Quest Aviation Solutions has put plans to develop the Gulf region’s first locally-produced helicopter on ice to take up an opportunity to become sales distributor for MD Helicopters. In a deal announced here at the Dubai Airshow this week, Quest will be appointed as the U.S. manufacturer’s representative in the UAE. It is reviewing a project launched two years ago to begin local production of a Ukrainian-designed helicopter called AVQ.
The Coanda effect, which is central to the performance of the MD Helicopters Notar (no tail rotor) and the tail-boom strakes on many other helicopters, inspired 16-year-old Ethan Chu’s design for a helicopter that won him the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award in the second annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge (http://www.helicopter2050.com).
“I was fascinated with the Coanda effect,” Chu said, “and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
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.
Speaking of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract MD Helicopters signed last year, Lynn Tilton, CEO of Mesa, Arizona-based company, said, “That’s the highlight [of 2011], to serve those who serve for love of country. And it goes back to our roots of 1964, when Hughes Helicopter [predecessor of MD Helicopters] first won a military contract.” She made the comments at a Heli-Expo 2012 press conference in Dallas yesterday.
MD Helicopters MD902, Salinas, Calif., July 21, 2008–The NTSB has determined that the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control of the helicopter stemmed from the fatigue failure of the threaded portion of the forward directional-control cable, resulting from an improperly installed lock washer.
The OEM forum yesterday was drawing to a close when MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton strode into the room, late but exuding charm. Near the end of what had been a rather somber gathering, she managed to elicit a wave of laughter as she looked around for Robinson Helicopter president and CEO Frank Robinson.
MD Helicopters Explorer Models 900 and 902 are the subject of an FAA Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2008-22-53) following several recent reports of loss of yaw control in the no-tail rotor (Notar) helicopters. The latest incidents occurred in October, both apparently caused by the separation of the vertical control rod from the actuator.
MD Helicopters of Mesa, Ariz., said five MD 600Ns have exhibited cracks in the tailcone attachment area, and that an inspection bulletin is forthcoming to operators of the 53 aircraft currently flying. Concern over the cracks surfaced following the discovery of damage to the Notar-system tailcone attachment structure during a routine inspection of the MD 600N operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department.
Helicopter manufacturers are exploring a number of technologies to reduce noise, both that perceived from the ground and inside the cabin. European manufacturers are working on several demonstration programs to reduce noise by changing the helicopter’s airframe dynamics.
MD Helicopters completed a restructuring last month in which Patriarch Partners, a New York financial firm, acquired a controlling interest in the Mesa, Ariz. helicopter manufacturer. RDM, a Netherlands-based group that purchased the company from Boeing in 1999, retains a minority interest.
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