Twice a year, Rega’s 27 jet pilots are required to complete their legally prescribed training in the aircraft simulator. The training comprises various flight manoeuvres and emergency procedures to ensure that the cockpit crews are as well prepared as possible for their missions.
Lower costs and greater flexibility
Until now, the Rega crews have had to complete their training in Montreal, Canada. This is where the nearest simulator for the Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft type is located, which is used by Rega to fly patients from all over the world back home to Switzerland. By investing in its own Challenger 650 simulator, as from September 2023 this training can be carried out in the immediate vicinity of Zurich Airport in a hangar at Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT) in Opfikon. This not only eliminates the recurrent flight and accommodation costs of the transatlantic trips, but also means that the cockpit crews are more quickly available for repatriation missions after a training session.
The only one of its kind in Europe
The new simulator is a product of Austrian manufacturer AXIS Flight Training Systems GmbH and the only one for the Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft type in Europe. It is a so-called full-flight simulator of the highest certification category. It enables crews to practise true-to-life scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. Lufthansa Aviation Training will operate the simulator on behalf of Rega at its location in Opfikon and also offer free capacities to third parties. Rega is investing around CHF 13 million in this project.
Rega’s ambulance jet fleet
Rega operates three Bombardier Challenger 650 ambulance jets, which have been converted into “flying intensive care units” in line with its own specifications. Each year, the jet crews repatriate around 1,000 patients who have become seriously ill or injured abroad on board these aircraft. Between them, the three Rega jets spend some 4,800 hours in the air per year. Rega is the worldwide fleet leader for this type of aircraft. This means that in terms of annual flight hours, no other operator of the Bombardier Challenger 650 deploys its aircraft as frequently as Rega.