Swiss Air-Rescue (German: Schweizerische Rettungsflugwacht, French: Garde aérienne suisse de sauvetage, Rega) is a private, non-profit air rescue service that provides emergency medical assistance in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Rega was established on 27 April 1952 by Dr Rudolf Bucher, who believed the Swiss rescue organization needed a specialized air sub-section. Rega mainly assists with mountain rescues, though it will also operate in other terrains when needed, most notably during life-threatening emergencies. Rega also provides a repatriation and medical advice service for members who experience a medical emergency while abroad and local treatment is not available.
Rega also aids alpine farmers during the summer months in rescuing livestock and retrieving dead animals.
As a non-profit foundation, Rega does not receive financial assistance from any government. They are quite unique within Europe, with the majority of their costs paid through the annual fees of private contributors (As of 2016: 3.2 million patrons, 38% of the population). In exchange, Rega does not charge its contributors for its search, rescue and repatriation costs. One other rare aspect of Rega is that people in distress can call for a helicopter rescue directly (phone number 1414). In case of insufficient mobile phone coverage, alpinists can also use emergency radio telephone (161.3 MHz).
The head office, the Rega Centre, (home to the Rega operations center where all missions are coordinated) is a hangar located at the northeast section of Zurich Airport within the municipality of Kloten; the hangar has direct access to the runways of the airport. All Rega helicopters carry a crew of three: a pilot, an emergency physician, and a paramedic who is also trained to assist the pilot for radio communication, navigation, terrain/object avoidance, and winch operations. In some situations, such as evacuating cable cars or retrieving injured climbers from a rock face, the crew also consists of a specialist trained by the Swiss Alpine Club.
The name Rega was created by combining letters from the name "Swiss Air Rescue Guard" as it was written in German (Schweizerische Rettungsflugwacht), French (Garde Aérienne Suisse de Sauvetage), and Italian (Guardia Aerea Svizzera di Soccorso). The decision to change the name was made in 1979, to create a uniform and more concise name for speakers of the three languages.
- The 3 Challenger CL 604 will be replaced in 2018 with 3 Challenger 650. Two CL604 will be sold to the Swiss Air Force.
- From 2021 on 3 new AW169-FIPS should be in use for REGA.
- Six Airbus Helicopters H145 should replace the EC145 fleet. The first H145 should arrive in spring 2018.
Bases and their locations
- Rega Center (operations headquarters) at Zurich Airport LSZH
- Dübendorf LSMD AFB (Rega 1), Dübendorf Air Base
- Basel LFSB (Rega 2), EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, France
- Bern LSZB (Rega 3), Bern-Belp Airport
- Lausanne LSGL (Rega 4)
- Untervaz LSXU (Rega 5)
- Locarno LSMO AFB (Rega 6) at Locarno Airport LSZL
- St. Gallen (Rega 7)
- Erstfeld LSXE (Rega 8)
- Samedan LSZS (Rega 9)
- Wilderswil/Interlaken LSXI (Rega 10)
- Mollis LSMF (Rega 12)
- Zweisimmen (Rega 14)
- Geneva LSGG (Rega 15), Geneva Airport. This base uses a EC-135 belonging to the University Hospital of Geneva, but is operated on behalf of Rega.
Rega work closely with several organizations and emergency services including the police, fire and ambulance services. It assists in rescue efforts related to road accidents with the Touring Club Suisse TCS. For alpine search, rescue and recovery operations, Rega works closely with rescue branch of the Swiss Alpine Club. For larger operations, Rega may request additional helicopters from the FOCA or the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB, German acronym SUST) (formerly Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).
Rega is a partner of the Swiss Air Force, which supports Rega with helicopters and personnel when necessary. For search-and-rescue flights in difficult conditions, the Air Force has a FLIR-equipped helicopter (usually Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma or Cougar) on call. The Air Force continually monitors the airspace and directs emergency signals immediately to Rega. Aircraft equipment of the Swiss Air Force is used to gain a rapid and precise location of an emergency signal that is transmitted to the Rega helicopter early in an emergency mission. Rega also has access to the Air Force radio system for comprehensive radio coverage, which has a larger coverage area than civil aviation radio.
- Rega Missions
- Landespolizei Liechtenstein > Notrufnummern
- "anfahrtsplan_rega_center_en.pdf" (Archive) Rega. Retrieved on March 16, 2014. "Address for route guidance systems: Bimenzältenstrasse 87 / 8302 Kloten" - See in: German, French, Italian
- "Rega Centre." (Archive) Rega. Retrieved on March 16, 2014.
- "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Rega in general".
- Rega Fleet
- 1414 Das Magazin der Rega, Nr 87, 11.2016 Page 7 and 17
- Tages-Anzeiger: Rega kauft Jets für 130 Millionen Franken, abgerufen am 17. Juni 2015
- Meilenstein: Rega beschafft drei allwettertaugliche Rettungshelikopter vom Typ AW169-FIPS Rega-Medienmitteilung vom 1. Dezember 2015
- Flugrevue 02/2017 Seite 8
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