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Swiss Air-Rescue Rega orders nine five-bladed H145s
Rega is modernising and expanding its fleet. Nine incoming five-bladed H145s have increased payload, a modern rescue hoist and ultra-precise satellite navigation that allows crews to fly even in foggy conditions.
The new H145 with a five-blade rotor will replace Rega's existing lowland fleet in 2024/25.

Not-for-profit aeromedical service provider Swiss Air-Rescue Service Rega has ordered nine five-bladed Airbus H145s to replace its current four-bladed lowland fleet. The aircraft, due for delivery from 2024, will come equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system that will enhance the mission capabilities and the safety of operations.

“The H145 has fully proven itself in our operations since entering into service in 2018,” says Rega CEO Ernst Kohler. “We look forward to operating the five-bladed version from our HEMS bases in Switzerland. The helicopters will allow us to further boost our mission capabilities and safety of our operations.”

The integrated navigation system will use the new capabilities of the flight management system GTN750 Xi by Garmin. It will integrate and control a multi-sensor system that provides highly accurate and reliable navigation capacities. Even in the event of GPS signal loss, the helicopter will navigate safely thanks to Thales' inertial navigation system. This solution will further boost the navigation performance in low IFR conditions and allows the helicopter to be certified as navigation procedure RNP-AR 0.1, which is the most accurate navigation procedure in the helicopter environment. The configuration also includes a new hoist by Vincorion that is being certified on the five-bladed H145.

“We are very grateful to open another chapter in the relationship between our two organisations with this order for our five-bladed H145,” says Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even. “We are always looking at ways to evolve our helicopters by taking into account the feedback of those who operate them each and every day.”

Rega operates 13 HEMS stations in Switzerland. In 2021, its helicopter crews carried out 14,330 missions, including transporting 471 COVID patients. Rega's current fleet includes seven H145s and one H125 used for pilot training.

Originally, Rega planned to retrofit these H145s with the newly available five-blade rotor. Among other things, however, this conversion would have led to an increase in the helicopter’s payload. The introduction of the upgrade was also delayed, and it was discovered that the retrofit would have taken longer than originally stated, leading to longer downtimes among Rega’s helicopter fleet over a longer period of time. As its decisions centre on maintaining its operational readiness for the welfare of its patients, Rega, together with Airbus, eventually decided to replace the lowland fleet instead.

By at the same time expanding its lowland fleet to a total of nine helicopters in the five-blade version of the Airbus H145, Rega aims to ensure its countrywide 24-hour standby service in the long term. Rega is investing a total of CHF 104 million in the modernisation and expansion of its lowland fleet. This amount also includes the costs of medical equipment, training and spare parts. Rega’s current seven H145 helicopters will be sold.

The five-bladed version of the H145 light twin-engine helicopter increases the useful load by 150 kg. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design also eases maintenance operations, further improving benchmark serviceability and reliability while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. The new H145 introduces onboard connectivity to customers and operators through the integration of the next step of the wireless Airborne Communication System (wACS), allowing seamless and secure transmission of data generated by the helicopter.

In total, there are more than 1,500 H145 family helicopters in service, logging a total of more than six million flight hours. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance four-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.

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