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Swiss Air-Rescue Rega, to home page

Sylvan Reichlin, 43, helicopter mechanic

He knows every nut and bolt on the helicopters, trains young people to qualify as aircraft mechanics and performs check flights together with the Rega works pilot. Sylvan Reichlin has found his dream job.

Sylvan Reichlin is a licensed helicopter aircraft mechanic and is responsible for training up-and-coming mechanics at Rega. He has been working here for 17 years and is familiar with all the aspects of the demanding training to become a helicopter aircraft mechanic. Before joining Rega, these specialists have already completed a four-year apprenticeship, for example as a poly- or machinery mechanic. This is followed by three years of specialist training as a helicopter mechanic, which can be completed at Rega. The so-called “type rating” takes another year. This procedure qualifies the mechanics to work on a specific helicopter type, such as the Airbus Helicopters H145 that is operated by Rega. Besides his daily work on the helicopters, Sylvan Reichlin also looks after the trainees and is the first point of contact for questions or problems. “For the first two months, the trainees work closely with me. After that, they are involved in the day-to-day work and this way also learn from the other 20 mechanics at the maintenance facility,” explains the 43-year-old. Sylvan Reichlin loves his job. “I like doing a variety of activities and working with my hands. My job entails both”, he says. 

On some days, Sylvan Reichlin assumes the function of a “normal” helicopter mechanic, on others that of a supervisor. In the latter role, he is responsible for the entire maintenance process when a helicopter comes to the Rega Centre for servicing. “In this capacity, I, for example, check the worksheets and the material needed for the maintenance of the helicopter. In addition, I assign the various tasks for the day or the week to my colleagues.” Two other special tasks make Sylvan Reichlin’s daily work particularly interesting: first, he is a balancing specialist and therefore has the competence to balance the helicopter, and second, he is qualified to check the rescue hoist with a weight attached. Once the maintenance work has been completed, he accompanies the Rega works pilot on the technical check flight. “During this flight, we check and adjust all the systems, including the rescue hoist. For this test, I take on the role of hoist operator and during the flight I stand on the skids of the rescue helicopter, firmly secured at the open door – a fantastic experience.”


Early morning start: Sylvan Reichlin completes the final work on the tail rotor of the AgustaWestland Da Vinci.



Sylvan Reichlin is a balancing specialist: he evaluates the computer analysis to determine how many grams he has to add to the blade bolts in order to reduce the vibration levels in the helicopter to a minimum.



Passing on knowledge is part of his daily work: Sylvan Reichlin explains the hydraulics and function of the Da Vinci’s retractable landing gear to trainee Luca Kopp.



The cockpit window needs to be replaced due to hairline cracks. When the sunlight hits these fine cracks, it reduces the pilot’s vision.



Sylvan Reichlin and Luca Kopp use a laptop to evaluate various data – such as engine data or rotor speed.



A check flight is performed to make sure that after undergoing maintenance, the Rega rescue helicopter is operating smoothly again. 



As a handball goalie, Sylvan Reichlin fends off many a ball. 


Training as an aircraft mechanic

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