East Anglian Air Ambulance become first UK operator to upgrade to five-blade H145
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) have now received back one of their Airbus H145 helicopters after completion of a significant upgrade. Known as the “D3” (the paperwork calls the new standard BK117D3), the obvious external difference are the five blades, the different blade profile and the matching yellow cover on top.
In reality, this upgrade brings a new dynamic to the aircraft’s operation, particularly with a 100kg increase in gross weight and the removal of the Light Active Vibration Control System (LAVCS). Pilots report the upgraded variant as flying much more smoothly than the previous standard. The rotor diameter is marginally shorter than the four blade “D2” (BK117D2) standard it was upgraded from. The upgrade was completed at Gloucestershire Airport by Babcock MCS Onshore, who operate the helicopter under contract to EAAA.
EAAA’s second H145 will upgraded by Babcock in the very near future. Airbus Helicopters UK at Oxford will also be upgrading some customer aircraft, including a corporate example based in the northwest of the UK.