September 2015

2015 September

Bölkow Bo 103
Ein Mann–Ein Blatt (One Man–One Blade)
First flight: September 14, 1961

The Bölkow Development KG – who later as MBB became famous with the Bo 105 helicopter – was founded in 1955 at the airport in Stuttgart in the same building as the German Helicopter Study Group (DSH) headed by Prof. Just (who had been chief aerodynamicist at Focke). With their assistance, Bölkow came up with a 2-axis (vertical and heading degree of freedom) ground-based Bo 102 Helitrainer in 1957 to drastically reduce helicopter pilot training cost. The main feature of this pilot-only vehicle was a 1-bladed glass fiber composite main and tail rotor with a balancing weight opposing it.

Further development on request of the German Ministry of Defense made it a free-flying one-person experimental helicopter Bo 103 (later Bo 103 B) with first flight Sept. 14, 1961, in Neubiberg at Munich. It was powered by one MV Agusta GA.70 engine of 61 kW (82 hp) that could lift the MTOW of only 390 kg (860 lb) and fly it as fast as 100 km/h (54 kt), but its range was limited to 100 km (60 mi). A rate of climb of 5.7 m/s (1120 ft/min) could be achieved. The main rotor blade had a radius of 3.33 m (10 ft 11 in), and the opposing balancing mass had an arm of 1.46 m (4.8 ft). In contrast to the Bo 102, which was sold in small numbers, the Bo 103 found no market, since the demand switched towards multi-seated helicopters. Only one copy was built, which is now on display at the German Helicopter Museum in Bückeburg. The Bo 102 and Bo 103 formed the basis of the Bo 105 that was very successfully manufactured beginning in 1967.

Go back to the photo for last month or check out the photo for next month

2015 History Calendar Index