Airbus Helicopters H145+H135 DRF Luftrettung @ Patrick Heinz
Copyright: Airbus Helicopters / Patrick Heinz

DRF Luftrettung to take off with H145 five-bladed rotors

From the fourth quarter of 2020, DRF Luftrettung, air rescue organization, will modify its H 145 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 H 145 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 H 145 fleet to the new rotor system. The five-bladed rotor increases the useful load by 150 kg. 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,” says Dr. Krystian Pracz, chairman of the ex-ecutive board at DRF Luftrettung. “Every additional kilogram can be crucial, es-pecially 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 services for the H 145. European certification of the improved H 145 is expected in mid-2020.

Further fleet renewal at DRF Luftrettung

The planned upgrades to the H 145 Retrofit were announced on last Wednesday in Donauwörth. This announcement was combined with the delivery of two new machines based on the existing framework contract: one H 135 helicopter with Helionix and one H 145 helicopter. “In the next few years, we intend to adjust our entire fleet to two models. Afterwards our air rescuers will fly with the H 135 and H 145 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 H 145 helicopters.

About DRF Luftrettung

DRF Luftrettung has been initiator and innovator with a social mission for almost 50 years: The non-profit organization saves lives with the fastest and most modern medical aid. It continuously invests in aeronautical, technical and medical innovations. At 13 of its 35 HEMS bases in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, the DRF Luftrettung crews are on standby 24/7, helicopters with rescue winches are used at six locations. DRF Luftrettung has carried out more than of 20,600 missions in the first half of 2019, more than 19,300 of which from HEMS bases in Germany.

The Austrian ARA Flugrettung with two HEMS bases was integrated into DRF Luftrettung in 2001 and the Northern HeliCopter GmbH (NHC), which provides air and water rescue services, was acquired in 2019. Furthermore, DRF Luftrettung is also involved in the AP³ Luftrettung network at another HEMS bases with day and night flight operations in Balzers/Liechtenstein. In addition, the DRF Luftrettung also takes patients back to Germany from abroad with its own ambulance aircraft. For the continuous expansion of its vitally important tasks, the non-profit air rescue organization depends on financial support. Today, DRF e.V. is already supported by well over
400,000 sponsors. More information online at: