1971 - 1980

1971

The first Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama arrives in Switzerland. This powerful and reliable model will have a great commercial success. The first helicopter is registered HB-XDI and is delivered to Air Zermatt in April, followed a few months later by the HB-XDL.
Before the end of the year Air Glaciers and Eliticino also receive their new Lama (respectively HB-XDG and HB-XDN).

16 June - Greenland/Switzerland - The Bell 47J Ranger HB-XAU piloted by the Austrian pilot Peter Gschwend disappears while flying a routine mission. Despite the extensive search neither the pilot nor the helicopter are found. This is the tragic end of the first SAR helicopter belonging to the Swiss Air Rescue Guard and its pilot.

12 September - With the SA 315B Lama HB-XDL of Air Zermatt, the pilot Günther Amann rescues two German mountain climbers who are unable to continue their ascent on the Eiger’s north wall because of the bad weather. Untill a few years earlier, this mission was considered impossible for an helicopter. The pilot receives a few months later the american Robert E. Trimble award for this rescue mission. This prestigious award was established in 1961 to honour pilots who have distinguished themselves for their exceptional ability and good judgement in high altitude flying, who have provided outstanding service to others and contributed to high standards of safety, and last but not least who have given credit and recognition to the helicopter industry.


1972

Bohag (Berner Oberland Helikopter AG), another historical helicopter company, is founded in the Canton Berne.

Air Zermatt rescues 72 passengers from the Schilthorn’s cableway which is suspended at 240 meters high. The event is reported worldwide.

Heli-Linth of Mollis/GL starts its commercial helicopter activity using the Hughes 269C HB-XDU. The first two pilots of the newly founded helicopter company are Peter Rutschmann and Hans Coppetti.

10 April - Eisenhut Aviation re-gisters the Sikorsky S-55T HB-XDS which is exploited by various operators such as for example Heliswiss. On this helicopter the original piston engine is replaced with a lighter and more powerful turboshaft.

8 June - Heliswiss receives the new Sikorsky S-58T HB-XDT, which also has a turboprop conversion. It is the most powerful helicopter registered in Switzerland because of its ability to fly 16 passengers or lift on the external sling loads up to 2'000 kg. However in practice it is soon obvious that this helicopter is not suited for mountain transportations. Despite its limitations Heliswiss keeps it for more then a decade before selling it in USA.


1973

24 June - During the 2nd international aerial meeting held at Lugano-Agno airport several helicopters were present. The spectators watch with great interest the “aerial ballet” which involves the following helicopters: Bell 47G3B-1, Hughes 500C, Bell 206 Jet Ranger, SA 315B Lama, SE 316B Alouette III, Agusta-Bell 204B, Sikorsky S-58T.
The latter show its muscles lifting a minibus of the Muratti-Ambassador.


14 November - SARG purchases its first twin-turbine powered helicopter from the German company Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. It is the MBB BO-105C HB-XEI equipped with a couple of Allison 250 C-20 each producing a MCP of 287/385 kW/shp. The helicopter will be based in Zürich.

Flugschule Eichenberger based in Buttwil/AG put in service the first helicopters of the Enstrom F-28A series. This light three places model is mainly used for the school, photographic and passengers flights.


1974

May - SARG puts in service the HB-XEL, its first Alouette III of the series SA 319B. The helicopter is mainly based in Samedan/GR and is named “Piz Palü” by its crew.


1975

24-27 June - Bell Helicopter Company during the European tour presents its new Bell 214B Big Lifter in Switzerland. The prototype carries the registration N214X and baptized "Isfahan".
To demonstrate its outstanding performance, the helicopter piloted by captain Clem A. Bailey, Bell's assistant chief production test pilot, carries an underslung load of 1,550 kg from Lauterbrunnen to the Petersgrad glacier at 3,000 meters. There to impress the potential customers the helicopter execute a hovering out of ground effect with its cargo suspended. At the airport of Belp it carries without difficulties an underslung load of 2,400 kg.
The Bell 214B Big Lifter is powered by a Lycoming T5508D turboshaft that develops a max power 2'155/2'930 hp/kW derated to 1'507/2'050 kW/hp for the take-off.
The cost of the Bell 214B Big Lifter is 1,285,000 $.


1976

3 February - The HB-XFK is the first Bell 206L Long Ranger to be registered in Switzerland.

June - The newly founded helicopter company Air Grischa, initially based on the airport of Agno/TI, begins its activity with the SA 341G Gazelle HB-XFW. Its first pilot is Erwin Schafrath.


1978

31 January - The Swiss pilot Markus Burkhard of the Bohag helicopter company receives in San Diego/California the "Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award”.

21 June - Heliswiss begins to experimentally employ the powerful Bell 214B-1 D-HOOK belonging to the German helicopter company Rotorflug GmbH. The following year the company will buy this 15 seat helicopter which is then registered HB-XKH.


1979

April - Heli-Linth of Mollis/GL is the first Swiss helicopter company to put in service the new French helicopter Ecureuil (Squirrel or also AStar). The AS 350B HB-XGW powered with an Arriel 1B 478/641 kW/shp turbine is nicknamed "Fridolin" by its pilots. St. Fridolin was an Irish monk who converted the inhabitants of the region to Christianity and is featured in the Canton’s flag.


1980

27 March – The SA 316B Alouette III HB-XDF in service with the SARG did its last flight in direction of Lucerne. Since that date in fact the helicopter is on permanent display at the Swiss transportation museum.
At the controls were pilot Ueli Bärfuss who used it intensively in the Engadine region.
Between 1971 and 1979 the helicopter logged about 2’000 hours of flight and 848 rescue missions.

17 September - The HB-XID of the Transair is the first Robinson R-22 to be registered in Switzerland. The production in series of this model started the precedent year in the factory of Torrance/California.