Arizona-headquartered MD Helicopters (MDHI) has integrated its digital, all glass cockpit solutions for the MD 500E and MD 520N single engine helicopters. Based on the FAA-certified flight deck for the MD 530F, the cockpit design for these 500 series aircraft will feature high resolution LCD displays housed in an elegant slim line console.
“It has been my vision since acquiring MD Helicopters to enhance the elegantly simple engineering of these iconic airframes with next generation technologies that are both design and function forward,” says CEO Lynn Tilton. “Developed with careful consideration of pilot feedback, these new avionics solutions for the MD 500E and MD 520N are elegant, refined and true to the MD Helicopters legacy of ensuring our operators fly not only the safest aircraft in their class, but the most advanced.”
Like the MD 530F, the MD 500E and MD 520N cockpit solutions will include Garmin G500H TXi electronic flight instrument displays; Howell Instruments electronic engine instruments and crew alert systems; and Garmin GTN 650 touchscreen NAV/COM/GPS.
The portrait-oriented, high-resolution LCD displays allow for the reconfiguration of the cockpit console to provide forward visibility for both pilot and co-pilot; an enhancement that is perfectly suited for MD 500E/MD 520N operators who execute long-line and other utility operations.
With the integration of these solutions, all of MDHI's single-engine aircraft will feature performance-enhancing all glass digital flight decks.
It is anticipated that the slim line flight deck configuration will be FAA approved for production and as a type design option by the end of Q3 2020, with deliveries available in 2021.
The company has also completed all test and reporting requirements related to the max gross take off weight (MGTOW) increase from 3,100 to 3,350 pounds for its MD 530F single engine helicopter. Tilton adds: “Our internal team has worked diligently, with a meticulous focus on quality, safety and performance, to ensure the FAA-required testing and reporting requirements were completed and documented flawlessly.”
MD Helicopters' experimental flight test engineering team battled a number of environmental factors, including pressure altitude, temperature and wind conditions, while conducting a comprehensive array of tests required to ensure the aircraft will continue to meet or exceed all FAA performance and safety requirements at the new max weight. Tests included performance and handling; acoustics; flight load; and height velocity.
“I am very proud of my team for their continued focus on advancing the capabilities of our aircraft,” he concludes. “The hot-high capability of the MD 530F was already best in class. With the formal certification of this weight increase we are confident it will remain a preferred platform for law enforcement and utility operators for decades to come.”
MDHI anticipates FAA certification by the end of 1Q 2020.