Large-scale operations as a challenge and gain in experience
Two awards are made to Rega helicopter pilots by Helicopter Association International (HAI): Toni Lötscher (Bernese Oberland) is presented with the Trimble Award, while Enzo Carlino (Ticino) receives an award in recognition of his 10,000 accident-free flying hours.
1 June: Dr. Hannes Goetz is appointed Chairman of the Foundation Board.
14 December: Kurt Bolliger resigns from Rega’s Foundation Board after 16 years of service – eight as Vice-Chairman and almost two as Chairman.
17 June: The Foundation Board decides to purchase three new Challenger CL-604 ambulance-jets to replace the current aircraft as from 2002.
24 June: The Foundation Board decides to purchase five EC 145 helicopters to replace the four Agusta A 109 K2 machines at the lowland bases in Zurich, Berne, Basel and Lausanne.
1 January: Rega takes over as control centre of SAR (Search and Rescue) from the Federal Office for Civil Aviation.
13 February: The Swiss Post Office issues Switzerland’s first hologram stamp, designed by graphic artist, Raphaël Schenker, to mark Rega’s 50th anniversary.
31 March: The Chairman of the Foundation Board, Hannes Goetz, resigns. On 1 April, Foundation Board member, Albert Keller, is appointed in his place.
27 April: Rega celebrates its 50th anniversary at the Rega Center at Zurich Airport with a special ceremony attended by Federal Councillor, Ruth Dreifuss. In the course of the year, Open Days are held at all the Rega bases, which are attended by a total of 72,000 visitors.
From 17–20 September, as part of its anniversary celebrations, Rega hosts the international congress, Airmed 2002, in Interlaken.
18 October: Rega’s new Basel base at the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is officially inaugurated.
15 November: Two of the three new Challenger CL 604 ambulance-jets arrive in Zurich-Kloten.
12 March: The first of the five new EC 145 rescue helicopters is stationed at the Basel base.
10 May: After 31 years of being «provisionally» stationed on the roof of the Zurich Children’s Hospital, Rega’s Zurich base moves into its new quarters at Dübendorf Airport.
26 December: The tsunami in South-East Asia presents Rega with one of the greatest challenges in its history. Rega teams fly to Thailand and Sri Lanka in order to establish contact with the hospitals and to prepare patients to be transported back to Switzerland. All three Rega air-ambulances are in operation. Rega’s Operations Centre also arranges for patients to be repatriated on board charter, military and scheduled aircraft. Within the space of a week, more than 60 patients are flown back to Switzerland, attended to by 16 medical teams.
8 May: The major repatriation operation mounted in response to the tsunami disaster brings with it invaluable experiences; an emergency concept developed as result of this catastrophe has the chance to prove itself shortly afterwards. After a coach accident in Turkey, a Boeing 757-200 operated by the charter airline, Belair, is transformed overnight into a «flying hospital». Just two days after the accident, 35 patients are flown back to Switzerland under the medical supervision of five doctors and four flight nurses.
22 August: After Switzerland suffers severe storms, Rega crews are among the first rescuers in the affected areas. By the time the Swiss Army and commercial enterprises start implementing their evacuation operations, Rega, in collaboration with the local rescue organisations, has succeeded in transporting more than 200 persons from the flooded and cut-off areas.
In the second half of 2005, the Swiss Alpine Rescue (SAR) Foundation is set up by the two partners, the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and Rega. From now on, the SAR is responsible for overland rescues of people requiring emergency assistance in the Swiss Alps, with the SAC and Rega working very closely together.
12 May: The Rega helicopter base in St. Gallen celebrates its 25th anniversary.
19 October: The intensive yet successful evaluation phase for Rega’s new mountain helicopter comes to a close with the signing of a contract to purchase 11 AgustaWestland Da Vinci helicopters. They are to be put into operation at Rega’s mountain bases.
19 November: Rega celebrates its 250,000th mission: the crew from the Rega base in Erstfeld flies a premature baby from Engelberg (canton Obwalden) to the Children’s Hospital in Lucerne.
The number of Rega patrons reaches a new record level: with two million patronages, Rega achieves yet another a milestone in its 55-year history.
Rega is held in high esteem by the Swiss population: a study carried out by the market research institute, IHA-GfK, in summer 2007 reveals that Rega is the most popular Swiss brand. Rega has the best corporate image from among 100 Swiss companies.
For reasons of space and safety, Rega’s Bernese Oberland crew move from Gsteigwiler into their new base located on the site of the firm, Ruag, in Wilderswil.
3 September: Rega is presented with the Swiss Logistics Public Award 2008. This prize is given by the GS1, the competence centre for standards, logistics, and supply and demand management, in recognition of Rega’s outstanding achievements in the fields of logistics and organisation.
2 December: An out-of-the-ordinary mission for the Rega crew at the Berne helicopter base: By the River Aare, a forestry worker falls and injures his back. After a Rega physician is lowered to the patient, together they are flown to the Inselspital in Berne, still suspended at the end of the rescue line. For the three-minute flight to the hospital, this method was more practical than the usual procedure of making an interim landing to load the patient into the helicopter.
4 February: For the first time, Rega transports a seriously ill patient attached to a so-called «life box», a heart-lung machine, in a rescue helicopter.
11 June: After the new rescue helicopter, the AgustaWestland Da Vinci, is presented to the public at the manufacturing plant in Vergiate, Italy in March 2009, the first of a total of 11 new helicopters, the HB-ZRZ, is delivered to the Rega Center. The hand-over of the new helicopters to each of the helicopter bases takes place in a special ceremony, with Open Days organised for the general public.
27 October: For the first time, a «life box» is used on board an air-ambulance: during the night of 26 October, Rega, supported by a team of heart surgeons from the Heart and Neurological Centre in Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance, transfers a seriously-ill patient from Croatia to Cologne (Germany).
29 October: The first patient flight and at the same time the first rescue hoist operation with the Da Vinci rescue helicopter: using the horizontal net, the crew from the St. Gallen helicopter base rescue an injured person from steep terrain between Schwägalp and the Säntis mountain.
6 November: After days spent renovating and moving premises, the day has finally arrived: the crew from the Lausanne helicopter base take off in the EC 145 HB-ZRB on their first mission from their new building. The «temporary» arrangement that had lasted for 30 years had at last come to an end.
6 December: Rega’s partner base in Zweisimmen is transformed into a fully-fledged Rega helicopter base. Already on the previous day, the Agusta A 109 K2, with the registration HB-XWB, had carried out a mission as «Rega 14».