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MBB BO.105
MBB / Kawasaki BK.117
D-HDAC MBB BK.117B-2 c/n 7005 - ADAC Luftrettung - Luftrettungszentrum Sande in Germany - 23 July 2003 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.

MBB BK.117B-2 s/n 7005 was built in 1982 as a BK.117-A-1 and registered D-HBKG with MBB on 19 August 1982. The airframe was registered D-HDAC with ADAC Luftrettung GmbH as a BK.117A-1 on 19 September 1983. The helicopter returned to MBB and was converted by Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm GmbH into a BK.117A-3 and registered again with ADAC Luftrettung GmbH on 1 February 1984. Since, the D-HDAC was upgraded into a BK.117A-4 and finally into a BK.117B-2. The D-HDAC was registered as a BK.117B-2 on 17 June 1994. RTH (Rettungstransporthubschrauber) MBB BK.117B-2 D-HDAC was photographed at the ADAC-Luftrettungszentrum Sanderbusch located at the "Nordwest-Krankenhaus" in Sande, Germany. As it was operated by the ADAC-Luftrettung out of Sanderbusch its callsign was "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.
On 7 September 2017, registration D-HDAC was cancelled as exported. On 29 May 2018, the MBB BK.117B-2 was registered ZK-HCX in New Zealand with Salus Aviation (AW). On 27 March 2019, the ZK-HCX was registered with Search And Rescue Services as owner and Greanlea Rescue Helicopters as operator.
On 23 July 2003, ADAC Luftrettung' MBB / Kawasaki BK.117B-2 D-HDAC "Christoph 26" was seen at the helipad of ADAC-Luftrettungszentrum Sanderbusch near Wilhelmshaven.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Eurocopter BK.117B-2 is BK117.

page last updated: 31-04-2019
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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