New models, new orders and of course, deliveries are what the excitement is all about at Heli-Expo 2014. MD Helicopters (Booth No. 6922) could celebrate a little of all that this week. Company CEO Lynn Tilton unveiled not just the existence of its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter, but that it is flying and on the fast track to completion in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- to $5 million single-engine helicopter.
With cruise speeds in excess of 130 knots, the MD 530G features increased capacity landing gear supporting the 3,750-pound max takeoff weight. This allows the operator to use the increased useful load for additional range, endurance and weapons. The aircraft will come with Moog’s weapons system platform integrated on the assembly line to facilitate lightness, according to Tilton.
Announcing new orders, Tilton estimated that the company will deliver as many as 50 helicopters this year, primarily to military customers in South America and the Middle East. The Bolivian Ministry of the Interior has ordered two MD530F helicopters for use in police and airborne security missions, such as the upcoming world security conference in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The MD530F is equipped with the 650-shp RR250-C30 engine and longer main rotor blades fine-tuned for hot/high performance, giving the helicopter the ability to hover at altitudes as high as 16,000 feet msl.
The company has also received an order for a MD 500E helicopter from Shandong Qi Xiang General Aviation, marking its first order from mainland China. The aircraft is expected to be used for agricultural spray and utility missions.
On the deliveries front the company handed over a new MD 500E to Bering Air, one of the largest rotary-wing fleet operators in western Alaska. The aircraft, the third MD ship in Bering Air’s fleet, is expected to fly more than 500 hours annually, according to the company.