The helicopter celebrates 35 years of service today, after making its maiden flight from Berlin on 13 October 1987. The occasion will be marked by a social media campaign by ADAC rather than an official ceremony due to rising Covid-19 cases in Germany, requiring the Gelben Engel helicopters to be available.
There will also be a virtual open day hosted on the ADAC Luftrettung website on 29 October, allowing visitors to gain an insight into the work of the Gelben Engels through three videos.
The ADAC rescue helicopter has provided emergency medical care to thousands of people in the more than 3,000 missions they undertake every year. Managing Director Frédéric Bruder explained why these missions present a particular challenge to the crew: “Take offs and landings in the middle of urban canyons and busy streets are among the most difficult of all.”
The crew of Christoph 31 consists of pilots and emergency paramedics (TC HEMS) from ADAC Luftrettung, while the emergency physicians come from the Charité at Campus Benjamin Franklin in Steglitz.
From Cold War to Covid-19
Christoph 31’s first mission took place before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. At that time, only Allied aircraft were allowed to fly in West Berlin due to the four-power status of the region, and not in the airspace of the German Democratic Republic in the East. The helicopter was also only allowed to be flown by Americans under the US flag until the Wall fell. In 2002, Christoph 31 was stationed at the Charité-Klinikum Benjamin Franklin in Berlin-Steglitz and has been operating from there ever since.
"With the commissioning of the first civilian rescue helicopter for Berlin, ADAC Luftrettung demonstrated a pioneering spirit 35 years ago," emphasized Bruder on the anniversary day.