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Video - BO105 Helicopter celebrates 50 years of loops

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Here are the pictures of the first flight of the BO105, half a century ago, on 16th February 1967. This twin-engine helicopter was developed by the German manufacturer MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm) which went on to become Airbus Helicopters.

If this machine rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve seen it at the cinema in the last James Bond film, for example, performing loops over Mexico City. The BO105 was the first helicopter to perform this type of acrobatics in 1972, and continues to show off today. As for performance, the flying machine also achieved two world records in the 1970s, one for distance:  1,065 miles (1,714 km) and the other for speed: 251 mph (404 km/h).

The lightweight helicopter weighs 2 metric tons empty and can carry up to 4 passengers over almost 370 miles (600 km) and 170 mph (270 km/h). In both its civilian and military versions, the BO105's strength lies in its incredible maneuverability. This is down to what was then a major innovation: four blades made of fiberglass - a material combining flexibility and robustness.

After selling over 1,400 helicopters, production of the BO105 finally wound down in 2001, but 400 machines are still in service today. Its worthy successor is the Airbus Helicopters H135, which took over in 1996.

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