The BO 105s in the stable of The Flying Bulls were recently given a complete makeover. Not only do they shine in splendorous new colours, but some of them had a technical overhaul too.
Attentive observers will have noticed, at the latest at AIRPOWER19, that the BO 105’s have a new look. All three helicopters in the fleet have been repainted; one of them was fitted with a new airframe.
It was one of the largest projects of 2019. Almost a year passed between the last flight of the three helicopters in the old design and the moment they soared back into the sky with a fresh coat of paint.
The most complex was the work on one of the BO 105s which is used for aerobatics. Given that she had reached the ripe old age of 45 years, the complete forward fuselage components had to be replaced. What does that entail?
The helicopter was disassembled, components such as the entire fuel system, the flight controls and the complete electrical wiring were removed, inspected, and – where necessary – repaired. The new fuselage section was then fitted and reconnected with the other parts of the helicopter. If we were talking about a car, this would equate to an exchange of the bodywork. The process is, however, somewhat more complex in the case of a helicopter.
When the helicopter was built in 1974, the (technical) standards were very different to today. One of the greater challenges, despite the technical skills of The Flying Bull’s engineers, was to carry out this conversion in line with today’s legal regulations. This required close cooperation between The Flying Bulls, the manufacturer Airbus Helicopters Deutschland (formerly Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm), and the aviation authorities.
As soon as the fuselage component had been replaced and all adjustments had been completed, the BO 105 was transferred to Vorarlberg, where the other two BO 105s had already been repainted. After the paint job was completed, the three helicopters were transported back to Salzburg in pieces by truck. The final assembly, including all necessary tests and calibrations, took three weeks.
The procedure was a resounding success, as is proven by the fact that the technical test flights were completed without any discrepancies.
This “facelift” affects the weight – and thus the flight characteristics – of the BO 105s. “Flying her has changed since the technical modification, very much for the better,” the pilots say. She now has more “energy” and more compact flight characteristics. The individual aerobatic displays are also “easier” to fly. It is difficult to explain the changes. “One simply has to ‘feel’ it,” state the aerobatics specialists of The Flying Bulls.
The two BO 105s used for aerobatics now feature a blue logo camouflage design with a red underside. The BO 105 S, which has been adapted for film and television work, has been given a grey-silver finish. The media helicopter is still deployed for ServusTV and at numerous events.
Just click through the gallery to see the new paintwork in detail!