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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   20C  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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