The "Christoph" project
"CHRISTOPH 61" and "CHRISTOPH LEIPZIG" –
a milestone in the history of German air rescue
In March 1990 - before German reunification - the IFA had already started to establish a modern air rescue system to match West German standards in what was then East Germany.
By April 2, 1990, the IFA search and rescue helicopter (SARH) was ready for its first flight. On the same day, this SARH was launched from its station, NPA Lazarett in Leipzig/Widerritzsch, which later became an army hospital.
The introduction of the newly unified country's first search and rescue helicopter was a milestone in the development of an air rescue system in this part of Germany.
Support from several partners meant that a modern air rescue system could be established for the Leipzig/Halle region. In accordance with its Articles of Association, the IFA financed "Christoph 61" (SARH) and "Christoph Leipzig" (CCT) solely from membership fees until the Monetary, Economic and Social Union came into effect, as social insurance organizations in the former East Germany were unable to carry the cost of such projects at that time.
At the start of June 1991, Internationale Flugambulanz e.V. established a modern air rescue center with state-of-the-art rescue helicopters at Leipzig/Halle airport. The IFA managed this center to the highest standards until the end of October 2005.
During this period, the IFA proved on a daily basis its ability to meet the challenges of operating an air rescue system. After almost 16 years of serving the public sector without complaint, the IFA handed over management of the rescue center to a successor organization.
From spring 1990 until October 31, 2005, IFA search and rescue helicopters were dispatched on over 25,000 air rescue operations, often saving lives.