Rega – Swiss Air-Rescue

Locarno base – in sunny Ticino

The varied and complex operational area of Rega’s helicopter base in Locarno extends from the palm trees and lush vegetation of the Brissago Islands to the summit of the Adula Alps at 3,402 metres above sea level.

The history of the Locarno base

The Rega base in Italian-speaking Switzerland lies in the middle of the Magadino plain, in the heart of Canton Ticino. It was founded in 1980 and covers a highly challenging operational area. Originally the base comprised a rented hangar, an Alouette III helicopter and two pilots. In 1982, the crew moved into a building of its own, with a separate hangar and a conference and training room. In 1995, the base took delivery of an Agusta A 109 K2 twin-engine rescue helicopter. Since 2010, the AgustaWestland Da Vinci mountain helicopter has been in operation here. Nowadays, the crew from the Ticino base fly over 500 missions per year.

New base

Almost two years after construction work commenced, the new Rega helicopter base in Ticino was officially opened on 11 April 2013. The new building stands on the site of the previous base. It fulfils the most modern of standards and thanks to special constructional measures is also protected from flooding.

Intimate knowledge of the area

The greater part of Italian-speaking Switzerland extends over rough terrain, which poses difficulties not just for normal flight operations, but also for air-rescue missions. As a result, extensive knowledge of the numerous valleys, gorges, rock faces, alps and expanses of water is of vital importance.

Mainly missions in the mountains

The majority of missions conducted by Rega’s Ticino base involve ski accidents, as well as rescue hoist operations in the mountains and over lakes and rivers. The number of missions performed after road and occupational accidents is continually on the increase. The operational area of this helicopter base, located in the municipality of Gordola, also encompasses the Italian-speaking region of Val Mesolcina in Graubünden, which stretches from the San Bernadino Pass to the Calancatal valley. In addition, cross-border missions into neighbouring Italy are not uncommon.

Profile

AddressRega Locarno
Via Aeroporto 15
6596 Gordola
Radio code"Rega 6"
No. of missions in 2019744
Range of missions

While the winter is relatively quiet, in the summer months, the crew is extremely busy with hiking and swimming accidents.

Operating times

The crew is on standby 24 hours a day.

Building

The new base was officially inaugurated in April 2013. It meets the most modern of standards and thanks to constructional measures is also protected against flooding.

Special features

The base is often used by the flying school for training purposes. The office at the only helicopter base in Italian-speaking Switzerland also answers all kinds of questions from within Ticino, as well as the region just across the Italian border.

Access map