Float for life: ADAC air rescue by helicopter

Not only stirs up dust: Landings are often a difficult matter. The pilots need a lot of experience.
Image: ADAC Luftrettung / Ann-Iren Ossenbrink

In November 1970 the ADAC used its first helicopter for air rescue in Munich. 50 years later, the fleet comprises 50 helicopters – and provides an important part of the rescue service system in Germany.

Welch a development: In November 1970 a helicopter of the type BO 105 with the nickname Christoph 1 took off from the ADAC’s first air rescue station near the hospital in Munich-Harlaching. Before that, experiments had been carried out for almost two years to find out how best to carry out such rescue flights with an emergency doctor. Half a century later, the dimensions have grown enormously: The non-profit ADAC Luftrettung gGmbH, a subsidiary of the ADAC Foundation since 2017, now operates 37 air rescue stations in Germany. There are a total of around 80 air rescue locations in this country.

Every year since 1970, ADAC Luftrettung, which takes over an important part of the public rescue service system in Germany, has added another helicopter. Because today there are 50 helicopters in the fleet. This makes the Munich-based company one of the largest operators of this type in Europe. However, the number of ADAC helicopters is significantly higher than the number of the 37 air rescue stations it operates. This is because all technically complex rotary wing aircraft have to be serviced at regular intervals. Individual components such as rotor blades, gears or the two turbines must also be checked, serviced or overhauled at precisely defined hourly intervals. In order to avoid failure at one location, there are almost a third more helicopters than ADAC air rescue stations.


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