18.01.2022 |
DRF Luftrettung

Annual Mission Statistics 2021 of DRF Luftrettung

Ein Hubschrauber des Typs H145 mit Fünfblattrotor im Landeanflug (Quelle: DRF Luftrettung)
With 38,076 missions performed, DRF Luftrettung has seen a 4 per cent increase in missions year on year. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)

Demand for air rescue continues even during the Covid-19 pandemic: 38,076 missions

Rapid air rescue is needed more than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mission figures for last year, published by DRF Luftrettung, are proof of this. In total, the helicopters and aeroplanes in the red-and-white fleet received 38,076 alerts, representing a 4 per cent increase in missions compared to the previous year (36,586 missions). The DRF Luftrettung Group also performed more missions last year, with 41,302 in 2021 versus 39,971 in 2020. The red-and-white air rescuers also believe their job is to keep developing and enhancing air rescue. This work can be seen, among others, in the provision of two additional helicopters for catastrophes, the modernisation of the H145 fleet with five-bladed rotors, and the start of professional helicopter pilot training at DRF Luftrettung academy. 

‘We have just finished another year of the coronavirus pandemic, a year in which we had to face constant new challenges as an organisation and as individuals,’ says Dr Krystian Pracz, CEO of DRF Luftrettung, summing up the last twelve months. ‘I am very proud that our many years of experience and our expertise, and most of all our committed staff, allowed us to still always be there for people, even when the conditions were difficult. In these times of pandemic, air rescue has again shown noticeably that it has a special role in providing comprehensive medical care,’ Dr Krystian Pracz continues. By performing a total of 881 intensive-care transport missions for Covid-19 patients last year, DRF Luftrettung had a crucial role in relieving the pressure on hospitals that had reached their capacity. 

The DRF Luftrettung helicopters received a total of 37,834 alerts for emergency rescue missions and intensive-care transport. The crews on the two ambulance aircraft performed 242 repatriations. The Learjet pilots flew aircraft to 69 countries, covering a total distance of 828,570 kilometres. The reasons behind the alerts were largely comparable to previous years, with crews most frequently being called to patients with cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks or strokes or to accidents and falls. The three bases equipped with rescue hoists used them 118 times in order to provide rapid emergency care for patients in hard-to-reach locations and fly them out of there. 

Bar chart: Total deployment figures in 2021 by HEMS bases
Total deployment figures in 2021 by HEMS bases. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)
Ein Techniker der DRF Luftrettung arbeitet am Rotorkopf einer H145 mit Fünfblattrotor. Quelle: DRF Luftrettung
DRF Luftrettung put the country’s first five-bladed H145 in air rescue service in 2021. There are now seven bases in total that are deploying the helicopter type. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)
An einem Hubschrauber werden Arzt und Patient per Seilwinde hoch gewincht.
There is regular training at relevant bases throughout the year for rescue hoist missions. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)

Helicopters for catastrophes, pilot training, and five-bladed rotors

Despite the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, DRF Luftrettung is determined about its goal of driving the development of air rescue. Its purpose in this is to keep improving patient care. ‘For example, we have been providing two additional helicopters to relevant authorities since 1 October for deployment in catastrophes across the country. Moreover, the start of professional helicopter pilot training at our academy and the recently commenced modernisation of our H145 fleet, which is being upgraded from four-bladed to five-bladed rotors, are two pioneering projects that we will be continuing in 2022,’ says Dr Krystian Pracz.

Eine Notärztin füllt Patientendaten während eines Nachtflugs aus. Quelle: DRF Luftrettung
The crews of the 24-hour bases were also frequently needed at night. Some 20 per cent of the air rescuers’ missions in 2021 took place during night-time hours. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)
Ein Ambulanzflug der DRF Luftrettung steht vor dem Hangar.
The crews on the two ambulance aircraft performed 242 repatriations. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)
Total deployment figures in 2021 by HEMS bases. (Source: DRF Luftrettung)

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