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Eurocopter EC135
PH-EMS German Army 82+64
Eurocopter EC130 B4
D-HDRL Eurocopter EC135 P2 c/n 0486 - DRF-Deutsche Rettungflugwacht "Christoph 36" - DRF-LRZ Magdeburg in Germany - 25 June 2007 more lifeliner helicopters

The Airbus Helicopters EC135 is a lightweight five/seven seat twin-turbine-engine multi-role helicopter with a radius of 720 km. The EC 135 is offered with either Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 or Pratt and Whitney Canada 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 Aerospatiale 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. In 1996, the EC135 went into series production by Eurocopter Deutschland in Donauwörth, Germany. After German certification was granted on 14 June 1996, the first customer delivery was on 31 July 1996. Next to the EC135 a special military version was developed designated the Eurocopter EC635. Over 1200 EC135 airframes have been delivered since the helicopter entered service in 1996. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the EC135 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-HDRL "Christoph 36" of the DRF-Deutsche Rettungflugwacht e.V. (Rettungsdienststiftung Björn Steiger e.V.) was photographed at the helipad of the DRF-Luftrettungszentrum Magdeburg in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, on 25 June 2007. 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 RTH facilities at the "Städtisches Klinikum Magdeburg" were opened on 1 July 1992. The helicopter in service as "Christoph 36" was a MBB BO.105CBS-5 of the Bundespolizei-Fliegerstaffel Nord until it was replaced by an EC135 of the DRF – Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht on 1 April 2006. The 2006-built Eurocopter EC-135 P2 c/n 0486 D-HDRL (ex D-HECC) was registered on 1 June 2006. On 13 July 2006, the D-HDRL entered service as "Christoph 36" at Magdeburg. 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. On 26 January 2014, Eurocopter EC-135 P2 D-HDRL was severely damaged when operated as "Christoph 46" during a rescue mission in Oberwiesenthal in Saxonia in the Eastern part of Germany. After landing on the ski run, the helicopter suddenly started to glide downwards the slope and came to rest about 30 metres from the landing side after crashing into a parked motor sledge.

page last updated: 15-01-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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