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Switzerland requires permit on all foreign ultralights (and other countries doing similar stuff)

According to AIC 003/2021, foreign ultralight/microlight/ecolight aircraft require a special permit for the use of Swiss airspace. In the past, it was possible to enter Switzerland with a foreign ultralight without any hassle, as long as the UL-type was on the list of approved ultralights. This has now been changed. The updated document informs: Foreign aircraft which are approved under LTF-UL or BCAR-S which may apply for a special permit to fly into Swiss airspace.

The case is currently a topic on a German forum for ultralight pilots. Someone asked Swiss CAA (BAZL) what he needs to use his German registered VL3 from JMB, and he got as answer, that he is required to apply for the special permit. Costs: 175 CHF for one week or 260 CHF for a longer period of time (max. 2 months per year). The permit can be applied via this official website, which also includes all the required documents, the aircraft owner needs to send Swiss CAA to get the permit.

All-in, this means pretty much a “de facto” ban on foreign ultralights in Swiss airspace. How is gonna pay 175 CHF or more per permit, to be allowed to fly inside Swiss airspace, even when you don’t plan to land inside Switzerland? I guess, only a few freaks would do it. It seems that the Swiss CAA wants to get rid of ultralights in their airspace, by making it totally unattractive to visit or overfly their country by ultralight. Switzerland itself hasn’t any ultralights btw. The few Breezer and C42 planes in the country have a LSA or Ecolight-certification, which require also minimum LAPL or higher to fly.

Last Edited by Frans at 11 Jan 17:22
EDKM, LSZC

Yep, although there still is a doubt whether this was a cock-up. They definitely wanted to ban people from basing F-reg, D-reg or I-reg ultralights there. But did they really want to subject every short overflight to that permission procedure?

If nothing changes, then this also affects ultralighters flying say from Germany to Italy (most ultralighters would not want to land in Switzerland anyway, since it is not their kind of budget).

But figure an ultralight pilot who wants to fly from Germany to Italy, but the whether over the Austrian passes is poor (whilst OK over Switzerland). This could make him fly in bad weather via Austria.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

boscomantico wrote:

They definitely wanted to ban people from basing F-reg, D-reg or I-reg ultralights there.

Yep, it’s also what I think, and have overheard…

boscomantico wrote:

This could make him fly in bad weather via Austria.

That’s a bit far stretched… nobody forces nobody to fly in bad weather, at least not in the amateur world

Dan
Life's short... enjoy!
LSZF, Switzerland

I wonder how this comes into discussion only now, the AIC is from August.

Definitly this looks like an attempt to stop Swiss people from basing UL’s here which went over the top. I am following the reactions in Switzerland and will see what comes up.

Denying overflight rights to aircraft under neighboring ICAO states register is not a cavalier thing, but it is going to be quite difficult to challenge, as those planes are not under EASA. I see two major issues they are trying to address by exclusion:
- Licensing: It looks to me that Switzerland does not want anyone operating an aircraft without at least a LPPL with a corresponding medical. I think this may well be the main issue.
- ULs in general: They have been trying to block UL’s since they exist, but have opened up a bit for this recently. Nevertheless, the general attitude is not towards UL’s and the “uncontrolled” environment they operate in.

There are quite a few Swiss who own UL’s in France and use the UL license and rules there. Obviously, they are the main target of this. So much the more astonishing that there was no uproar so far regarding this in that scene, at least not to my knowledge.

I’ll observe and report if I hear something.

LSZH, Switzerland

Dan wrote:

That’s a bit far stretched… nobody forces nobody to fly in bad weather, at least not in the amateur world

Unfortunately I have to agree with Bosco here. Closing a whole country for overflight WILL force people to fly around it and this kind of restrictions WILL lead to people pushing when they should not. It is a safety issue all right

Ibra wrote:

At some point the only GA thing that can fly in Switzerland airspace & aerodromes is PC12* even certified aircrafts don’t seem to “have what it takes”:

Can’t happen as long as Switzerland is bound to EASA .This is the issue here: UL’s as well as experimentals are under national control so basically the CAA’s can do whatever they want with them. Certified aviation and pilots with EASA papers are pretty much protected against such stuff.

LSZH, Switzerland

There are quite a few Swiss who own UL’s in France and use the UL license and rules there. Obviously, they are the main target of this.

Don’t think so… I’d rephrase as: There are quite a few Swiss who own UL’s in Switzerland and use the UL license and rules here. Obviously, they are the main target of this.

Dan
Life's short... enjoy!
LSZF, Switzerland

Dan wrote:

There are quite a few Swiss who own UL’s in Switzerland and use the UL license and rules here. Obviously, they are the main target of this.

You mean foreign registered ULs? Yes. I was not aware that they could actually station them here in the first place. Most I know own French registered UL’s which are based on airfields outside the borders but are flown regularly within Switzerland. If there are UL’s stationed in Switzerland flown by pilots who have no national or EASA license, then yes, they are obviously the primary target.

LSZH, Switzerland

You mean foreign registered ULs? Yes. I was not aware that they could actually station them here in the first place.

Actually you can’t, according to BAZL, the Swiss CAA. I asked them in 2019 about basing a foreign registered UL in Switzerland and doubt their stance has changed:

Reply from BAZL, Head of Registry, in german:
“Guten Tag Herr xxx

Gemäss dem AIC 002/2019 B ist eine Stationierung ausdrücklich nicht gestattet.
(…).
Sofern dieses UL dem DAeC-Gerätekennblatt xxx entspricht (…) darf das gewünschte Muster gelegentlich in den Schweizer Luftraum einfliegen."

LFSB, LSPV, Switzerland

Don’t you need the aircraft recertified IFR by FOCA to fly some procedures like SID/IGS at Sion, Lugano, Samedan…?

It is a crew approval.

although there still is a doubt whether this was a cock-up

It does sound like a cockup, but blocking overflight to uncertifieds unless they pay is not an unusual thing. Up to not long ago, Belgium was charging €80 for uncertified overflight, which was widely reported as killing off “overt” UL overflight because €80 is a huge amount to these. And a large % of countries in Europe still require a permit (a requirement which is generally ignored, but one then gets into a discussion of whether it affects insurance).

The interesting thing is that this Swiss move is against ULs but not against the normal “homebuilt” category. If they wanted to block non-CofA they would do both.

Microlight privileges for international flight
Homebuilt privileges for international flight

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The interesting thing is that this Swiss move is against ULs but not against the normal “homebuilt” category. If they wanted to block non-CofA they would do both.

That is why my gut feeling is that it is less against the actual UL’s itself but against the licensing of pilots which goes with them. They simply do not regard the Pilots using UL licenses which are issued in some neighboring countries as something they wish to have flying in their airspace.

LSZH, Switzerland
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