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.
In 2000, the MBB BK.117C-1 c/n 7531 was test-flown with the Eurocopter Deutschland test registration D-HMBB.
In 2000, the helicopter was registered I-HBMS in Italy with Leasing Roma as owner and Helitalia SpA as operator. MBB BK.117C-1 I-HBMS "Pegaso 3" entered service
with DRF-partner Helitalia SpA as HEMS 118 Regione Toscana. 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 previous branding of “Air Rescue
Alliance TEAM DRF” was no longer used. As of 26 August 2009, Helitalia SpA operated as a subsidiary of INAER Helicopter Italia SpA.
As a result, the Helitalia titles on the helicopter were replaced by INAER titles. In August 2012, MBB BK.117C-1 I-HBMS returned to
Germany and registration D-HBMS was reserved for the helicopter. The helicopter underwent maintenance at Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport
and was permited to fly as D-HBMS on 11 December 2013. The D-HBMS entered service with DRF Luftrettung. Since March 2014, the MBB BK.117C-1 D-HBMS
is operated by DRF Luftrettung as "Air Ambulance 02" out of Güttin airfield at the Isle of Rügen, Germany.
On 7 October 2013, the off-shore rescue helicopter service "Air Ambulance 02" was put officially in service as "Christoph Offshore 2"
at Güttin airfield at Rügen. Soon, the callsign was changed into "Air Ambulance 02". The DRF helicopter operated was the MBB BK.117C-1 D-HDRJ.
On 28 February 2014, the MBB BK.117C-1 D-HDRJ "Air Ambulance 02" crashed into the Baltic Sea about 2 kms off the coast from Darßer Ort,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, NE Germany, while on a training mission. After this fatal crash "Air Ambulance 02" was out of service until 28 March 2014,
when DRF Luftrettung MBB BK.117-C-1 D-HBMS entered service as "Air Ambulance 02".