Thursday 26 February 2015

Ardmore 23-2- 2015 - BK 117 Helicopters

One thing that I have noticed at Ardmore the last several times that I have visited is that helicopter activity well outweighed fixed wing activity.  A few days ago these helicopters from the same family were out and about.  I am interested in helicopters but not very knowledgable on the various models.

I was surprised therefore that these helicopters were all variants of the twin turbine BK 117, so I did a bit of investigation.  The original BK 117 was developed as a joint venture between Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm of Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan with the main rotor system and tailboom developed from the MBB Bo 105 helicopter and Kawasaki contributing the airframe and main trasmission.  This first model was the BK 117 A-1 and it first flew in June 1979 and entered service in December 1992.  It was developed over the years up to the C-1 model, and it was built by both MBB (330 examples) and Kawasaki (111 examples), up to 2004..

ZK-HGU5 (c/n 7229) is a MBB built MBB BK 117 B-2 that was registered to Airwork NZ Ltd on 11/12/14.  It is ex N164AM and has a long previous history with several other registrations in the US.

ZK-IEH (c/n 9110) is a Eurocopter MBB BK 117 C-2 that is ex ZK-ITF and ex ZK-IGT, registered as ZK-IEH on 23/9/14 after having first been registered in New Zealand on 16/7/07.  You can see it has the BK 117 three element tail.  It is owned by Advanced Flight Ltd of Auckland.

The BK 117 design became part of the Eurocopter line-up when MBB merged with Aerospatiale-Matra in 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, and the C-2 model was developed by another joint venture between Kawasaki and Eurocopter with the rear section of the BK-117 being mated to the forward section of the Eurocopter EC 135.  It first flew in June 1999 and was introduced into service in 2002.  This helicopter is also known for marketing purposes as the Eurocopter EC 145.

ZK-ITF3 (c/n 20020) is an Airbus Helicopters MBB BK 117 D-2 that was first registered on 23/10/14.  It is also owned by Advanced Flight Ltd of Auckland.

In 2011 the C-2 model was developed into the BK 117 D-2 model which has improved performance and the Eurocopter fenestron shrouded tail rotor system.  This helicopter is also known for marketing pourposes as the EC 145 T2.  ZK-ITF is an Airbus Helicopter, with Airbus Helicopters having been rebranded from the Eurocopter Group on 2 January 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Whats the bet HGU is off to garden city ?