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Adnet, a small town in Tennengau region close to Salzburg, Austria hosted the largest air rescue training in Austria on May 19th 2017. Overall 15 aircraft and 250 soldiers of the Austrian Air Force participated in this evacuation drill. Besides the aircraft from the Austrian Military several Helicopters of the Police and a civil MD900 from the rescue company Heli Austria took part as well.

The scenario was described as a heavy flooding which threatens an area with approx. 200 people thus requiring their evacuation. As part of this scenario it was planned to rescue persons with winches from the roof of a flooded house, from an island in the river, people from cars in the water and – to add another level of complexity in the dense planning – of persons locked in the cellar of a house threatened by flooding.

Specifically this dense program of several activities in parallel was emphasized as key training aspect and most difficult element by Thomas Straßer, pilot and member of the planning staff: “Many close-by rescue spots, which have to be approached by many helicopters at the same time. As a consequence this means height separation with many physical obstacles – thus requiring very close and carful coordination. Situational Awareness is then the biggest challenge for the pilots – you have to consider and manage all external activities and influences while at the same time flying the helicopter.”

The training exercise was very well organised by OberstDG Peter Schinnerl and reviewed and visited by Hans Peter Doskozil – Minister of Defence, Wilfried Haslauer – Prime Minister of Salzburg Region and as well several majors of cities and communities in the Salzburg area and of close by towns and communities in Bavaria, German.

Alexander Schwarz, May 2017