I became an American during the last months. Everything went fast. Now I’m back in Switzerland and I almost feel stuck.
When I walked in at the flight school in Seattle they didn’t know about me. Their e-mails got lost. No worries – the chief instructor called Isaac and two hours later I had my first flight lesson. I flew once every day and had my pilot’s certificate two months after. In Canada I flew three to six hours a day. 17 days later I had 50 hours logged. Now I arrived in Switzerland and want to fly here. Not so easy. With the attitude of an American I asked at the local flight school if I can take a week off and convert my licence within a few days. The answer brought me down to earth. They said, if I want I could do that over several months. There would be big differences between America and Switzerland. Several months they said. Oh boy. The differences between landplanes and seaplanes are big as well and it took six hours in four days to get it done.
Looking at the big picture it doesn’t look too bad though. First I want to validate the US certificate which allows me to fly in Switzerland for one year. During this time I will work on the conversation to an European licence. The validation is a matter of forms and a flight with an instructor. That’s peanuts. The big thing is the conversion. Some say the month of April is my deadline. A new law is coming and I’m not sure if a conversion is possible after April ’12. My plan is to be done with everything by the end of January. This gives me some time to adapt to Switzerland’s airspace.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to fly in this country with all due respect to the local rules as I did in America and Canada. My point is that I’m used to do things fast. I could prepare for the conversion within one week or so and do the flights on four, five days in a row. But the flight schools here are used to teach a student one lesson a week… so let’s do it the way they do it. 🙂
I’m moving this weekend. Before I went to America I found a job in Davos. They say it is the highest city in Europe at 1560m, or in terms of aviation 5’120 feet msl. There is a beautiful ski resort. I have a morning and evening shift – if I’m not too tired I can go snowboarding during the day. Sweeeet!
My apartment is in the lower right corner. It’s small and cheap and there’s all I need. The lovely chalet is called Muntanella. This word means marmot in a language called ‘Rumantsch Grischun’. This language is spoken by only few people in the Swiss mountains. I want to learn this language a little bit. Well, it is a language you can’t improve to a level of a native speaker. There are too many words that have never been written down in a book. But I’m looking forward to learn the basics of Rumantsch!
I hope I can write about flying in Switzerland in a month or so. I’m changing to the Swiss style now. Slow but steady!