Saturday, August 1, 2009
Rotorcraft Report: The Last "New" B0105
COMMERCIAL | OBSERVATION
After sitting in the Eurocopter Canada plant for the past four years, the twin-engine predecessor to the EC135 has a new owner — Dam Helicopters of British Columbia, which purchased the helicopter for about $2.23 million.
Dam Helicopters’ BO105 LS will be inspecting power lines, surveying for natural resources, conducting EMS missions and flying sightseeing tours. Duncan Wassick, owner of Dam Helicopters, snapped up the aircraft, noting that the price helped with the decision. "The BO105 has the same maximum payload of 2,500 pounds, but only costs half as much," he says. "It is true that the BO105 has an analog cockpit, as opposed to the EC135’s computers, FADEC and glass cockpit. But my customers don’t care about that. They just want a twin-engine helicopter. Besides, I like to work with technology that has stood the test of time, as the BO105 has."
German firm Bölkow Engineering designed the BO105 in the 1960s. When the BO105 started test flights in 1967, Bölkow had become part of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. It subsequently became part of Eurocopter in 1991. There were 1,407 BO105s built, finding work in police, EMS and military applications. Dam Helicopters’ BO105 LS will be flying a variety of missions. Eurocopter says that 1,008 BO105s are still in service. As a group, this aircraft has logged more than seven million flying hours.