Landing on snow

Landing on deep snow can be a risky business, but NATO and the Swiss army have partnered to trial new systems that can solve the problem.

Until now, flying in a 'white-out', a weather condition in which visibility and contrast are severely reduced, has been one of the biggest challenges for pilots.

The trials aim to develop technology that will help pilots fly in any weather, including situations of ‘degraded visual environment'.

US Army Major Paul R. Flanigen said:

“If you had bad weather, you couldn’t go. And if you had bad weather unexpectedly, it became an emergency. What this programme seeks to do is make the bad weather something that we can plan to fly in, as opposed to be a last-minute mission cancellation, which is what it has been.”

Landing on snow

Experts from different industries were presented with the results, with the aim of further advancing existing technology and enabling pilots to fly missions 365 days a year.

US Army Major Joe S. Minor said that each NATO country has proposed different solutions based on the environments they are trying to tackle:

“On the US side we have a lot of experience working with “brown-out” because our operations over the last decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the Swiss side they’ve got a lot more experience with mountain flying and with snow flying and white-out.”

The gathering was organised by NATO's Informal Working Group Degraded Visual Environment (IWG DVE) in partnership with the Swiss Army.