In general, XC routes from Fiesch are well endowed with recognised landing fields, without stretches of unlandable terrain. It’s only in a few areas – e.g. around the Furka pass and in the Saas valley – where finding a good place to land can be tricky.
I have put together a waypoint file of landing fields. I find it very useful to have these stored in my Flymaster, as I can easily set one as my destination whilst in flight, then the required glide angle to reach it is displayed. In the highly unlikely event that your IT skills are even more rudimentary than mine, here are step by step instructions as to how they can be uploaded to your flight instrument:
- Save the page as a text file (or copy and paste the text into a Notepad document).
- In GpsDump, under “File”, click “Open wpts” and browse for the file (having chosen “All files (*.*)” from the dropdown menu).
- Highlight all the waypoint IDs (in the left-hand column) or use Ctrl-A.
- Under “Write wpts”, choose “Send to ********” (the name of your instrument).
If that doesn’t seem to work, perhaps these instructions might help, otherwise you had better ask a more digitally savvy friend! The IDs in the form “L12345” are those used in existing waypoint files which I found on Swiss competition websites, and any which I have created myself are in the form “LR1234”.
Wherever you land, there are nearly always valley breezes to be reckoned with. This diagram shows the expected flows without the influence of any general meteo winds:
The valley breeze in the main Rhône valley is almost always from the west, and pretty strong in mid-afternoon, with gusts often exceeding paraglider trim speed, so it’s generally considered that landing there at that time is a bad idea. However, if it can’t be avoided, there are plenty of large flat fields as well as the negotiated landing areas, but you should anticipate a strengthening of the wind as you descend and set up to allow for the possibility of a negative ground speed when you touch down.
The Goms valley is wide, and the wind there is often brisk, but rarely excessive, and usually laminar. The main hazard is that on most flyable days there is likely to be an north-easterly flow in Oberwald and a south-westerly in Fiesch. The location of the region where these two breezes collide will depend on general weather factors and the time of day, and cannot be accurately predicted. If you encounter this zone, you may find convergence and/or a very variable wind at ground level.
The valley breeze in the Urserntal will nearly always be coming from the east, and will almost certainly strengthen as you approach Andermatt.
In the Surselva, you can also expect the valley breeze to be coming from the east, and although it may be quite weak in Disentis, by the time you reach Chur, it is likely to be vigorous.
The effect of general meteo winds on the valley breezes is shown here:-
Only landing zones east of Fiesch are covered in detail in this website, because I have a strong preference for heading that way, and therefore land to the west so rarely that I have no helpful pictures of options in that direction. Details of those can be found on an interactive map on the local club website (check the “Landeplatz” box). The club encourages pilots to use negotiated landing fields, which can generally be identified from the air by their windsocks, but if you have to land elsewhere you are unlikely to upset anyone, provided that you avoid fields containing livestock or long grass, and are not interfering with anyone else, e.g. the sailplane runway at Münster.