Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

MBB CH-143 BK 117

The BK-117 was a civilian rigid-rotor light helicopter manufactured by MBB (now Eurocopter) in Germany. Because of the lack of availability of a CH-124 Sea King and a lack of cabin space in the CH-135 Twin Huey aircraft. The sole BK-117A3 was leased by AETE for a test program (used to evaluate Helicopter Integrated Navigation System (HINS) equipment proposed for inclusion in the ill-fated New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) program which was subsequently cancelled by the government). The BK117 offered plenty of room for test equipment and two pallets were installed along with various antennas, receivers and test instrumentation. The serial number was 143106. The test flights for the HINS evaluation were flown by AETE crews in the vicinity of Holloman and Vandenberg AFBs in the US and the aircraft was returned to MBB Canada for civilian use following termination of the program.

The test pallets were fabricated by a USAF test lab. We assembled the Honeywell Canada gear in the pallets, built a power distribution system and a test engineer station, assembled all this in the helicopter, and did the initial flight tests at Fort Erie. For these first tests, the flight crew was supplied by MBB Canada, and the test engineers were from Honeywell. For the testing on the US ranges, the flight crew was CF and the test engineers were a mix of USAF and Honeywell.

After the testing, MBB Canada converted the helicopter to an EMS configuration, and it was delivered to Sweden.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg: CH-143
Manufacturer: MBB (Eurocopter)
Crew / Passengers: two pilots & up to 10 passengers
Power Plant(s): 2 x 770 hp Lycoming LTS 101 engines
Performance: Max Speed: 163 mph (262 km/h)
Hover Ceiling: 8,300 ft ( 2,530 m) Range: 336 mi ( 541 km)
Weights: Empty: 3,891 lb ( 1,765 kg) Gross: 7,385 lb ( 3,350 kg)
Dimensions: Rotor Dia: 36 ft 1 in ( 11.00 m) Length: 42 ft 8 in ( 13.01 m)
Height: 12 ft 7 in ( 3.84 m)
Armament: None
Sole CH-143 BK-117 seen here in the test role (CF Photo)

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