Pilot - - CONTENTS -

BO 105 half-cen­tury, Jet Ranger X maiden flight and more ro­tary news

Air­bus Heli­copters has cel­e­brated the 50th an­niver­sary of the for­mer Bölkow BO 105 he­li­copter that made its maiden flight on 16 Fe­bru­ary 1967 from Ot­to­brunn near Munich. Con­ceived as a two-tonne-class light mul­ti­pur­pose he­li­copter, new tech­nolo­gies and ma­te­ri­als led to the twin Al­li­son C250 tur­boshaft-pow­ered BO 105 be­com­ing the first he­li­copter to fea­ture a rigid, hin­ge­less ro­tor head made of ti­ta­nium and fi­bre­glass-re­in­forced ro­tor blades.

Since the first de­liv­ery in 1970, more than 300 cus­tomers world­wide have bought some 1,400 BO 105s to oper­ate in roles in­clud­ing search and res­cue, po­lice/para­mil­i­tary, VIP, pas­sen­ger and cargo trans­porta­tion, clock­ing up more than eight mil­lion flight hours. The largest cus­tomer was the Ger­man Armed Forces, which took de­liv­ery of more than 200. Around 400 BO 105s are still in ser­vice to­day, the long­est-serv­ing car­ry­ing out aerial work on the Falk­land Is­lands. Cur­rent suc­ces­sor is the H135 which fea­tures fur­ther in­no­va­tions in­clud­ing a glass cock­pit, au­topi­lot and fen­e­stron tail ro­tor. “The BO 105 has made a name for it­self above all for its ver­sa­til­ity, ro­bust­ness and re­li­a­bil­ity,” com­mented Wolf­gang Schoder, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Air­bus Heli­copters Ger­many. “The fact that it is still be­ing used fifty years af­ter its maiden flight speaks vol­umes for the high qual­ity of this he­li­copter. As a pi­o­neer of modern he­li­copter tech­nol­ogy, the BO 105 con­tin­ues to in­flu­ence our prod­uct range to­day. What be­came known as the Bölkow ro­tor sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced main­te­nance costs when com­pared to tra­di­tional ro­tor heads with flap­ping and lead-lag hinges, as fewer mov­ing parts were re­quired. Fur­ther­more, the BO 105’s spe­cial ro­tor sys­tem en­abled it to per­form with a higher de­gree of agility and ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity — ca­pa­bil­i­ties for which it is still renowned to­day.”

Fe­bru­ary 1967 maiden flight for the in­no­va­tive BO 105...

...and fifty years later, a 105 painted up to mark the an­niver­sary

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