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.
MD Helicopters MD 500
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.
A self-described “brotherhood” of three small but interrelated companies has moved in to shore up maintenance, modification, support, overhaul and parts availability for the approximately 450 MD500 series helicopters in the U.S. and abroad flown by its clients.
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.
MD Helicopters MD 500E, Sunrise Beach, Mo., May 25, 2008–Landing at a private helipad at Lake of the Ozarks, the MD 500 hit the water; one passenger was killed, the commercial pilot and two passengers received minor injuries and one passenger was unhurt. On approach, the helicopter slowed to a hover, then made a “very quick
When you think about the U.S. Border Patrol using helicopters, the picture in your mind probably includes cacti, not towering pine trees. That image will have to change as the post-9/11 U.S. homeland defense initiative moves to secure all of the country’s borders, both north and south.
The police helicopter unit of Columbus, Ohio, has accepted delivery of its 10th MD 500E; the ninth was delivered in December. The aircraft is on display at the MD Helicopters booth (No. 143).