EN

Special flights

Procedures for coordinating special flights have been formalised by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and are promulgated in detail in the AIP (ENR 1.4) and the VFR Manual (VFR RAC 4, §7).

Special flights within airspace classes C and D can pose a danger for other airspace users and lead to an additional coordination workload for the air navigation services. They are therefore subject to approval from skyguide and/or the airport authority.

Drones and model aircraft (RPAS – remotely piloted aircraft system)

RPAS activities in Switzerland are regulated by the OSCA (DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft):  OSCA

 

For flights with RPAS (500g to 30kg) at a distance closer than 5km to a runway of a Swiss aerodrome and flights with RPAS within the control zone (CTR) of a Swiss aerodrome if exceeding a height of 150m above ground, an authorization is required from the responsible air traffic control unit (aerodromes with control zone) and / or the aerodrome operator (aerodromes without control zone).

Further information about flights with RPAS in Switzerland as well as the map ‘Restrictions for Drone’ can be found on the FOCA homepage: Drones and aircraft models

 

The following rules shall be strictly respected during every flight with an RPAS:

  • The RPAS operator shall apply the “see-and-avoid” principle, meaning that the operator:
    • is at all times and under all circumstances responsible for collision avoidance with all other aircraft
    • maintains direct visual contact with the RPAS and the surrounding airspace
    • operates the RPAS only under weather and other environmental conditions that allow the application of this principle
  • Other aircraft have priority over RPAS at all times
  • If an aircraft approaches, the RPAS shall be landed immediately

 

For flights with RPAS above gatherings of people, beyond visual line of sight, or when the RPAS weight exceeds 30kg, a permit shall be requested from FOCA: rpas@bazl.admin.ch

 

 

 

Photo and survey flights

For photo and survey flights within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units. A detailed map showing the lines of flight, the flight area or the flight route shall be attached to the request form.
The following additional information shall be provided for each photo flight:

  • Are the stated altitudes flexible or do they need to be exactly adhered to?
  • Is it possible to interrupt the mission or do the lines need to be flown in one go?
  • Is the mission dependent on a certain timeframe (e.g. due to the position of the sun)?
  • Is the mission dependent on certain conditions (e.g. no clouds, no snow)?

 

 

Test flights

For Test flights within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units. A detailed map showing the lines of flight, the flight area or the flight route shall be attached to the request form.

 

 

 

Post-maintenance test flights within the test flight pattern EA9

Test flight patterns may only be flown by Swiss-based aircraft maintenance companies.

  • The operator of the test flight shall submit a request (Airspace and ATC request) to the Airspace Management Cell (AMC) testflight-eastA9(at)skyguide.ch
  • To allow coordination with the appropriate ATC units, requests should be sent to the AMC by Wednesday of the week preceding the requested flight
  • One hour before departure, the test pilot shall contact ATC by phone (+41 43 931 69 60)
  • The appropriate ATC unit will inform the operator of any restrictions and conditions.

 

 

Calibration flights

For calibration flights within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units. A detailed map showing the flight path shall be attached to the request form.

 

 

TV and radio relay flights

For TV and radio relay flights within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units. A detailed map showing the flight area or the flight path shall be attached to the request form.

 

 

Transport flights within a CTR

For commercial transport flights within a CTR, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

In the canton of Zurich, the Office of Transportation shall be contacted for transport flights: afv.zh.ch

 

Exception: Transport flights with a single landing / takeoff within the CTR do not need to be coordinated with skyguide. Such flights must use the shortest route to / from the published VFR route.

 

 

Sightseeing and passenger flights within a CTR

For sightseeing and passenger flights within a CTR, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

In the canton of Zurich, the Office of Transportation shall be contacted for passenger flights: afv.zh.ch

 

Exception: sightseeing and passenger flights without repeated landings or departures within the CTR do not need to be coordinated with skyguide. Such flights must use the shortest route to / from the published VFR route.

 

 

Airshows

For airshows within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

 

Parachute jumps

For parachute jumps within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

Note: Parachute jumps within the Zurich CTR cannot be approved for operational reasons.

