Born: Germany
Primarily active in: Germany


Dieter Halff, Eurocopter GmbH President

Dieter Halff was born in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, near Berlin in 1930. He attended secondary school Johannes-Kepler-Gymnasium in the Bad Cannstatt borough of Stuttgart, in Baden-Wurttemberg; the school has roots to the 15th Century. After graduating, he studied aerospace engineering at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart (today’s Universität Stuttgart) where he discovered his lifelong interest in helicopters, graduating with a Dipl.-Ing., equivalent to a masters of engineering degree.

He started his career in 1960 at Weser Flugzeugbau in Bremen (now part of Airbus). In 1961, he movedto Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut, to work on the S-64 Skycrane, which was being evaluated by the German military at that time. In 1963, he returned to work at the same Bremen plant, which was soon merged with Focke-Wulf to become Vereinigte Flugzeugwerke (VFW, “United Aircraft Works”). With VFW, Halff worked in Istres, France, as part of the joint French-German cooperation for the development of the Transall C-160.

In 1967, Hallf moved back to Germany, where he was hired as the program manager of the helicopter division at Bölkow GmbH, later Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB, today’s Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH) in Ottobrunn, near Munich, and settled down with his family. Under his leadership, the company saw the first flight of the Bo 105, the world’s first light-twin engine helicopter and the larger MBB/Kawasaki BK 117, the basis for today’s highly successful Airbus H145 product line.

In 1978, Halff became vice-president of marketing and program for the MBB helicopter and transport division. Working in tandem with Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC, “General German Automobile Club”), he successfully built the largest fleet of ambulance helicopters in Germany, which was comprised of the Bo 105 and BK 117.

Halff was then the German co-president (1984-1987) of Eurocopter — the company established together with France’s Aérospatiale — to coordinate the common development of the German-French "Tiger" attack helicopter. He then served as the general manager of the commercial helicopter division until his retirement in 1991. His wide experience and knowledge were still in great demand, and for years he was an aviation consultant for ADAC Luftrettung for its air rescue ambulance helicopters, as well as a trainer for advanced flight instructors for Deutscher Hubschrauber Verband (DHV, “German Helicopter Association”).

Dieter Halff joined the then-American Helicopter Society (AHS) in 1962. He was a member of the Society’s Gold Circle Club, recognizing pioneers and leaders of the helicopter industry after having reached 25 years of VFS membership. He received VFS Member Emeritus status in 2012, after a half-century of continuous membership. Halff passed away in 2017.

Photo Source: Photographer unknown. Family photo.