6/3/2005 - Swiss Air-Rescue (Rega) has adopted "FLARM" (Flight Alarm), a small-size aircraft anti-collision device containing GPS technology developed by u-blox AG.
Rega is the largest air rescue organization in Switzerland and a corporate member of the Swiss Red Cross. It deploys over ten helicopters from many bases within Switzerland to transport medical assistance to the scene of an accident. The helicopter bases are distributed in such a way that in good flying conditions the helicopters can reach any point in the country within 15 minutes. Rega also operates three air-ambulances out of Zurich International Airport, which are used to repatriate those who have been taken seriously ill or injured abroad.
"With this system, significant gains in safety can be achieved at a relatively low cost, something rare in the aviation industry", announced Rega pilot and FLARM implementation project manager, Peter Hässig.
FLARM is an aircraft anti-collision system that was initially developed to reduce glider aircraft mid-air collisions, approximately half of which result in lethal accidents. The system couples a u-blox GPS receiver and a radio transceiver that can broadcast the position of any aircraft to other pilots who employ the system. It then uses acoustic and optical alerts to warn pilots of any possible conflicts, or of fixed obstacles like cables or antennae. This can significantly reduce the risk of mid-air accidents.
"u-blox's powerful GPS modules are small, lightweight and have very low power consumption, making them ideal for use in light aircraft. We are delighted to have found such a high-performing, reliable and competitively-priced GPS module for our product", said Urs Rothacher of FLARM.
FLARM was introduced in early 2004 and within a year and a half, 90% of the Swiss and Austrian glider aircraft have been equipped with FLARM. In spring 2005 there were already more than 2,500 FLARM devices in use including Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand and South Africa.
The device has provided the light aviation industry with a compact, efficient cost and low-power early warning system that aids pilots in avoiding possible mid-air collisions. This is made possible by u-blox's ANTARIS® GPS technology, which is simple to implement and offers space efficiency, low power consumption and immunity to interference from radio signals. Apart from high acquisition and tracking sensitivity, ANTARIS provides excellent navigation accuracy and outstanding dynamic performance in challenging locations anywhere in the world.
"u-blox is very honored that such a reputable rescue organization as Rega relies on u-blox GPS technology", said Karsten Tietz, Vice President of Sales Europe.
u-blox is an international company headquartered in Switzerland, with sales organizations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1997, u-blox develops leading positioning products based on the Global Position-ing System (GPS) for the automotive and mobile communications markets. For more information, please visit www.u-blox.com.
Swiss Air Rescue Organization Rega: www.rega.ch
FLARM Technology: www.flarm.ch
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