Photo by Christian Keller, courtesy of Airbus
Feb. 16 marks 50 years since the maiden flight of the Airbus BO105, Airbus said. Originally developed by Germany’s Bölkow (Messerchmitt- Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)), that first flight took place in Ottobrunn, Germany, near Munich.
The first Airbus BO105 delivery occurred in 1970. Since then, more than 300 customers worldwide have purchased some 1,400 aircraft. The German military took more than 200 orders, and some remained in service until last December. However, the longest-serving Airbus BO105 works on the Falkland Islands in South America.
This historic helicopter was the first to feature a rigid, hingeless rotor head made of titanium and glass-fiber-reinforced rotor blades. This configuration became known as the Bölkow rotor and is still praised for its level of agility and maneuverability. With multirole capability, the aircraft has completed missions including air rescue, police, military and civil transportation. Airbus’ H135 is its current successor model to the Airbus BO105. It uses a similar rotor configuration.