Eurocopter Bo 105

Bo 105
A German-registered Bo 105
Role Light utility helicopter
Manufacturer Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)
First flight 16 February 1967
Introduction 1970
Status Active service
Primary users German Army
Indonesian Army
Spanish Army
Philippine Navy
Produced 1967[1]-2001
Number built 1,500+[1]
Unit cost
$1.86 million (1991)[2]
Developed into MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
Eurocopter EC 135

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.[3] 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 16 February 1967 at Ottobrunn in Germany.[1] The German Civil Aviation Authority certified the helicopter on 13 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 HOT missiles 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Production ended in 2001, due to the Bo 105 being superseded by the more modern Eurocopter EC 135, after 1,406 machines had been built.[4] The last Bo 105LS was delivered in 2009 to an operator in Canada.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 Bö 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 25 September 1973,[5] but nothing further came of the project.[6]


The Bo 105 has a reputation for having high levels of maneuverability; certain variants have been designed for aerobatic maneuvers and used for promotional purposes by operators, one such operator in this capacity being Red Bull.[7] While not being considered a visually attractive helicopter by some pilots; the Bo 105 was known for possessing steady, responsive controls and a good flight attitude.[2] Most models could perform steep dives, rolls, loops, turnovers, and various acrobatic maneuvers, according to MBB the B0 105 is cleared for up to 3.5 positive G force and one negative.[8] The Bo 105's agility and responsiveness can be partly attributed to its rigid rotor blade design, a feature uncommon on competing helicopters throughout the Bo 105's production life.[9]

Perhaps the most significant feature of the Bo 105 is the design of the rotor blades and rotor head. The rotor system is entirely hingeless, the rotor head consisting of a solid titanium block to which the four blades are bolted;[10] the flexibility of the rotor blades works to absorb movements typically necessitating hinges in most helicopter rotor designs.[8] The reliability of the advanced rotor system is that, in over six million operating hours across the fleet, there had been a total of zero failures.[11] One benefit of the Bo 105's handling and control style is superior takeoff performance, including significant resistance to catastrophic dynamic rollover;[9] a combination of weight and the twin-engined configuration enables a rapid ascent in a performance takeoff.[12]

Military operators would commonly operate the type at a very low altitude to minimise visibility to enemies, the Bo 105 being well matched to such operations as the helicopter's flight qualities effectively removed or greatly minimised several of the hazards such a flight profile could pose to pilots.[13] When outfitted with optional auxiliary fuel tanks, a basic model Bo 105 would have a flight endurance of roughly five hours under load.[12]


The variants used by the German Army are the Bo 105P and Bo 105M.

  • Bo 105A : First production model primarily for civil use and equipped with two Allison 250-C18 turbine engines.
  • Bo 105C : Initial version. Developed in 1972 and equipped with two Allison 250-C20 turbines engines.
  • Bo 105CB : Light observation, utility transport version. Developed in 1976 and equipped with two Allison 250-C20B turbine engines.
  • Bo 105CBS : Utility transport version, with the fuselage stretched by 10 inches for emergency medical service duties.
  • Bo 105CBS-5 : Search and rescue version of the Bo 105CBS.
  • Bo 105D : UK certified offshore version.
  • Bo 105LS A1 : Developed in 1984 with stretched fuselage and two Allison 250-C28C turbine engines.
  • Bo 105LS A3 : Developed in 1986 with maximum take-off weight increased to 2,600 kg.
  • Bo 105LS A3 "Superlifter" : Developed in 1995 with maximum mission weight increased to 2,850 kg.
  • Bo 105P/PAH-1 : With its army designation "PAH-1" and "PAH-1A1" for the upgraded version (PAH=Panzerabwehrhubschrauber; 'Tank-defence helicopter'), is an anti-tank helicopter armed with wire-guided HOT ATGMs (HOT2 for the upgraded A1 version). Most of them are being replaced with the new Eurocopter Tiger multirole attack helicopter, some will still stay in service till the end of their life span. The outphased PAH's are going to be disarmed and downgraded to the VBH version.
  • Bo 105P/PAH-1A1 : Improved anti-tank version for the German Army, fitted with six HOT missile tubes.
  • Bo 105P/PAH-1 Phase 2 : Proposed night attack version for the German Army.
  • Bo 105P/BSH Proposed escort version for the German Army, armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles.
  • Bo 105M : With its army designation "VBH" (Verbindungshubschrauber; 'liaison chopper'), is a light transport and surveillance helicopter. They were outphased and replaced by disarmed and modified PAH1.
  • Bo 105/Ophelia : Test and trials aircraft fitted with a mast-mounted sight.
  • Bo 105ATH : Anti-tank version for the Spanish Army.
  • Bo 105GSH : Armed scout version for the Spanish Army.
  • Bo 105LOH : Observation version for the Spanish Army.
  • Bo 105MSS : Maritime version, fitted a search radar.
  • NBO-105 : Were Manufactured by IPTN under licence from MBB (now Eurocopter) 1976–2011; only rotors and transmission now supplied by Germany; originally NBO-105 CB, but stretched NBO-105 CBS available from 101st aircraft onwards. 123 were produced.
  • BO-105S : Search and rescue version.
  • NBO-105S : Stretched version.
  • BO 105 Executaire: Boeing Vertol and Carson Helicopters manufactured a 24.5 cm stretched version of the Bo 105 under license as the Executaire in an attempt to break into the U.S. light helicopter market, but sales were dismal.[14]
  • Bo 105E-4 : 12 German Army Bo-105P upgraded and overhauled for a 10 million euro contract and donated to Albania first batch delivered in 2006, the helicopters have better performance and avionics. The conversion of other BO-105 helicopters from the German Armed Forces is also under consideration with a view to future sales.[15]
  • EC-Super Five : High performance version of the Bo 105CBS.
  • Bo-105 KLH : license-produced combat version of CBS-5 custom-fitted with Korean mission equipment package including communication, navigation, electronic warfare and target acquisition system,[16] to meet Republic of Korea Army's operational requirements. KLH also has greatly improved rotor blade and transmission system. 12 are in service.
  • Bo 106 : Widened cabin to seat 7; intended for conversion and/or new production but not proceeded with.



