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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Helicopter: Operations in Switzerland

Area of operation

  • Why doesn't Rega operate in canton Valais?
    Rega performs air-rescue operations throughout all of Switzerland except for the canton of Valais. The reason for this lies in the history of Swiss air rescue. Already in the early days, when air-rescue pioneer, Herman Geiger, frequently carried out missions on behalf of Rega, his home canton of Valais started to organise its own air-rescue operations.

    Emergency rescue in Valais comes under the auspices of a privately organised cantonal rescue organisation. It operates the Valais ambulance service 144 and is responsible for all rescue missions, both on the ground and in the air.

    Any requests for assistance from within the canton of Valais that are received via the Rega emergency number 1414 are redirected to the competent authority in Valais, which then decides what form the emergency assistance should take (helicopter, Swiss Alpine Club rescue team, ambulance, etc.). To this day, air-rescue in Valais is still primarily carried out by the two helicopter firms, Air-Glaciers and Air Zermatt.

    Rega patronage also covers missions flown by the rescue organisations in Valais. The conditions of patronage are the same as for the rest of the country.



Flying on board a Rega helicopter

  • Does Rega also offer round trips in a rescue helicopter? Can I go along on a flight in a Rega helicopter?
    While Rega is delighted at the great interest in its helicopters, we are not able to take people along for a ride. Such flights require considerable organisation and would trigger a great many additional requests. The extremely complex operations are largely financed by means of patronage contributions and voluntary donations. For this reason, we are obliged to use all our resources in a responsible and targeted manner.



Technical data



  • Do Rega pilots also suffer from incidents of being blinded by laser pointers?
    Helicopter pilots being blinded by lasers is indeed a major problem for Rega; several incidents are recorded every year. Even a standard laser pointer is sufficient to temporarily blind a pilot flying at a medium altitude. Such actions endanger flight safety, are dangerous, and in extreme cases can cause the pilot to lose control of his aircraft and crash. Rega pilots are obliged to report such incidents to the police. The perpetrators are acting illegally and face serious legal consequences. Such behaviour is far from simply an amusing prank. Rega also reports cases of blinding by laser to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA).


Further information

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