On 8 March, German air ambulance provider DRF Luftrettung put the first H145 helicopter with a five-blade rotor in Germany into rescue service at its at Pattonville airport station near Stuttgart following its transfer to the station. Compared to its predecessor, the helicopter is lighter and offers a higher possible payload with the same performance. In addition, the fifth rotor blade makes it quieter in the air, which benefits patients and crew. With the commissioning as part of its broader fleet renewal, DRF is pursuing its goal of constantly advancing the development of air rescue.
The first H145 helicopter equipped with a five-blade rotor arrived at DRF Luftrettung's workshop in December and was equipped there for station operations. The machine will be now used in the Stuttgart region as ‘Christoph 51’.
Dr. Krystian Pracz, chairman of the board of DRF Luftrettung is delighted with the start of the new machine: “The commissioning of the new H145 with five-blade rotor represents a milestone in air rescue in Germany , and we are very proud of that. We made the very conscious decision to use the system as soon as it is available and to go down this route first. It was and is part of our self-image as DRF Luftrettung to continuously advance the further development of air rescue. We always have one goal in mind: to continuously improve the care of our patients in all areas relevant to air rescue, be it people, medicine or technology.”
The decision to put the first machine of its kind into service at the Stuttgart station is justified by Pracz who says: “Here in Baden-Württemberg, DRF Luftrettung performed its first mission in 1973, and we feel very connected to the state and the region. It is therefore a particular pleasure for us to take over the first H145 with a five-blade rotor, which represents another big step into the future of air rescue, in the vicinity of our founding location and our current headquarters in Filderstadt.”
The increase in the possible payload of the new machine makes it possible, for example, to react better to spontaneous requirements at the place of use, among other things by taking on additional medical personnel. If necessary, the air rescuers can also fill up with more fuel and thus fly even longer distances. Another technical innovation, in addition to the new rotor, is WiFi integrated into the cockpit through which the pilots can transfer important data directly from the tablet to the on-board computer.
In the coming months, DRF Luftrettung will add two more H145s with five-blade rotors to its fleet. During the same period, DRF Luftrettung will also be working with Airbus for the first time to convert an existing aircraft to the five-rotor blade system, as the world's first Airbus customer. Within the next two years, DRF Luftrettung plans to convert all of its H145 helicopters from four to five rotor blades. In the future, DRF Luftrettung will also offer this conversion to external customers