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Over Baltic sea in April


I plan my trip to Germany at the end of April. The shortest route from Latvia goes through the Baltic sea with one stop in Sweden or Denmark. Alternative route goes through Poland and it’s 2 hour longer, but not water below all the time.

Is there any general recomendations in term of safety? (considering case of ditching, water temperature is 5-8 degrees).

Last Edited by pshz at 04 Apr 05:27

It’s really very individual but if the water is cold (!) I …

… prefer to fly high enough to be in gliding distance of land
… might prefer to fly a liitle longer to stay in gliding distance

If the water is warm (Mediterranean in the summer, Caribbean) i have no problem to fly direct lines and long over water legs.

I flew roughly the same route last

But that was in late July, plus I had the airframe parachute. That said, I have several times crossed over from the Netherlands to Suffolk (or even Norfolk) in winteror spring.

One thing: a few weeks after the above trip, I received a bill for airway fees for the crossing of Kaliningrad FIR….150€ IIRC!

If I were you, I would probably go via Visby, Øland, Malmø, Falster and Fehmarn. Very scenic, too. Might be a challenge with the weather in April though.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 04 Apr 07:33
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Risk perception is a very personal thing. Statistically, you are safe.

If you live somewhere in the mainland, you tend to be concerned about water crossings. If you are based e.g. at Shoreham and go for your weekly L2K burger run, you fly over the open sea all the time and accept the risk.

@boscomantico, could you please tell more about Kaliningrad FIR crossing? I have asked the question before on forums, but there were no reply. Have you just filed flight plan for that? Any special permission? Was that IFR or VFR and what flight level?


5 deg Celsius water temp in case of ditching means half an hour od counsciounsness and after that death within next hour or so (assuming no immerse suit). I do not think that hopping for SAR to arrive within half na hour in the Baltic area is a rational expectation, but well, just my opiniom, don’t have any data for that


Flying over water in most places in Europe makes little sense unless one is carrying a raft.

With just jackets, either the water is too cold and you will be dead by the time they pick you up, or (in the south e.g. the Med) it will be ages before they sort themselves out and you will be dead by the time they get there, or they won’t find you.

The best thing is to ditch near a ship (a small one) or a yacht etc. but that needs a flight at a reasonable altitude.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Isn’t carrying a raft prescribed by law in all European countries, depending on the distance from shore?

I for sure carry one every time I cross the sea. However, I use a cheap and small one.


We all agree that ditching into cold water on the high seas is likely to lead to death of the occupants.

The question is rather: are we willing to take the (small) risk of dying in return for doing enjoyable things in life?

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany


I have to admit that I did not study this in detail this time. I think there is a difference between crossing Kaliningrad FIR over the high seas and flying over land. I think that you need a permission for flying over land in Russia, even if you are merely overflying and not landing (heaven forbid). Over water, no permission. On another forum, someone suggested that in this cade you must address the FPL to two additional places in Russia, as a “notification”. That’s what I did, but I obviously could not find out if that was crucial in the end (I actually don’t think so).

In the end, I exchanged very few words with the Russian controller. On initial contact, he merely cleared me direct to the FIR boundary (a polite way of saying “let me continue my sleep”).

Last Edited by boscomantico at 04 Apr 09:15
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany
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