 Sierra Leone
 South Korea
 Trinidad and Tobago
 United Arab Emirates

Government and Civilian

 South Africa
 United Kingdom
 United States

Accidents and incidents

  • 24 Jul. 1991 - A Bo 105 went down at the Nevada Test Site, killing 5.[46][47]
  • 2 Feb. 1995 - A Bo 105CB crashed and burned in Indonesia after the pilot lost control due engine failure while cruising; the accident killed two and injured one.[48]
  • 24 May 2002 - A Bo 105 operating in the UK crashed at sea after the load it was airlifting shifted and struck the tail rotor.[49]
  • 2 October 2005 – A Bo 105S, operated by AMS Air Ambulance, crashed into a mountain side in the Western Cape, South Africa while evacuating a road accident patient. The crash was fatal to all 4 occupants of the craft.[50]
  • December 2005 - A Bo 105 owned by the Canadian Coast Guard crashed off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, leaving two individuals dead.[51]
  • 19 June 2008 - 4 military personnel died in a crash involving a Bo 105 above Bosnia-Herzegovina.[52]
  • 4 July 2008 - 3 police officers were severely injured after a Bo 105 collided with power lines while chasing armed robbers in South Africa.[53]
  • 18 June 2010 - The Bo 105 property of the Argentinian TV channel C5N, crashed into a suburban area, at the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The pilot and a cameraman died in the accident. Crash cause to be determined after further investigation [54]
  • 15 December 2011 - A Bo 105 crashed on a parking lot in the southern Venezuelan city of Ciudad Guayana during a test flight. An aeronautical technician died and the pilot was injured.[55]
  • 9 September 2013 - A Bo 105 owned by the Canadian Coast Guard crashed in the Arctic, leaving three dead. The aircraft was assigned to the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen, a research vessel and icebreaker.[56]

Specifications (Bo 105CB)

External video
Documentary on Bo 105P PAH1 attack helicopter
Bo 105 performing acrobatic display

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89 [57]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
  • Capacity: 4
  • Length: 11.86 m (38 ft 11 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 9.84 m (32 ft 3½ in)
  • Height: 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)
  • Disc area: 76.05 m² (818.6 ft²)
  • Airfoil: NACA 23012
  • Empty weight: 1,276 kg (2,813 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,500 kg (5,511 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engines, 313 kW (420 shp) each


  • Missiles: 6x Euromissile HOT (Bo 105 P) or 8x BGM-71 TOW

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists




External links

  • Eurocopter history on Bo 105
  • info on Bo 105
  • Bo 105 info from Federation of American Scientists
  • Lahak Aviation Ltd. Israel Bo-105 EMS and VIP Operator
  • Bo 105 Photos and Walk Arounds on Prime Portal

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