This helicopter was constructed in Germany by Messerschmitt Bölkow Blohm (MBB) back in 1988 (or 1990 as some sources states). It was acquired by Saddam Hussein of Iraq and given to King Hussein of Jordan as a gift. King Hussein (1935-1999) was an enthusiastic pilot and loved to fly both airplanes and helicopters. However, after a few years of pleasure flying, the helicopter was returned to the newly established Eurocopter Deutschland, which had recently acquired MBB.
At the same time the Swedish company SOS Helikoptern Gotland AB, owned by a foundation with the same name, had just lost its Bo105 (SE-JBS
) in an accident, and needed a new aircraft for its EMS activity. The BK 117 was acquired in early-1995 and entered service as “Medicopter One” in the spring.
Flying out of Visby, on the island of Gotland, the helicopter was mainly used for inter-hospital transports across the Baltic Sea to the Swedish mainland. It made approx 300 transport missions to specialist hospitals on the mainland a year, as well as a range of local emergency medical operations on the island and some incubator transports. The machine was based in a highly modern hangar in the outer regions of the airport in Visby and had its medical crew stationed at the Visby Hospital, a few minutes away by air.
The aircraft was in service in 10 years before the owner decided to replace it with a new and modern helicopter. The company had been keen on an Eurocopter EC 145 for period of time when it finally signed the official order for the aircraft at the HeliExpo exhibition in the US on February 6, 2005. The helicopter (SE-JJC
), which became the second EC 145 in the Scandinavian market, was delivered to Gotland in late-November 2005. It entered service in early-December and retired the BK 117, which was sold to the company Australian Helicopters Ltd. The BK 117 was flown to the Stockholm-based maintenance centre Patria Helicopter at Arlanda Airport for disassembly on 5:th of December, packed onto a truck and transported to Amsterdam, from where it was flown to Australia in a Martinair Jumbo Jet cargo airliner. The new owner, Austrian Helicopters, has its base along the coast near Brisbane and has two BK 117s since before. This one is their third one and will enter service as EMS helicopter."Afterlife"
Gotland's former EMS helicopter, SE-JUL
, served as MAX Rescue with Australian Helicopters. After approximately 12 years in Australia, the helicopter continued its career to New Zealand in 2017, where it entered service as Air 5 with Otago Helicopters in Dunedin, still within the EMS role.