Airbus Helicopters, December 10, 2020 - Swiss Air-Rescue Rega is one of the world’s oldest air rescue organisations, responding to accidents in the Swiss Alps where sites are difficult to reach from the ground.
Rega has achieved many milestones in the course of its history and continues to set standards in mountain rescue today.
In December 1952, a Swiss pilot carried out Swiss Air-Rescue’s first helicopter rescue at Davos, Switzerland. Rega's initial permanent helicopter base was established in Zurich during 1968.
In 1971, the air rescue operation received its first helicopter financed exclusively from donations: an Alouette III SE 316, built by one of Airbus Helicopters’ predecessor companies. This rotorcraft type formed the backbone of the Rega helicopter fleet for many years.
One of the most spectacular Rega rescue operations took place over Yverdon airfield in September 1980: a skydiver’s parachute became entangled in the tail wheel of the jumper’s aircraft. The air rescue helicopter’s crew managed the almost impossible feat of freeing the parachutist while in flight.
ega is a not-for-profit private foundation and is financed by donations. With over 3.5 million patrons, it is firmly rooted within the Swiss population. The helicopter fleet includes seven Airbus Helicopters H145s stationed at the lowland bases. In addition, Rega operates an Airbus-built H125 for training purposes. Rega also deploys three ambulance jets, flown worldwide for seriously ill or injured patients.
In addition to Rega’s previous operation of the legacy Alouette III rotorcraft from an Airbus Helicopters predecessor company, it also utilised the first twin-engine ambulance helicopter, the Bo 105.
In 2019, Rega flew a total of 16,782 missions, of which 12,257 were performed with helicopters. Approximately 400 employees – including some 80 helicopter- and jet-rated pilots, along with 110 medical staff – play a decisive role in fulfilling Rega’s goals.
Ernst Kohler, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, summed up the operator’s overall mission: “With all of the technical progress to date, Rega’s goal still remains the same. We put people at the centre of everything we do and deliver medical assistance by air to wherever it is needed.”