05/05/2011

Helicopters this (early) morning

In the hours between midnight and 6 am this morning, 5 May,  the medical aid helicopters were busy. Might the airport tell us more?


The people living around the airport might have heard several helicopter flights last night and this morning. The ARAG movement identification system identified the two helicopters involved, both of which were those used for medical emergencies, and thus not subject to the overnight airport closure.

The Geneva Hospital Eurocopter EC-135, registered as HB-ZEN, started the ball rolling by taking off at 1 am, though we do not know exactly from where it took off. It is easily recognisable in daytime because of its colour (bright yellow), and is allowed to take whatever route is best for its purpose. It eventually landed again (somewhere) at 5h41 am, so we can assume that it probably went quite a distance away.

Between those two flights there was the landing, at 2h15 am, of HB-ZRU, an Agusta A-109 helicopter belonging to Schweizerische Luft-Ambulanz AG and operated by the Swiss Air Rescue Service REGA. This landing, and take-off just 7 minutes later, was almost certainly at the airport.

During the night there was also another REGA helicopter in operation: HB-ZRT (also an Agusta A-109). However, it does not appear to have operated very near to Geneva.

I have clearly no idea why there was all this activity, which would certainly have been too late to be reported in today's newspapers. Perhaps tomorrow ther will be some information.

If I were in the public relations department of Geneva Airport I think that I would have made a virtue out of necessity and put out a press information detailing what had happened, sympathising with anyone who might have been awoken by the noise but emphasising the occasional need for such flights. However, given the normally secretive manner of the management there, I strongly doubt that we will see any such bulletin.

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