Flying in Switzerland is kind of special. More than 40% of our country is mountainous, known as the Swiss Alps. As a pilot, you really need to know how to behave in such a difficult area. On the other hand, you have the lower area known as the midland. Even there, you have a lot of inhibiting factors such as big airports like Zurich or Geneva. As a pilot in general aviation, you are doing a heck of a job to stay safe and legal in the air!
It was summer 2020 and I was planning the next flight out of my homebase, Sitterdorf. I was not really sure where to go, so I decided to take the chance and try to fly into the International Airport of Zurich. It was in the middle of the first Covid-19 lockdown and everything was shut down. The air traffic out of Zurich was never that low but this was due to the fact that 85% of all the flights were cancelled. This was my chance to go for a flight to an international airport with my small Cessna 150!
I called the slot desk at Zurich Airport and asked for a time window to land. I was really astonished as he said to me, “You can come whenever you want. We have enough capacity”. It’s something you wouldn’t have expected one year before.
On that particular day, the flight to Zurich was a flight I will never forget. I usually fly the Airbus A320 out of Zurich, and typically it is very busy and packed with airliners. On that day, I was almost the only aircraft on frequency. I don’t know how many times I’ve checked the radio just to be sure that I haven’t tuned the wrong frequency! It was scarily quiet!
As I called up the tower for the route to the landing runway, he just told me: “You can take any runway you’d like!” And there it was, my first “Hell yeah!” on that day.
After the landing on runway 28, I started taxiing as instructed to the GA sector. But I’d have rather parked in front of the tower, to take some crazy pictures as a souvenir. So I just randomly asked the ground controller:” Any chance to park in front of the tower?”
He confirmed my request immediately and even forwarded me a follow me car that brought us right in front of the tower, to the stand A11. And there it was again, the second “Hell yeah!”
The picture that developed is unique and I will definitely never forget that day!