DRF Luftrettung has recorded an increase in missions over the past year; its helicopters received a total of 30,787 alerts for emergency rescue missions and 8,219 alerts for intensive care transport. The crews on its two Learjet ambulance aircraft performed 302 repatriations. Together this represents an increase of three per cent compared to an overall 38,076 missions in 2021.
DRF's Learjet pilots flew to 44 countries, covering a total distance of 1,007,629 kilometres. The two Learjets were alerted on average 108 times a day. Its helicopters are based at 29 HEMS bases throughout Germany, four of which are equipped with rescue hoists that were used 135 times to provide rapid emergency care for patients in hard to reach locations and to fly them out. Once again the importance of night time air rescue is highlighted as DRF Luftrettung's eleven 24-hour HEMS bases performed nearly one quarter of their missions during the night.
Looking back on the past 12 months, DRF executive board chairman Dr Krystian Pracz says: “Even very challenging conditions have not prevented us from living up to our aspiration of providing the best, comprehensive and uninterrupted emergency assistance from the air. We were there for people, developed further and drove key projects forward. My heartfelt thanks go to all the staff who made this possible through their professionalism and dedication.”
A special moment last year was the arrival of the first trainee pilots, who began their commercial helicopter pilot training at the DRF Luftrettung Academy in September. Six men and one woman were welcomed by the trainers at DRF's operation centre at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, introducing them to the new R44 training helicopter.
In addition, the air rescue teams continued to push ahead with the renewal of the fleet: the last EC145 helicopter was replaced by an H145. Progress is also being made on retrofitting a five-bladed rotor system to the rest of the H145 fleet; a total of 10 aircraft are now flying with the new system. Other milestones include the introduction of NIDA software for the digital collection and transmission of mission data, as well as the launch of the DRF Luftrettung app where hospitals, emergency dispatching centres and ground-based emergency services can find checklists, tips and further information.