The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BO 105 is a light, twin-engine, multi-purpose helicopter developed by Bölkow of Stuttgart, Germany. It featured a revolutionary hingeless rotor system, at that time a pioneering innovation in helicopters when it was introduced into service in 1970. Production of the BO 105 began at the then recently-merged Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB).
The main production facilities for producing the BO 105 were located in Germany and Canada; due to the level of export sales encountered, additional manufacturing lines were set up in Spain, Indonesia, and the Philllippines. MBB became a part of Eurocopter in 1991, who continued production until 2001, when the BO 105 was formally replaced in the product line by the Eurocopter EC 135.
The BO 105A made its maiden flight on 16th February 1967 at Ottobrunn in Germany. The German Civil Aviation Authority certified the helicopter on 13th October 1970 and production for German civil and law enforcement organizations began shortly afterwards. Further type certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was granted in April 1972 with United States export orders following.
The BO 105C was developed in 1972 and the German Ministry of Defence selected this model for its light observation helicopter program, purchasing 100 helicopters in 1977. A specialist anti-tank version armed with Euromissile HOTmissiles and designated as the BO 105PAH-1 was procured by the German Army around the same time, with a total of 212 eventually being delivered.
In 1976, the BO 105CB was developed with more powerful Allison 250-C20B engines. This was further developed as the BO 105CBS with the enlargement of the fuselage by 10 inches to meet American market demands for emergency medical service operations, with this version becoming known as the BO 105 Twin Jet in the United States.
In 1984, the BO 105LS was developed with the enlarged fuselage of the BO 105CBS combined with more powerful Allison 250-C28C engines to increase the maximum take-off weight.
Production ended in 2001, due to the BO 105 being superseded by the more modern Eurocopter EC 135, after 1,406 machines had been built. The last BO 105LS was delivered in 2009 to an operator in Canada.
Being the first light twin-engined helicopter in commercial service, it gained widespread use over rural areas (police and EMS / medevac) as well as offshore.
The generally similar MBB BO 106 featured a widened cabin seating three abreast in the front row and four abreast in the rear of the cabin. The prototype first flew on 25th September 1973, but nothing further came of the project.
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The BO 105 in our exhibition is a CB-4, painted in colours of the “Flying Bulls Team”, Salzburg. Former German Army Aviation pilot Captain (ret.) Rainer Wilke shows an excellent aerobatic with this helicopter.