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Airbus Helicopters EC135
MBB BK.117
D-HBYF Eurocopter EC135 P2+ c/n 0078 - ADAC Luftrettung "Christoph 6" - Bremen/Klinikum Links der Weser, Germany - 1 May 2016 lifeliner helicopters

The Airbus Helicopters EC135 / H135 is a lightweight five/seven seat twin-turbine-engine multi-role helicopter with a radius of 720 km. The EC135 is offered with either Safran Helicopter Engines (former: Turbomeca) Arrius 2B2 or Pratt & Whitney PW206B2 engines. Development of the Eurocopter EC135 started in the 80s as the MBB Bo.108 Advanced Technology Helicopter. The prototype BO108 with conventional tail rotor flew first on 15 October 1988. When the helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aérospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, the Bo108 program was transferred as well. An advanced low noise ducted 10-blade Fenestron tail rotor was, next to other modifications, incorporated into the design and the name of the helicopter was changed into Eurocopter EC135. The prototype of the EC135 (D-HBOX s/n S-01) flew first on 15 February 1994 and went in series production in 1996 at Donauwörth. On 14 June 1996, the German certification was granted by the LBA and the first customer delivery followed on 31 July that year. Next to the EC135 a special military version was developed designated the Eurocopter EC635. The EC635 has a structural reinforcement of cabin structure and can be equipped with wire-guided, laser-guided, autonomous missiles. Over 1400 EC135 / H135 / H135M airframes have been delivered since the helicopter entered service in 1996. In March 2015, Airbus Helicopters renamed its entire product line to better reflect its closer allignment with ist parent company and simplify the naming convention for the portfolio. Therefore, the EC135 T3/P3 were renamed as “H135” as stated in revison No.EASA.R.009 Issue: 07 of the Type Certificate Data Sheet for EC135 dated 18 March 2015. “H135M” is used as marketing designation for the military EC635 P3(CPDS); EC635 P3H; EC635 T3(CPDS) and EC635 T3H helicopters. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the EC135 / H135 helicopters is EC35.

As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

RTH (Rettungstransporthubschrauber) Eurocopter EC135 P2+ D-HBYF "Christoph 6" of ADAC-Luftrettung / ASB Rettungsdienst Bremen was seen at the helipad of the ADAC-Luftrettungszentrum Bremen Zentralkrankenhaus links der Weser in Bremen. Operations of "Cristoph 6" in the Bremen area started on 20 December 1973. The call sign "Christoph" is used for the German lifeliner helicopters since 1970 and is derived of Saint Christophorus, the Patron Saint for all travellers. The helicopters in use as "Christoph 6" are operated by ADAC Luftrettung. On 22 August 2011, the MBB BK.117B-2 D-HBRB in service as "Christoph 6" was replaced by EC135 P2 D-HBYF.

The 1999-built Eurocopter EC135 P1 c/n 0078 was registered D-HBYF in Germany on 9 April 1999. Eurocopter EC135 P1 D-HBYF was operated first by Hubschrauberstaffel Bayern (Bavarian Police Force) and leased from LFL Luftfahrtzeug Leasing. In service with the Bayern Police the helicopter used call-sign "Edelweiss 6". In 2002, the Eurocopter EC135 P1 was modified by Eurocopter Germany to the EC135 P2 standard. In August 2009, the Bayern Police EC135s, including EC135 P2 D-HBYF, were offered for sale as the would be replaced by new EC135 P2+ helicopters in 2010. In March 2010, when the new EC135 P2+ entered service with the Bavarian Police Force, call-sign "Edelweiss 6" of the D-HBYF changed to "Edelweiss 16". Eurocopter EC135 P2 D-HBYF was sold to ADAC Luftrettung GmbH and in July 2010 flown to Bonn-Hangelar. At the ALT maintenance facilities at Flugplatz Bonn-Hangelar the helicopter was modified to the RTH standard and during the major overhaul fitted with the new IBF filter. In March 2011, EC135 P1 D-HBYF entered service with ADAC Luftrettung, first as "Christoph 18" and "Christoph Europe 1" and from 22 August 2011 as "Christoph 6". In June 2013, the EC135 P2 D-HBYF flew to Bonn-Hangelar for maintenance and modification by ALT to the EC135 P2+ standard and returned to Bremen as an EC135 P2+ in August 2013. On 12 April 2017, when operating as "Christoph 6" the helicopter was slightly damaged in a landing near Sielwall/ Osterdeich in Bremen, when the main rotor blades struck a small tree. No one was injured but the helicopter was declared out of operations and was transported by road for maintenance to ALT at Bonn-Hangelar. On 19 April 2017, EC135 P2+ D-HBYF was declared airworthy again.

page last updated: 28-10-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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