Today at Heli-Expo, MD Helicopters unveiled its Next Generation Cockpit for the MD Explorer, featuring an integrated, single-pilot IFR-capable flight deck from Universal Avionics. The basic system has a two-screen display, with an optional third screen available for the copilot’s position, and is controlled via a center-panel-mounted CDU or via a cursor controlled by a point-and-click button mounted on the cyclic.
The new panel will be standard equipment in the MD Explorer and will also be available as a retrofit. Prices of the retrofit or of the MD Explorer with the Next Generation Cockpit have not been set. “We hope to have it certified in the aircraft early next year,” said Chris Nehls, vice president of engineering at MD Helicopters.
The Next Generation Cockpit represents a new product for Universal Avionics and includes a new version of the company’s synthetic vision system. Universal has previously installed an integrated flight panel as an aftermarket upgrade to a Bell platform, but this is the first fully integrated panel in an OEM helicopter.