High Flight in Switzerland
by: Robert Schubiger
(Ed Note: Robert is a 16,000 hour pilot who has just retired from Swissair. As a member of the Swiss Air Force he flew everything from DH-100 Vampires to F-5Es and PC-9s)
Switzerland is situated in the middle of geographic EUROPE and is surrounded by GERMANY- AUSTRIA-ITALY-FRANCE and ITALY .It spans roughly 250 times 150 Kilometers and has a size of ca 40000 SQ-KMS . About 40 % of the area are unproductive mountains , Switzerland has less than 8-millions inhabitants divided in 4 sectors -the German - Italien - French and Romantsch speaking parts.
I live in the German speaking part of the country, about 30 Km west of Zuerich and I fly from a 2000ft airfield called Birrfeld (LSZF). At the moment we have 4-VEZEs,1-LEZE,and1-Speed Canard operational on our airfield. All of these are equipped with either hydraulic Hoffmann or electric MT- CS variable pitch propellers MTV-1-AF which we have operated since 1984 without any problem. MT certified 1984 with my EZE this pusher prop which significantly improves takeoff and climb out --. For example : AT 2000ft pres alt - Oat 20°C and max T/O weight - my ground-run is 375m (1080ft) and over a 50ft- obstacle I need 528m (1730ft) .In addition, we have very stringent noise-certification limits (my EZE s official data is 64.4dba ) which asks for reduced RPM and an effective muffler .The whole prop assembly (including spinner) weighs in at ~ 10Kgs. The price is quite healthy :~6500 Euros which equals today US Dollars.
In Switzerland all space is very rare and therefore expensive- - so is hangar space-- if you are able and lucky enough to find any! Fortunately I had the idea to hang YBL under the roof.
The photos below show what it is to fly in the Bernese - Oberland Alps , the region of the famous EIGER north-slopes where so many climbers have lost there lives already.
Technical description of HB-YBL(lemon)
I began to build my EZE 1977 - 1980 first flight - in operation till 1998 - Decision to upgrade with a modern NAV/COM 1998. This decision proved "fatal" as it ended with a completely modernized aircraft and work for nearly 2 years. .Following details were altered: Carbon cowlings with a complete redesign of the cooling- inlet and airflow through the engine
The above photo shows the new shape ( the lower cowl is exactly like the original ) ; according the air seems to find the correct way as proven by the data of the EDM 700. So far I have not yet installed an oil - cooler on my LYC O - 235 C-2-C as in normal europ temperatures Oil-Temp is between 180 -210 ° F. I prefer to operate at the upper limit of OIL-Temp in order to keep humidity out of the system.
The cockpit was completely altered and I believe it has all the goodies that are need to have and even most of the nice to have items also. GPS+Map (Apollo GX - 65 ); EDM-700 ; FF ; Century - AP ; elec trim : elev + ailerons (elev - by spring ,ail - by Flettner ( not Flutter ));, elec NG retr-sys with clutch (if NG is not centered) ; elec fuel indication ; SYS - Monitor ( RPM-MP-%PWR ) angle of attack indication pneumatic ; .Transponder ; eng - oil qty indication during operation ; cabin - heat sys ; Fiberlight instr - lighting , new alcantara interior ; all at no weight increase compared to first flight 1980 and CG - 10 MM ahead of aft limit. Dry operating weight (AC without fuel and payload) 750lbs.
I installed a new stick with altered kinematic (to improve the relation between aileron and elevator sensitivity (elevator was much too sensitive compared to the ailerons). Vast improvement in comfort ! So far I have logged 65 hours since rebuilt without the slightest problem. TT~ 540hs.(for info: one can reach every part of Switzerland within less than 1 hour !).
Best specific range at 9000ft - PA at 50% PWR is 8.56 Nm/l of fuel with TAS of 154Mph a RPM=2400 .
At the moment we have 9 VEZEs and 7 LEZEs operational in Switzerland.
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