EC145 and UH-72 Book Review
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||September 2015||Title||EC145 and UH-72|
|Author||Samuel Prétat||Publisher||Editions Minimonde 76|
|Format||80 pages, softbound||MSRP (Euro)||35€|
One of the great multi-role helicopter designs was the Messerschmitt-Blokow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105, which served in a wide variety of missions including rescue, air ambulance, armed scout, tank killer, and more. MBB, teamed with Kawasaki, developed a larger, more powerful version of the aircraft as the BK-117 which was also twin-engined and featured a high-mounted tail boom allowing rear clamshell door access to the aircraft interior. This feature made the BK-117 an ideal air ambulance, but it was capable of the similar range of missions as its smaller brother, the Bo 105, and more.
When MBB was merged with Aerospatiale in 1992, the new company was designated Eurocopter and the BK-117 was dovetailed into the Eurocopter family as the EC145. As the aircraft continued to evolve within the technology sphere of Eurocopter (later rebranded Airbus Helicopters in 2014), the EC145 has been upgraded with better engines, improved avionics, FADEC engines, and the most visible distinction - replacement of the conventional tail rotor with a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor without compromising rear clamshell door access to the main cabin.
The US Army was looking for a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for their Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program which intended to replace the remaining UH-1H and OH-58A/C helicopters. Several US manufacturers were convinced that they would win the LUH program, so it was a rude shock when the Army announced EADS North America as the winner with the EC-145 derivative. Designated as UH-72A Lakota, the aircraft is a simplified EC145 built in the US and and designed for non-combat roles which free up UH-60 Black Hawks which are designed for combat to be deployed.
This monograph, published in both English and French, provides a nice look at the history, design, features, and details of each variant of the aircraft. The title is also well-illustrated with color images of the aircraft in a variety of configurations and in a variety of detailed looks around the airframe, both during assembly and during maintenance. There is also a nice look at many of the improvements to the design including (finally) a version designed for armed operations and designated as EC635 (now as H135M). The title also provides essential tables and data to help understand the differences between the variations of the BK-117/EC145/UH-72 presented here.
Whether you're an aviation enthusiast frustrated with the lack of good information on this aircraft or a scale modeler wanting to tackle the Revell kits with a eye toward detailing and modification possibilities, this monograph is a must-have for your technical library. This title is available directly from the publisher (link below).
My sincere thanks to Minimonde76 Publishing for the review copy!