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From the fourth quarter of 2020, DRF Luftrettung will modify its H145 helicopters from four to five rotor blades. As soon as the approval procedure at Airbus Helicopters has been completed, the so-called SB Retrofit Kits will be delivered to the air rescue operator.
In addition to DRF Luftrettung’s patients, third-party customers will also benefit from this new feature: The technical service center of DRF Luftrettung will offer the retrofitting to external customers.
The five-bladed main rotor designed by Airbus Helicopters for the H145 helicopter will be a new addition to DRF Luftrettung’s red-and-white fleet. From the end of next year, the air rescue organization will gradually upgrade its entire H145 fleet to the new rotor system. The five-bladed rotor increases the useful load by 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Other advantages include enhanced flight comfort as well as a lower maintenance effort.
“The planned retrofit in our technical service center means that external customers and our air rescue patients will soon be able to reap the benefits of this technical progress,” Dr. Krystian Pracz, chairman of the executive board at DRF Luftrettung. “Every additional kilogram can be crucial, especially in missions at high altitudes, for example in the Alps, or with specialized medical equipment.”
The DRF Luftrettung technicians will receive full training on the new feature and will subsequently be able to offer third-party customers this retrofitting service for the H145. European certification of the improved H145 is expected in mid-2020.
The planned upgrades to the H145 retrofit were announced Oct. 16 in Donauwörth, Germany. This announcement was combined with the delivery of two new machines based on the existing framework contract: one H135 helicopter with Helionix and one H145 helicopter.
“In the next few years, we intend to adjust our entire fleet to two models. Afterwards, our air rescuers will fly with the H135 and H145 models. In addition to the use of state-of-the-art helicopters to save lives, this also means greater efficiency for our fleet maintenance and the training of our personnel,” Dr. Krystian Pracz explains.
A new framework contract between Airbus Helicopters and DRF Luftrettung is currently being drawn up, which also includes the planned retrofitting to five-bladed H145 helicopters.