German air rescue service ADAC Luftrettung has acquired the 1,500th H135 type helicopter from Airbus Helicopters. The helicopter manufacturer handed over the anniversary model to the non-profit company at its facility in Donauwörth, Germany today. At the ceremony, the managing director of ADAC Luftrettung gGmbH Frédéric Bruder emphasises: “By investing in the latest version of the H135, we are once again increasing the quality of care and flight safety and are also pioneers in Germany with innovative retrofits. This is to further develop what already exists and to address challenges in the rescue service. Proactive solutions are the core of our mission.”
“We are pleased to celebrate another important milestone in the partnership that has spanned over 50 years. We are proud of the collaboration and that we are supporting ADAC Luftrettung with our helicopters and services in its important mission: saving human lives,” adds Stefan Thomé, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany.
The new helicopter and another one of the same type purchased by ADAC Luftrettung are the first rescue helicopters in Germany to receive the special “Kokon” interior panelling from Austrian development and maintenance partner, HeliAir. This allows the medical equipment to be flexibly attached to the walls and ceiling of the ADAC rescue helicopter. The ventilator, defibrillator, patient monitor and oxygen cylinders can be placed precisely where it is useful for the most efficient treatment of the patient. Compared to other fastening systems, "Kokon" ensures significant weight savings, which means that more rescue materials, medical devices or fuel can be loaded.
ADAC Luftrettung is also equipping its new H135 helicopters, two of which are already in use, with the specially developed LS400 LED headlight system. This consists of two fold-out landing and search lights that can be swivelled separately and have different light modes. This allows the pilot and TCNVIS, a crew member trained for operations with night vision devices, to better adapt the lighting to the conditions and take off or land more safely.
To use wireless internet at 4G/LTE speeds, ADAC Luftrettung lso has special WiFi routers from the manufacturer Flightcell installed in the cockpit. These can access several mobile phone providers at the same time and provide the crews with a stable WiFi signal. Emergency doctors can coordinate further treatment at an early stage via the internet telephone or send important patient data to the clinic in advance.
In addition to the retrofits, standard features and functions of the latest H135 generation increase the safety of patients and crews: The cable cutter system is intended to ensure that the helicopter cannot get caught in a high-voltage or telephone line when flying low. Before a collision occurs, sword-shaped rope deflectors on headlights, windshield wipers and runners are intended to push the cables aside or cut them.
The helicopters also have a glass cockpit for a better overview when navigating and a modern control system with four-axis autopilot, which is intended to reduce the pilot's workload. Two cameras in the rear area also provide a better overview and expand the crew's field of vision. One of them is on the boom and points forward, while the other on the landing gear points backwards or downwards. This makes it easier to see obstacles such as a pole or traffic sign in order to select a suitable landing site.
The H135, and its earlier incarnation the EC135, is the rescue helicopter most frequently used in German air rescue. ADAC Luftrettung first purchased an H135 in 1996. In 2011 the 'flying yellow angels' picked up the 1,000th H135 aircraft. Including the two new H135s (serial numbers 1,499 and 1,500), ADAC Luftrettung now has 39 H135/EC135 aircraft in its fleet. The new additions are to be stationed at the air rescue stations Christoph 25 in Siegen and Christoph 15 in Straubing from the beginning of 2024. The two existing helicopters of the new type will be used in Zwickau and Dinkelsbühl.