German air rescue provider DRF Luftrettung has relaunched its Christoph Nürnberg helicopter into service following its conversion to a five-blade rotor.
The H145 helicopter, which was previously fitted with a four-blade rotor, is expected to offer quieter operation in future as it carries out emergency missions across the Nuremberg region of Bavaria.
The converted aircraft also features a simplified rotor design intended to reduce maintenance, as well as a reduced weight compared to its pre-retrofit design which offers greater weight capacity without any impact to performance.
The retrofit, which was carried out over approximately eight weeks, also included adjustments to the rear boom and the electrical wiring of the aircraft.
Four to five blades fleet conversion plans for DRF Luftrettung
The aircraft is the first of DRF Luftrettung’s four-bladed helicopters to be independently retrofitted by the operator with a five-blade rotor. The operator has previously carried out retrofits of fellow H145 Christoph 11 in collaboration with manufacturer Airbus Helicopters, which served as the template for the conversion of Christoph Nürnberg. Christoph 11 was relaunched into service with DRF Luftrettung in May 2021.
DRF Luftrettung ultimately plans to convert its entire existing fleet of 20 four-bladed H145 helicopters to five-blade rotors within three years, and also plans to offer conversion services to external customers. In addition, the organization signed a contract for the purchase of 15 new H145s and three H135 from Airbus in January 2020.