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MBB / Kawasaki BK.117
Airbus Helicopters EC145
Airbus Helicopters H145
D-HSFB MBB BK.117B-2 c/n 7240 - ADAC "Christoph Westfalen" - Flugplatz Halle-Oppin in Germany - 10 June 2008 Flugplatz Halle-Oppin (EDAQ)

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. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the MBB BK.1117B-2 is BK17.

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 10 June 2008, ITH (Intensiv Transport Hubschrauber) MBB BK.117B-2 D-HSFB "Christoph Westfalen" of ADAC-Luftrettung GmbH was seen near the ALT and Air Lloyd Luftfahrt Technik GmbH maintenance facilities at Flugplatz Halle-Oppin. Call sign "Christoph" is used for the German lifeliner helicopters since 1970 and is derived of Saint Christophorus, the Patron Saint for all travellers.
MBB BK.117B-2 D-HSFB ITH "Christoph 76 Westfalen" was stationed at Luftrettungszentrum "Christoph Westfalen". Today, this air rescue center is situated at AirportPark FMO, Greven. Operations of ITH "Christoph Westfalen" started at Münster-Osnabrück Airport (FMO) on 28 June 1986. The first helicopter used was a DRF Luftrettung' Bölkow Bo.105. In September 1992, the DRF Luftrettung Bölkow Bo.105 was replaced by an Agusta A109, flown by HSH. In October 1992, HSH was replaced as operator by Rotorflug also with an Agusta A109. In January 1999, Rhein-Ruhr-Helicopter became the next operator, this time with a Bell 222. In November 1999, Rotorflug returned as operator, as before with an Agusta A109. Since 1 January 2002, ADAC Luftrettung operates the "Christoph Westfalen" services, with a MBB / Kawasaki BK.117B-2 helicopter until it was replaced by an Airbus Helicopters H145 in October 2016. The air rescue center "Christoph-Westfalen" moved to a completely new heliport located at AirportPark FMO on 9 December 2011.
The 1994-built MBB BK.117B-2 s/n 7240 was built as a MBB BK.117B-1 and permited to fly as D-HFIE with Eurocopter Deutschland test-registration. On 5 January 1994, registration D-HSFB was alloted to the airframe. In May 1994, the MBB.117B-1 was registered D-HSFB with ADAC Luftrettung GmbH and entered service with ADAC Luftrettung as "Christoph Brandenburg", stationed at Luftrettungszentrum Senftenberg. The helicopter \ was converted by Eurocopter Deutschland into a BK.117B-2. In 2003, MBB BK.117B-2 D-HSFB became the helicopter in service as "Christoph Westfalen". The additional tank on the right was required to have a higher range for transfer flights. In anticipation of the replacement of the MBB BK.117B helicopters in service by ADAC Luftrettung by the new Airbus Helicopters H145 which were on order, the fourteen MBB BK.117 helicopters, including MBB BK.117B-2 D-HSFB, were sold to Airwork (NZ) Ltd., New Zealand. On 30 November 2016, registration D-HSFB was cancelled as exported to New Zealand. On 6 December 2016, the copter was registered ZK-ISE with Airwork (NZ) Ltd., Papakura, New Zealand. On 16 March 2018, registration ZK-ISE was cancelled. In April 2018, the helicopter was registered P2-HNF in Papua New Guinea with Heli Niugine, Madang. On 8 february 2022, the MBB BK117B-2 was registered VH-XWE in Australia with Rotorwest Pty Ltd., Jandakot, WA, as operator and Allway Logistics Ltd, Hongkong, as owner.

page last updated: 05-12-2022
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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