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MBB BO.105
MBB / Kawasaki BK.117
D-HMUZ MBB BK.117B-2 c/n 7100 - ADAC Luftrettung "Christoph 26" - Luftrettungszentrum Sande in Germany - 30 July 2008 lifeliner helicopters

The MBB / Kawasaki BK.117 is a ten-seat multi-mission medium-weight class, twin-engine helicopter. Development of the BK117 started in 1977 as 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. When the helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, the MBB BK.117 program was transferred as well. In 2002, the assembly line for the Eurocopter BK 117 C-1 twin helicopter was transferred from its German production facility in Donauwörth to Trento in Italy. Eurocopter uses the production facilities in Donauwörth for the EC 145 multi-role helicopter. This EC 145 flew first in 1999 and has been jointly developed by Eurocopter and Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The EC 145 is designated the BK 117 C-2 in Japan. Over 400 Eurocopter / Kawasaki BK 117 helicopters in different versions were built, including production under licence by IPTN in Indonesia and Avionline in Italy.

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.

On 18 August 1986, permit to fly as D-HBPU was issued for the 1986-built MBB BK.117A-3 s/n 7100. MBB upgraded the aircraft to the BK.117-A-4 standard and permit to fly as D-HMUZ was issued on 18 February 1987. The helicopter was delivered to Polizei Bayern, Neubiberg, and registered D-HMUZ on 7 May 1987. In June 1997, the D-HMUZ was returned to Eurocopter Deutschland and upgraded into a BK.117B-2 before the helicopter was transferred to ADAC Luftrettung GmbH. Rettungstransporthubschrauber MBB BK.117B-2 D-HMUZ was seen at ADAC-Luftrettungszentrum Sanderbusch located at the grounds of "Nordwest-Krankenhaus" in Sande, Germany. The helicopter is operated by ADAC-Luftrettung out of Sanderbusch as RTH "Christoph 26". Call sign "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: 31-01-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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