For Phoenix Heliparts, this year’s Heli-Expo show resulted in the sale of two helicopters, thanks to the display of the rebuilt MD500 flown for the television show Magnum, P.I. Based in Mesa, Ariz., Phoenix Heliparts celebrated its 10th anniversary at the show, where on March 5, Magnum, P.I. stars Larry Manetti and Roger Mosley signed “The Chopper.” On June 3, The Chopper receives its official Hawaiian blessing as it enters service in the Paradise Helicopters fleet at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu.
MD Helicopters MD 500
As the first new model introduced since Lynn Tilton’s Patriarch Partners bought MD Helicopters (MDHI) in 2005–and rescued the manufacturer from the brink of collapse–the MD 540F armed scout helicopter not only marks the continued evolution of a storied platform that traces its lineage back to the Hughes 500D. It also symbolizes renewed hope for the company’s future.
From a husband-and-wife operation launched 10 years ago in the family garage in Mesa, Ariz., Phoenix Heliparts has grown into major player in the art of restoring older helicopters to a new and useful life.
The company’s main facility in Mesa, about 14 miles north of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, now totals about 45,000 sq ft and there is an additional 25,000 sq ft and a designated landing area at the airport for flight testing.
A new airworthiness directive for the MD Helicopters MD500N, MD600N and MD900 requires determining the cure date for each Notar fan blade tension-torsion strap (T-T strap). The purpose is to establish a calendar-time retirement life, mark each T-T strap with the expiration date, create a component record card and revise the airworthiness limitations section of the maintenance manual.
The field of companies offering armed scout helicopters to the U.S. Army and other militaries has grown with the addition of MD Helicopters, which is proposing the MD 540F, an upgrade of its MD 530F light helicopter, equipped with a weapons management system from Israel’s Elbit Systems. The offering is based on the same airframe MD Helicopters supplies to Boeing for the AH-6i, which is also a competitor for the Army’s armed aerial scout (AAS) program.
Twenty-first century technology meets a 20th century helicopter this week at the MD Helicopters booth (No. 1618), where Sagem’s ICDS-8 integrated cockpit display system is on view in an MD530 panel.
MD Helicopters (MDH) of Mesa, Ariz., has arrived at Heli-Expo with three display aircraft (an MD500E, MD530F and MD902 Explorer) and a handful of product development announcements. Information on 2010 sales figures and 2011 orders will likely be divulged by CEO Lynn Tilton at the company’s press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. today, but there is plenty to see and talk about beforehand.
MD Helicopters is expected to begin offering a glass cockpit for new MD500 series beginning next month. United Rotorcraft Solutions is finishing flight testing on the STC it is developing for MD. United president David Brigham said the STC will also be offered as a retrofit for existing 500s through MD’s repair station in Mesa and through his company. He estimates installation time to be two to three weeks.
Several law enforcement agencies recently completed Night Flight Concepts’s (Booth No. 1024) “Turn Green, Turn-Key” night-vision-goggle training. The agencies included the Atlanta Police Department and the Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff’s office for the MD 500E, and EC130 and EC135, respectively.
The fiery wastelands of Hawaii’s vast volcano fields, among the world’s biggest and most violently active, are one of the Pacific Rim’s biggest tourist attractions and the kind of sightseeing lure best suited to helicopters. The forbidding landscape of lava lakes and fiery fountains is best viewed from the air due to its largely liquid nature and with little in the way of inhabitants to annoy.
- Page 1