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Crossair Pilot Lands Cessna On Frozen Swiss Lake  
User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2246 times:


OK, this is nothing serious and I am not questioning Crossair as a company itself, especially considering it was a private aircraft, however I can't hide that it makes me somehow question the pilot's judgement skills.

Anway, the story itself. Many of the smaller Swiss lakes have been frozen recently due to to the cooler than normal temperatures, one of them, lake Pfaeffikon in the Canton of Zurich which was just closed to the public the same day since the ice was starting to get thinner.

The Crossair pilot, and his co-pilot landed the Cessna on the frozen laked to practise an emergency landing (which hence makes it legal) and took-off without incident a few minutes later.

So what do you think of it? Legal? Illegal?


Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJAT From Canada, joined Feb 2000, 1101 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2214 times:

In Canada it would definitley be illegal, although if it's a real emergency nothing is illegal. Of course, if it's a real emergency there's all the paper work and the Transport Canada inspectors, Police etc...

I don't know how it works in Switzerland though....

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30410 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2206 times:

Landing on frozen lakes is perfectly fine up here. We do it all the time.

No different then landing on a mountainside or in a field.

As long as there is no local law against moterized vehicles or air operations from that lake it shouldn't be a problem.

User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1621 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

I live about 1 km from that lake and went skating on it the day before the now infamous (here in Switzerland at least) landing. I also work for Crossair. While it is something I must admit I would probably not do myself it should not be that bad. The ice was still good and was not actually closed because of the thickness but because of the poor condition along the edges and that the people who were skating and walking on the lake were destroying the protected wetlands right next to the lake. I guess that it might not be the best judgement but it need not be treated like a capitol crime either, and here in Switzerland sometimes little things like this are actually treated like capitol crimes when actual capitol crimes are practically ignored.

User currently offlineAirCanadaMan From Canada, joined Feb 2000, 465 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2147 times:

Its not illegal in northern Canada, far from it actaully.

Basically, if you're not going to get your plane stuck, and arent going to hit anything, go ahead.
Same rules as floatplanes up here, land em where you want.

Infact, we go so far as to clear off an ice strip on Yellowknife Bay exactly for that purpose, and in the summer it becomes our float base.

Thats exactly why this didnt surprise me all that much, but given the ice conditions, its a little bit on the risky side.

User currently offlineAC_B777 From Canada, joined Aug 2000, 854 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

Hi all,

Well, when I was in flightschool, I landed my Cessna 150 on a frozen lake near Springdale, Newfoundland.
It was perfectly legal as many skiplanes landed on this lake.
I however did'nt have ski's, just wheels, but it was still ok. There was a runway plowed out of the snow.
I would have to say that it was one of the highlights of my time in flightschool. I had a great time making the approach down through the hills and landing on the ice and then taking off on it. It was great!!


In life, some days you are the bug..... some days you are the windshield!
User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3036 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (14 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2064 times:

According to me, the pilot just took the opportunity to test an emergency landing, something that should be encouraged to do so...

Suppose that next month this very same pilot has to deal with a REAL emergency, now at least he knows how to land on a frozen lake...well, I hope he does!

I think he did a good job, because he was trying to improve his aviation skills, hence the safety of his future passengers...Bravo!


Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
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