Realp

Coordinates: 46°35’52″ N 8°30’02″ E 1560m ASL

Although there is no official landing field at Realp, you may find that you need to land around here, and I have done so many times without anyone appearing to mind in the least.  It is not only the first option beyond the Furka pass which is neither unsafe nor inconvenient, but may also provide a suitable retreat from Andermatt when the landing conditions there are unfavourable.

Urserntal viewed from the west

The village becomes visible fairly soon after you have crossed the Furka pass, depending on your altitude. The image above shows the view from about 3000m, above Tiefenbach, around 4km beyond the pass.

Winds which can affect Realp

The valley breeze in Realp is nearly always an easterly, typically blowing at 15-25km/hr in the afternoon.  Having arrived in Andermatt from the north via the Schöllenen gorge, it swerves to the right to continue up the Urserntal, typically losing around a third of its speed on the way.   In north overpressure or very thermic conditions, 30km/hr is not unusual, and occasionally it can blow even more strongly, but this breeze is likely to be laminar.

A meteo flow from the west or south-west may produce a significant tailwind east of the Furka pass.  If you can still feel it below 2000m, this westerly breeze can accelerate down the slope above the village and overpower the usual easterly, causing too much turbulence for landing in Realp to be safe.  In that situation, I would fly a few kilometres downwind, but not as far as Hospental, in case there is a clash there with a breeze blowing down from the Gotthard pass.

Rarely, south overpressure or föhn can cause a southerly flow in Realp; I have only experienced this once, and the conditions were horribly rough, probably because of conflict with the usual easterly breeze.

Realp viewed from the west

I usually land in the area shown by the symbol in the image below – a field owned by a local farmer.  However, I have been lucky every time to find that it has been free of livestock and contained short grass, which will not always be the case.  The area marked would have been my fall-back option in other circumstances; it is relatively flat, and I have seen quite a few XContest tracks ending here, so I can see no reason why it should be problematic.  I would advise against landing on the far side (i.e. to the south) of the road, as much of this land is used by the military (you may be able to make out a firing range in the centre of the picture).

Final approach to Realp LZ (in normal wind direction)

In the lower right corner of both images above, there is a small hillock, about 20m high, on which the local golf club has very helpfully placed three large banners, which show the wind direction very clearly. There are also usually a few Swiss flags around the village to provide wind indicators upwind of the landing field. Although you are landing downwind of houses, these are all relatively low and of similar heights, so do not seem to cause noticeable turbulence. You can probably see that the field inclines downwards slightly towards the road, but this may even be a help rather than a hindrance, as you are likely to be coming in across this slope.

You can see a short clip shot from a helicopter approaching Realp from the east, which shows the hillock and landing field (just beyond the church) very clearly.