 

 

Hang glider flights

Hang glider flights are regulated by the OSCA (DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft): OSCA

 

For hang glider flights at a distance of closer than 5km from the runways of a Swiss aerodrome or closer than 2.5 km from a heliport, an authorization shall be obtained from the appropriate air traffic control unit (aerodromes with control zone) and / or the aerodrome operator (aerodromes without a control zone).

 

 

Gliding competitions

For gliding competitions within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

 

Sky lanterns

In Switzerland, the launch of sky lanterns is regulated by the OSCA (DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft):  OSCA

 

Launching sky lanterns at a distance closer than 5km from the runway of a Swiss aerodrome requires an authorization from the appropriate air traffic control unit (aerodromes with control zone) and / or the aerodrome operator (aerodromes without control zone).
Within a radius of 5 km around Zurich and Bern airports, authorizations for sky lanterns are in principle only granted after operations have finished (~ 23:30 pm).
Before launching sky lanterns, a few clarifications should be made. In certain parts of Switzerland, sky lanterns are no longer permitted (for example within the cities of Zurich and Berne, as well as within the canton of Geneva, Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft).

 

For aviation safety reasons, the following points shall be respected when launching sky lanterns:

  • the site shall be located at a distance further than 5 km from runways of civil and military aerodromes;
  • the launch of multiple lanterns shall be staggered (no countdown starts);
  • lanterns shall not be tied together; and
  • no hard objects shall be attached to the lanterns.

 

In addition, the following points should be respected:

  • to overfly the national border the requirements of the respective countries shall be complied with. A distance of at least 5 km from the national border is therefore recommended;
  • any cantonal or municipal regulations and/or fire safety regulations shall be observed; and
  • approval for launching sky lanterns is required from the owner of the land from where the launches will take place.

 

To launch sky lanterns with a volume exceeding 30 m3 or a payload exceeding 2 kg, a permit shall be requested from FOCA: ballone@bazl.admin.ch

 

 

 

Toy balloons

In Switzerland, the launch of toy balloons is regulated by the OSCA (DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft):  OSCA

 

Launching toy balloons within a 5 km radius of civil or military airfields with a control zone (CTR) is subject to the following conditions:

  • the volume shall not exceed 1 m3;
  • a maximum of 300 toy balloons may be launched simultaneously;
  • the balloons shall not be tied together; and
  • hard objects shall not be placed inside or attached to the balloons (wood, plastic, metal, sparklers, glow sticks, LED lights, etc.). Cardboard cards (max. A5) are exempted.

 

If these requirements cannot be met, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

In Switzerland it is prohibited to launch balloons:

  • with a volume exceeding 30m3;
  • with a payload exceeding 2 kg; or
  • filled with flammable gas.

To launch toy balloons with a volume exceeding 30 m3 or a payload exceeding 2 kg, a permit shall be requested from FOCA: ballone@bazl.admin.ch

 

 

 

Weather balloons

For the launch of weather balloons within airspace D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

 

Gas and hot air balloons

For gas and hot air balloons within airspace C and D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.

 

 

 

Kites, paragliders and tethered balloons

In Switzerland, kites, paragliders and tethered balloons are regulated by the OSCA (DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft):  OSCA

 

Launching of kites, paragliders and tethered balloons at a distance closer than 3 km to a runway of a civil or military aerodrome requires an authorization from the appropriate air traffic control unit (aerodromes with control zone) and/or the aerodrome operator (aerodromes without control zone).

A permit shall be obtained from FOCA for launching kites, paragliders and tethered balloons higher than 60m above ground:  ballone@bazl.admin.ch

 

 

Fireworks

For fireworks at a distance closer than 5 km to a runway of a Swiss aerodrome, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control unit (aerodromes with control zone) and/or the aerodrome operator (aerodromes without control zone).

 

Exception: For fireworks within the territory of the canton of Geneva, a permit shall be obtained from the Geneva city police: https://www.ge.ch/

 

 

 

Light beams and lasers

For temporary installations of light beams or lasers within airspace D, an authorization is required from the appropriate air traffic control units.