The MBB BK117 is a twin-engined medium utility–transport helicopter. The aircraft is capable of transporting up to 9 passengers. The majority of the helicopters are operated by various emergency services although it is also operated by private individuals, companies and executive charter operators.
On 25 February 1977, MBB and Kawasaki signed a cooperative agreement to abandon their independent efforts to design twin-engined general purpose helicopters in favour of a collaborative venture to development of a new rotorcraft for that role.
While the programme’s costs were shared equally, the workshare was divided into certain areas of the design. MBB utilised their expertise with the rigid rotor system used on the earlier Bo 105 to develop the majority of the dynamic systems and flight controls, while Kawasaki focused on the airframe, structural elements, and various other components. On 13 June 1979, MBB’s flying prototype conducted its maiden flight at Ottobrunn, Bavaria, Germany; months later, it was followed by the Kawasaki prototype at Gifu, Chūbu region, Japan on 10 August 1979.
Each company established their own final assembly line, producing the BK 117 for their respective regions. The BK 117 has proven to be popular for passenger services and VIP-transport, the cabin can be outfitted with various seating configurations, seating between seven and ten passengers. It is also used for a diverse range of operations, such as aerial crane and sling work, law enforcement, and military transport, and is exceptional as an air ambulance and search and rescue platform.