Swiss News

  News from Switzerland - Microlights soon to be allowed.

It is expected that, in conjunction with the introduction of ‘Ecolight’ aircraft, from 1st April 2006 Microlights which conform to either BCAR Section S (UK) or LTF-UL (Germany) and have a minimum wing load of 20kg/m2 will be allowed to enter Switzerland. This excludes flexwing and rotary wing aircraft, which remain prohibited.
For further information see type-list on

The C42, a swiss microlight regognised by the -W letter.

What is an Ecolight?
The name 'Ecolight' was first coined in 1997 to overcome the politically unwelcome term 'ultralight’ in Switzerland. Ecolight aeroplanes are economical and environment friendly. They have low fuel consumption due to modern technology and small (less than 121Bhp) engines. They also must conform to ICAO Annex 16 noise regulations with a limit of 65 dB(A), and to the 450kg (472.5kg with BRS) weight limit. Glider towing is allowed. The Swiss government’s political intention is to replace ‘normal’ aeroplanes by environmentally friendly Ecolights.

Ecolight certification work is delegated from the BAZL (Swiss CAA) to the Swiss Microlight Federation.

Pilots need a national RPPL-ECO (minimum 30 hrs practical training and PPL theory). PPL-SEP pilots need type training, signed off by an instructor in their logbook. They can upgrade from RPPL-ECO to RPPL-SEP through more training and a further test and can count 10% (max. 10 hours) of Ecolight hours towards a JAR-PPL. Ecolight pilots must have a JAR FCL Class II medical, and all Ecolight flying hours must be recorded in their own separate logbook.

Validity of hours towards SEP
A ruling on this is expected by 1 July 2006 to the effect that Ecolight hours may be counted towards RPPL-SEP for the purposes of keeping the validity of the RPPL-SEP licence. However, Ecolight hours will not count towards a JAR-PPL.

Validity of foreign licences
Foreign licences can be converted into Swiss licences, but extra training (e.g. flying in the Alps, Swiss Law) are required. Pilots have to undergo a skills test. Difference training is decided by BAZL.

Can Ecolights fly abroad?
Ecolight pilots may fly in other countries, subject to the host's regulations. Flights into Germany and France, for instance, can be undertaken with no special approval, other countries may require approval.

Can foreign Microlights fly into Switzerland?
A ruling on this is expected by 1 April 2006 to the effect that Microlights which conform to the BCAR Section S or LTF-UL and the Ecolight wing loading requirement may undertake occasional flights without special approval. This applies to all these Microlights, regardless of in which country the Microlight is registered. Pilots must have valid licences from their home country. Flights must be subject to a flight plan and arrive at a Customs airfield and aircraft may also be trailered in.

Which airspace can Ecolights / foreign Microlights use?
PPL-SEP licence holders may fly Ecolights in the same airspace as 'normal' aeroplanes. RPPL or foreign licence holders may fly in Airspace G and E and land in airfields in Airspace D (subject to PPR approval). Transponders code 7000 A/C are mandatory in Airspace E above 7000ft AMSL. There is no requirement for transponders in Airspace G (up to 2000ft AGL).

Can foreign second-hand Ecolights be imported into, and registered in, Switzerland?
Yes, if the manufacturer can prove conformity. The plane would need to be check-flown.

Can Ecolights be kit-built?
Ecolights are always factory series-built completely by the manufacturer. Kit-built remains exclusively part of the EAS Experimental category.

The Eurostar, allowed in Switzerland as Microlight.

What registration mark do Ecolights carry?
HB-WXX (HB is Switzerland, W is Ecolight, XX are individual letters).

What do Ecolights cost?
It varies, but 70,000-150,000 Swiss francs (about £31-£66,000). Hiring costs approx 140 SFR (£62) per flying hour. Licence-training costs 7-10,000 SFR (£3-£4,500)

1st Swiss Fly-In for Microlights
It is planned that there will be an international Microlight fly-in on 24th & 25th June at Mollis in the east of Switzerland. More information will be made available mid-February on

Tony Landolt, who has worked for this event for many years.