bad, especially that the weather on Saturday was beautiful.
(1992 visits, last updated on Wed, Sep 14, 2005)
Last local flight
This was meant to be mountain flight. We wanted to fly from Grenchen to Sion via Thun, Interlaken, Meiringen, ...
(18301 visits, last updated on Wed, Sep 28, 2005)