Airbus Helicopters is celebrating 50 years since the first flight of the Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO105 light multi-purpose helicopter.
The BO105 flrst flew on 16 February 1967 in Ottobrun, Germany, and contributes significant heritage to the current Airbus H135 and H145.
“The BO105 has made a name for itself above all for its versatility, robustness and reliability," said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters in Germany.
"The fact that it is still being used 50 years after its maiden flight speaks volumes for the high quality of this helicopter. As a pioneer of modern helicopter technology, the BO105 continues to influence our product range today,”
Conceived as a two-tonne-class light multi-purpose helicopter, cutting-edge technologies and materials led to the BO105 being the first helicopter to feature a rigid, hingeless rotor head made of titanium and glass-fibre-reinforced rotor blades.
Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm became part of Eurocopter in 1991, after which the BO105 formed the basis of the EC135.
Around 1400 have been built, with 400 still in service today in operations including rescue, medivac, cargo and passenger transport. The largest user was the German Armed Forces, which ordered 200 aircraft over several years, and retired the last of them in only December 2016. Serial production ceased in 2001.
The longest-serving BO105 carries out aerial work on the Falkland Islands. In total, the BO105 fleet has clocked up more than 8 million flight hours around the world.
A BO105 was also the first helicopter to successfully perform a loop.