The EC135, formerly a Eurocopter project but now produced under the auspices of Airbus Helicopters, has proved highly successful. This twin-engined machine with its enclosed 'fenestron' tail rotor first took to the air in 1994 and soon enjoyed significant commercial success, proving particularly popular with the emergency services of numerous countries. There are two engine options, the EC135P versions being powered by Pratt & Whitney units, while the EC135T family uses Turbomeca engines. The German Navy is a recent operator, Marinefliegergeschwader 5 at Nordholz having started using an EC135P2+ variant provided by civilian operator DL Helicopter as a trainer during 2013. This is a cost-effective means of ensuring that student pilots destined for the Sea King and Sea Lynx gain sufficient flying hours before progressing on to those front-line types.
Photo credit: German Navy