Andrew Harvey of AH Helicopter Services, which operates from four bases in south west England, says the MDH 500 is "probably the best small turbine helicopter." He is among operators who are very satisfied or satisfied with the maintenance support, dispatch reliability, operating capability and value. "The best thing," says Harvey, "is the power to weight ratio and speed."
But he says that the MDH 500 could do with more passenger comfort and the upgrade of a Fargo auxiliary fuel tank.
Another operator is unhappy with spare parts support and availability, would like the upgrade of high skids, but he says the MDH 500 is a great workhorse. Walter Enthammer sums up the positives: "It is a fast, reliable, multi-purpose helicopter which is good for special missions in the mountains, particularly for small and exposed landing sites." However he adds: "A sliding door would ease the difficulties of some operations."
Peter Klein would like to see a boost in power and operating capability. "Use is restricted. Four people aboard gives a 01:55 endurance while three passengers gives a 02:30 endurance. "It's a nice owner pilot helicopter for two people with luggage." But Klein says the best thing is the MDH 500's speed compared with the B206BIII. The most desirable upgrade, he says, would be a higher maximum take-off weight.
Operators would also like better operating capability on the MDH 520N. Roy Knaus of Heli Austria says the worst aspect is the old technology and he is unhappy with the helicopter's value. "The most desirable upgrade would be the onboard Keeperless Cargo Hook."
This is said to eliminate the risk that a load ring could escape by slipping past the keeper during operation. The keeper is replaced by a load beam system that stays open after the load is jettisoned.
Closing is accomplished by pushing upward on the load beam with the rigging. It is designed to eliminate the possibility of losing a load that inadvertently gets past the keeper. Jorgen Andersen says the MD 520N is a pilot's helicopter. The worst aspect, he adds, is the lack of space and the most desirable upgrade is on the avionics side with a synthetic vision EFIS due soon.