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MBB Bölkow BO.105
MBB / Kawasaki BK.117
D-HDER Airbus Helicopters EC145 c/n 9063 - DRF Luftrettung - Luftrettungszentrum Halle - 15 July 2013 Flugplatz Halle-Oppin (EDAQ)

The Airbus Helicopters EC145 is a ten-seat multi-mission medium-weight class, twin-engine helicopter. Development of the EC145 started in 1977 as BK117 in a co production between MBB from Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries from Japan. The first of four prototypes, two built by MBB in Donauwörth and two by Kawasaki in Gifu, flew in Germany on 13 June 1979. The first prototype built in Japan flew on 10 August 1979. The first production aircraft (built by KHI in Japan) flew in December 1981, and first deliveries took place early in 1983. Initial production was of the BK 117 A1, while the BK 117 A3 with higher max takeoff weight and enlarged tail rotor with twisted blades was certificated in March 1985. The BK 117 A4 with increased performance and improved tail rotor head was introduced in 1987. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. Development of the EC145 started in 1997 in a co production by Eurocopter Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The EC 145 flew first in 1999 and is in production since 2002. The EC 145 is actual the MBB-BK117 C-2 and the German Government Agencies (LBA) Type Certificate was originally issued on 20 December 2000 to Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH. In July 2006, the U.S. Army selected the military variant of the EC145, the UH-145 (renamed UH-72A) as the U.S. Army's new multi-mission Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). Next to the Eurocopter Deutschland EC145 productionline in Donauwörth, the EC145 is manufactured by American Eurocopter LLC in Columbus, Mississippi, USA in the LUH configuration as UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army. In 2010, Eurocopter signed a agreement with Kazakhstan Engineering to create a 50/50 joint venture to assemble and customise EC145s in Kazakhstan. In 2011, Eurocopter officially launched an evolved version of the EC145, designed EC-145T2. The EC-145T2 has a significant increase of the aircraft's performance, featuring new Arriel 2E turboshaft engines, along with Eurocopter's Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, dual-digital Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) and a 4-axis autopilot. Today, over 500 Eurocopter EC145 helicopters are in service worldwide. In March 2015, Airbus Helicopters changed the marketing name for its entire product line to better reflect its closer allignment with ist parent company and simplify the naming convention for the portfolio. That is why the EC145 T2 helicopter has since been marketed as “H145” as stated in revison No.EASA.R.010 Issue: 06 of the Type Certificate Data Sheet for MBB BK117 dated 17 April 2015. In June 2020, a new version of the H145 equipped with a five-bladed main rotor, increasing useful load by 150 kg and max takeoff weight to 3800 kg, archieved EASA certification. On 30 September 2020, Airbus delivered the first H145 new 5-blade type that replaced the standard 4-bladed rotor type in production. The 4-bladed H145s already in service can be retrofitted to the new 5-blade standard. As before, H145 is the marketing name for both the BK 117 D-2 (4-blade main rotor variant) and BK 117 D-3 (5-blade main rotor variant. The H145 programme offers special versions for utility work; Police work; VIP transport with Mercedes-Benz-style design; and the H145M - a military variant for multi-role purposes. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the EC145 helicopter is EC45.

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.

The 2004-built Eurocopter MBB-BK117 C-2 c/n 9063 was flown first with the Eurocopter Deutschland test registration D-HMBB. On 22 December 2004, this EC145 was registered G-CDGM with McAlpine Helicopters Ltd., Kidlington, UK. The helicopter was used by McAlpine as a demonstrator on trial to various UK police forces and to the Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service. On 27 January 2006, the aircraft was flown back to Germany and registration G-CDGM was cancelled on 3 February 2006. The helicopter was registered D-HDER with DRF (Deutsche Rettungflugwacht e.V)., on 24 March 2006. After undergoing maintenance and modifications at DRF's maintenance facility at its Operation-Center at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, the EC145 entered service as an EMS-helicopter with DRF-partner Helitalia SpA in Italy in May 2006. Starting from 23 September 2008, the DRF-Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht e.V. introduced a new name and logo. From that day, the former DRF consists of three parts: a non-profit sponsored association, a foundation under public law and a non-profit corporation which is the operational unit. The operational work of the DRF continued as before. The German air rescue companies HSD-Hubschauber Sonder Dienst Flugbetriebs and HDM Luftrettung also appeared under the name of DRF Luftrettung starting from 23 September 2008. The previous branding of “Air Rescue Alliance TEAM DRF” is no longer used. As of 26 August 2009, Helitalia SpA operates as a subsidiary of INAER Helicopter Italia S.p.A., Eurocopter EC145 D-HDER returned to DRF. In October 2011, the helicopter underwent maintenance at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport before it entered service with HSD-Hubschauber Sonder Dienst Flugbetriebs that operates the EC145 under the name of DRF Luftrettung. When seen at Halle-Oppin, Eurocopter EC145 D-HDER was in service as ITH "Christoph Sachsen-Anhalt". In November 2011, DRF ordered 25 EC145 T2 helicopters as replacement for the MBB BK117's in service for delivery from December 2013 through 2022.

ITH (Intensiv Transport Hubschrauber) Eurocopter EC145 D-HDER was seen at the helipad of the Luftrettungszentrum Halle in Oppin, Germany, when in service as "Christoph Sachsen-Anhalt". This Air Rescue Centre is situated next to Halle-Oppin Airport. Operations of Luftrettungszentrum Halle started on 1 July 1991, as HSD-Luftrettungszentrum Halle at Flugplatz Halle-Oppin. In January 2007, the HSD-Luftrettungszentrum Halle moved to a new site next to Flugplatz Halle-Oppin. From the start, both helicopters of Luftrettungszentrum Halle, "Christoph Halle"and "Christoph Sachsen-Anhalt" are operated by HSD-Hubschauber Sonder Dienst Flugbetriebs GmbH & CO. KG. Since 1 January 2012, Luftrettungszentrum Halle is operated by the Bewerbergemeinschaft HSD Luftrettung gemeinnützige GmbH and DRF Stiftung Luftrettung gemeinnützige AG. Luftrettungszentrum Halle is on 24-hour standby. Callsign "Christoph" is used for the German lifeliner helicopters since 1970 and is derived of Saint Christophorus, the Patron Saint for all travellers.

page last updated: 24-01-2022
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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