Dutch Lose Patience with MDHI

 - January 31, 2007, 8:18 AM

The government of the Netherlands has canceled a contract for eight high-gross-weight MD 902 Explorers. The March decision comes in spite of MDHI’s pleas that the company needed more time to complete certification test flights because unsuitable weather conditions precluded some testing.

MDHI claims it has completed as much as 98 percent of the test-flying program, but specific density altitude conditions–vital to demonstrating the acceptability of the 270-pound increase–had been unseasonably difficult to replicate in MDHI’s home state of Arizona. “We have been floating between here and California, trying to get the right conditions,” said MDHI law enforcement manager Dale Christman.

Despite this further setback, MDHI plans to complete the certification process. “We are through the most stringent stuff with the FAA and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency),” commented Christman.

Tom Piron, who runs MDHI’s Benelux distributor, Helifly, says he has not yet given up on the deal. “It is frustrating: achieving 7,000-foot density altitude is not normally a problem. When the weather is right, then of course we need to get the officials in. It’s coordinating both that gives us the headache.

“We just need a little luck and we can get them done,” he told AIN