For 25 years, Airbus support and services has been making a significant contribution to the operational readiness of DRF Luftrettung’s rescue helicopters, thanks to the security and rate of aircraft availability provided by its HCare Smart contract.
DRF Luftrettung operates over 50 Airbus helicopters for emergency operations at 31 bases in Germany and Austria. Each year the crews take off to more than 38,000 emergency medical services like rapid air rescue and inter-hospital transport of intensive care patients. The prerequisite for this level of activity?  Having a helicopter fleet at maximum readiness.
In March 2018, DRF Luftrettung observed a quarter-century of support by Airbus, comprised primarily by a Parts By the Hour contract through the HCare Smart range of services to ensure the short-term supply of spare parts.
Wolfgang Stein, former Technical Manager at the DRF Luftrettung’s Rheinmünster site, recalls the beginnings of the contract: “At first, it was a full maintenance contract. However, as the DRF Luftrettung continued to evolve and became a maintenance operation itself, Airbus adapted its support. This was how a partnership of trust developed over the years.”
“We want to do what we do best [so that] we achieve the best results and the highest possible level of safety,” says Krystian Pracz, Chairman of the DRF Luftrettung. “We could have our own spare parts warehouse. But given the size of our fleet, we had to consider how much the spare parts pool costs us versus the availability that we have directly from the manufacturer. As far as spare parts are concerned, we prefer to rely on reliable and fast delivery by the manufacturer – Airbus.”
DRF Luftrettung’s spare parts needs must take into account a helicopter fleet that includes the types BK117s, EC135s, H135s, EC145s and H145s. “Last year, we placed more than 2,000 orders with Airbus. The total number of parts delivered to us under the PBH contract has been over 38,000,” says Pracz. “The HCare Smart Parts By The Hour contract also ensures our flexibility and operational readiness.”
“DRF Luftrettung was not only the first customer for the H135 and H145, but also a pioneer for the PBH contract,” says Thomas Hein, Airbus Helicopters sales manager for Western Europe, highlighting the positive aspects of the company’s long and successful relationship with the DRF Luftrettung. “This is one of the most successful maintenance contracts that we have with customers today. It helps us to get the fleet into the air and to ensure that the customer is ready for missions. This kind of contract has been able to develop further, thanks in part to the experience we gained through our cooperation with the DRF Luftrettung.”

Picture: Krystian Pracz, Chairman of DRF Luftrettung, and Thomas Hein, Airbus Helicopters sales manager for Western Europe, at the ceremony marking 25 years of Parts
By the Hour between Airbus and DRF Luftrettung. The operator flies more than 50 Airbus helicopters for emergency operations at 31 bases in Germany and Austria.