MD500F’s Performance Soars with New Rotor Blades

 - March 6, 2011, 9:15 AM

MD Helicopters today at Heli-Expo unveiled a new composite main rotor blade for the MD500F, co-developed with Van Horn Aviation of Tempe, Ariz. The blade is projected to increase internal gross weight from 3,100 pounds to at least 3,350 pounds, lower operating costs, reduce acoustical noise signature, decrease fuel burn and have three times the life of the metal blade currently certified for the aircraft (10,000 hours versus 3,430 hours). Flight testing of the new blade is expected to start this month, with FAA supplemental type certification anticipated in the fourth quarter. Certification for installation on the MD520N and a shorter version of the blade for the MD500D and MD500E are expected to follow. Concurrent with unveiling its new composite blades for the MD500 series, Van Horn Aviation president Jim Van Horn announced the company is in the process of purchasing a 23,000-sq-ft facility in Tempe, Ariz., in which to manufacture the new blades once the building is occupied this summer.