Immediately before the annual general meeting of the Luftrettungsstaffel Bayern e. V., the new aerial observation base on the premises of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at Oberpfaffenhofen special airport was officially commissioned on Saturday, 25 March 2017. Since 1 January 2017, the Flight Sport Group at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen e. V. has been a base of the Bavarian Air Rescue Unit. For the official inauguration, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann, also visited the new location and, together with the board of directors of the air rescue squadron and the aviation group, unveiled the new emblem in front of numerous representatives of the surrounding disaster control authorities. During the event, a real-time-capable camera system for the Antares DLR-H2 research aircraft, which was demonstrated live by VABENE++ staff, was exhibited, as well as some examples of applications for the aerial photo data from practice based on maps from the ZKI.
With the dissolution of the German Armed Forces location and the airport operations in Fürstenfeldbruck, the air rescue unit had to look for a new home. A disbanding of the base was out of the question, because in order to ensure that every point of Upper Bavaria can be reached within 30 minutes after take-off by one of the aircraft and the total area of Upper Bavaria can be flown off within 1.5 hours, seven bases are necessary. Not only because of the proximity, but also because of the good infrastructure, the aviation group at the special airport Oberpfaffenhofen was asked for support.
The aviation sport at the special airport Oberpfaffenhofen has a long tradition. The first private gliders have been taking off from the airport since 1957 at the latest. By the turn of the millennium, there were a total of three aviation clubs with different focal points. In 2006, the three associations joined forces and have been operating since then as a flight sports group (FSG) in DLR Oberpfaffenhofen e. V. Today, FSG has nearly 400 members and operates 9 powered aircraft, 2 powered gliders and 11 sailplanes. The large fleet of motorised aircraft and the good infrastructure at Oberpfaffenhofen special airport made the FSG an ideal partner for the Bavarian air rescue squadron.
The entire operational structure of Luftrettungsstaffel Bayern e. V. is based on air sports clubs and the voluntary commitment of sports pilots. Throughout Bavaria, the air rescue squadron provides over 150 aircraft at 32 airports in order to support the rescue forces with a view from above. This includes the monitoring of forest fires, the observation of avalanches and the monitoring of flooding up to the search for missing persons. The relay can also be used in environmental protection or aerial photography archaeology. These applications could soon be supported by the Antares DLR-H2 research aircraft with its real-time camera system from VABENE++. The high-resolution aerial photographs are transmitted directly to the ground where they can provide detailed information on the ground - a great added value for on-site operations and site planning.
With the commissioning of the Oberpfaffenhofen site, the air rescue unit in Bavaria can once again offer its full range of services.