Rega performs its first helicopter GPS approach flight in Switzerland
Rega is now able to fly direct to the Inselspital University Hospital in Berne despite poor visibility, thanks to satellite navigation. The Federal Office of Civil Aviation has recently approved Switzerland's first civilian GPS approach flight procedure for helicopters.
With the support of "CHIPS", a programme aimed towards developing and coordinating projects in this field, Rega has been working for many years towards the certification of GPS approach systems that address this problem. In the course of numerous tests and studies, it was shown that the present-day technology allows approach flights to be safely carried out using satellite-based navigation.
Thus Swiss Air-Rescue has opened a new chapter in the history of helicopter rescue in Switzerland. Rega's Senior Pilot, Heinz Leibundgut, explains: "In future, it will be possible to transport patients using a combination of visual and instrument flight rules. This means that we will be able to provide a better service to casualties who need to be transported swiftly to a regional hospital from higher-lying locations in poor weather or heavy fog conditions."
Over the next few years, Rega will train its pilots to use the instrument flight procedure so that it can be employed throughout the country. Its mountain helicopter fleet will also be installed with the appropriate equipment.