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Dübendorf - Flight Service

The “Golden 1920s” was a great time for topographers too, as the engineers began, literally, to take off.

Biplane, with photographer standing behind the pilot with camera in hand taking photographs of the terrain
Those were the days: aerial photographs taken with a hand-held camera from an aircraft in the 1930s.

The first (unsuccessful) tests were carried out in 1913 already using a tethered balloon in the Münsingen-Belp region. The second attempt took place 10 years later. On 16 October 1923, the then head of the L+T topography section asked the Dübendorf airfield management to “grant approval for the use of your aircraft, cameras, pilots and observers, with both the undersigned and an engineer as passengers”. The collaboration with Dübendorf began, but until the 1950s the aircraft took off from the airfield at Thun.

Then in 1927 also the Federal Directorate of Cadastral Surveying carried out its first tests. In 1929, it acquired its first aircraft. Because of the different photographic requirements with larger image sizes and consequently lower flight altitudes, it had to meet different criteria. 
Initially, the activities of the pilots and camera operators were not without risk, and several fatal accidents occurred.

On 14 October 1927 both the pilot and the engineer lost their lives when Zepp LZ CII crashed. However, the camera – the first in the range produced by recently established company, Wild Heerbrugg – was retrieved from the wreckage of the completely destroyed aircraft. 


  • Dübendorf: aviation services
    The Golden Twenties also provided fresh impulses for topographers in that they began to literally take to the air, if somewhat hesitantly at first. Since the time of Dufour, they had been obtaining topographic data using measuring tables directly in the terrain, but in the years following World War I, the Topographic Survey of Switzerland (as swisstopo was called at that time) paved the way for the use of photogrammetry.
    PDF, 3 page(s), 198 KB, German

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern
+41 58 469 01 11


Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern


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