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 EC-135 P2+ D-HDRU of DRF
Luftrettung was seeen in service as "Christoph 46" at the helipad of the
DRF-Luftrettungszentrum Zwickau in Thüringen, Germany, on 20 July 2013.
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 DRF facilities at "Städtische Klinikum
Heinrich-Braun-Krankenhaus Zwickau", LRZ Zwickau, were opened on 1
August 1991. The helicopter in service was MBB BO.105CBS-5, like the
BO.105CBS-5 D-HLLL. In
July 2009, DRF Luftrettung replaced the MBB BO.105CBS-5 helicopter in service as
"Christoph 46" by the Eurocopter EC135 P2+. The D-HDRU was the first Eurocopter EC135 P2+
in service as "Christoph 46".
The 2009-built Eurocopter EC-135 P2+ c/n 0790 was testflown with
Eurocopter Deutschland test registration D-HCBI. On 25 March 2009, the
helicopter was registered D-HDRU with DRF - Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht
e.V., Nürnberg Airport. 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. The
previous branding of “Air Rescue Alliance TEAM DRF” is no longer used.