Fuchs Helikopter based in Schindellegi (Canton Schwyz) was founded in 1974 by Robert Fuchs (1928-2006).
From 1952 Mr. Fuchs commenced to develop, manufacture and commercialise various products for electric power distribution systems such as for example electrical pull boxes made of precast concrete.
In 1958 he founded the private company Robert Fuchs-Bamert (the second name was that of his wife Maria, deceased in 2005).
Sales of his products became a success and over the years his company expanded to a work force of up to fifty employees.
Robert Fuchs was also an aviation fan. In 1966 he started flying aeroplanes, and the following year he obtained the private pilot license.
Then one day in the early '70s he became acquainted with the Hughes 500 which made its appearance in Switzerland in those years.
Very attracted by the compact aircraft design and its performances, he decided to obtain the helicopter pilot license.
For these reason he attended the flying school of the Heliswiss and at the same time he purchased a Hughes 369HE (HB-XDO).
On the 16th of November 1971 the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) issued him helicopter pilot license n° 124. Few weeks later he did a transition course on the Hughes HB-XDO.
This helicopter (and then from 1973 the Hughes 369HS HB-XEE which was its successor) was usually based in Schindellegi at his factory.
For his private flights the entrepreneur obtained from FOCA a temporary authorization to take off and land outside an airport.
The Schindellegi heliport
As helicopter flights became more numerous, and general interest in helicopter operations increased, Mr. Fuchs on 8th May 1974 submitted a new request for permission to build and manage a small heliport in Schindellegi with some helipads and limited facilities such as fuel and hangars.
His submission was approved and on 25th November 1975 FOCA issued to the newly founded Fuchs Helikopter the relevant authorization. A few days later, on the 1st of December, the company also obtained the permission for helicopter pilot training. To avoid the unpleasant noise emissions caused by helicopter traffic, initially the school bas based at the idyllic aerodrome of Wangen-Lachen, situated not far from Schindellegi.
On the 6th of February 1976 the company was granted approval to conduct commercial transportation and almost simultaneously also received the license to execute maintenance on the Hughes 269 and 369 series.
In addition to the aerial activity Mr. Fuchs started to act as a general representative for Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria for the Hughes 269/369 (and more recently also other models such as the Sikorsky - ex Schweizer - S-333, MD520, 600 and 900 series.
The first helicopters in service were Hughes 369HS (500C) HB-XEE and Hughes 269C HB-XFL.
The first pilot-instructor as well as mechanic of the newly founded company was Werner Stokmaier (1943-1988) who married Elisabeth, daughter of the founder. His father passed on his love for aviation: in 1975 Elizabeth became in fact one of the first females in Switzerland to obtain an helicopter pilot license.
Then as aerial activities increased, the company employed additional pilots and mechanics.
The arrival of the Notar
During the ’70s and ‘80s Fuchs Helikopter used exclusively aircraft of the 269C, 500D and 500E series. Some were then sold abroad, especially in Italy.
Since the beginning the company always paid attention to the problem of noise emissions caused by helicopter traffic.
In 1995 it purchased the larger MD900 Explorer HB-XJF, its first twin-engine helicopter. Currently Fuchs' owned Explorer (HB-ZKE) is operating on loan to an Austrian operator for SAR operations.
The company's fleet presently includes the following models: 3 S-269C, 2 S-333, 1 MD500E, 1 MD520N, 1 MD600N and 1 MD900 Explorer.
The lightest models such as the S-269 and the S-333 are mostly used for pilot training, rented to private pilots or used for photographic flights.
The others are mainly used for passenger, VIP and scenic flights as well as aerial photography (which is a distinct specialty of this company) and to patrol power lines.
The post of chief-pilot is currently held by Sandro Brugnoli who possesses a considerable flight experience on all mentioned models.
In the large hangar-workshop, wich was enlarged during the course of the '90s, the mechanics service not only the company's fleet but also privatly owned aircraft.
Fuchs Helikopter is also the representative of the products manufatured by the SEI Industries (bamby buckets) and Tech-Tool Plastics Inc. of Fort Worth who design and manufacture cabin comfort windows for Bell, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters and Robinson model helicopters.
The quality of the services offered is testified by the large number of customers in Switzerland and abroad.
As previously said commencing from 1983 Fuchs Helikopter progressively began specialising in aerial filming and more recently also in aerial power line patrol.
Perhaps less widely known is the fact that Fuchs helicopters serve as camera platforms (suitably equipped with high definition Cineflex cameras) at most of the famous Swiss sports events such as the Lauberhorn ski race, the Tour de Suisse (cycling race) as well as for documentary such as Swissview (helicopter flights over Switzerland).
In the course of the years Robert Fuchs has passed the management of the company into the capable hands of the already mentioned daughter Elisabeth.
Link to the official website of the company: http://www.fuchshelikopter.ch/index_de.cfm