Flight tests at Älggialp: Flying in poor visibility

Bern, 20.02.2017 - From 20 to 24 February 2017, the armed forces will carry out test flights in poor visibility at Älggialp (Canton of Obwalden). The goal of these field tests with helicopters is to evaluate systems that allow flying in poor visibility caused by snow. Civilian and military representatives from other countries are also involved in the tests.

In the context of the Partnership for Peace programme, the Swiss Armed Forces are participating in a project aimed at evaluating degraded visual environment (DVE) systems. The field tests are being carried out to evaluate both the use and the effectiveness of these systems in poor visibility. The air force is keen to improve its capability in such weather conditions, which often make safe helicopter operations impossible; it is also looking to expand its range of applications and to help improve operational safety, which also benefits civilian flight operations.

The tests at Älggialp relate to what is called a whiteout, i.e. conditions in which stirred-up snow reduces visibility. The tests focus on airworthiness, efficiency and experience gained in DVE systems operations in whirled-up snow.

In addition to the tests in poor visual conditions carried out in Switzerland, the project also includes tests in other weather conditions that degrade visibility. Tests in adverse weather conditions caused by cloud, fog and rain, for example, are being carried out in Manching in Germany.

Address for enquiries

Jürg Nussbaum
Head of Air Force Communication
+41 58 464 15 50


Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports


Air Force