Flying an EC 135 rescue helicopter in high mountainous terrain is generally a tricky undertaking for the pilot, particularly when a line has to be used to rescue a climber from a rock face in stormy weather. "In such a situation, the pilot often has to fly to within a couple of meters of the rock face and hover there until a second rescuer retrieves the person in distress," says Dr. Martin Schlottermüller, project manager for production technologies at Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH, describing the fraught scenario. The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is world market leader in civilian helicopters and also has an approximately 25 percent share of the military helicopter market. Civilian applications cover a wide range, from rescue operations to maintenance of offshore equipment.
Pilots must be able to rely on the technology
Schlottermüller emphasizes that while the pilot concentrates entirely on keeping the helicopter stable, he also has to place complete trust in the technology that went into it. This applies particularly to the most important components of the helicopter: the rotor blades. They must enable the aircraft to lift off dynamically, quickly, and safely in the air streaming toward it and ensure a very high degree of stability. Advanced high-performance rotor blades based on sandwich constructions with a ROHACELL® rigid foam core satisfy these demanding requirements.
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