MD Helicopters MD Explorer
|A London's Air Ambulance MD900 over the Biggin Hill Airshow 2008|
|Role||Light twin helicopter|
|Manufacturer||McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems
MD Helicopters, Inc.
|First flight||18 December 1992|
|Retired||United States Coast Guard|
|Status||Active in production|
|Primary users||Mexican Navy
Luxembourg Air Rescue
Drug Enforcement Administration
The MD Helicopters MD Explorer is a light twin utility helicopter. Designed in the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems, it is currently produced by MD Helicopters, Inc. There have been two models, the original MD 900, and its successor, the MD 902.
Design and development
In January 1989, McDonnell Douglas Helicopters officially launched the development of the Explorer, initially referred to as MDX. The Explorer was the first McDonnell Douglas helicopter to incorporate the NOTAR system from its initial design. McDonnell Douglas partnered with Hawker de Havilland of Australia to manufacture the airframes. 10 prototypes were built with seven being used for ground tests. McDonnell Douglas Helicopters became a launch customer for Pratt & Whitney Canada's PW200 series of engines, with an exclusive agreement to power the first 128 Explorers with two PW206As. Meanwhile, plans to offer the Turbomeca Arrius as an option were dropped. The first flight of the Explorer took place on 18 December 1992, with ship #2 (N900MD). FAA certification for the Explorer was granted on 2 December 1994, with JAA certification following shortly after.
In September 1997, a range of improvements were introduced, including PW206E turboshafts with higher single engine inoperative ratings, revised engine air inlets, improved NOTAR inlet design and a more powerful stabiliser control system. Benefits include improved range and endurance and an increased maximum takeoff weight. This enhanced Explorer was unofficially designated the MD 902.
In September 2000, the Explorer has been delivered with the further improved PW207E turboshaft, with improved hot and high and one engine inoperative performance.
The MD Explorer features the NOTAR anti-torque system, with benefits including increased safety, far lower noise levels and performance and controllability enhancements. Instead of an anti-torque tail rotor, a fan exhaust is directed out of slots in the tail boom, using the Coandă effect for yaw control. Boeing retains the design rights to the NOTAR technology despite selling the former McDonnell Douglas civil helicopter line to MD Helicopters in early 1999. The Explorer also features an advanced bearingless five blade main rotor with composite blades, plus carbonfibre construction tail and fuselage.
- MD 900 Explorer
- Initial Production model, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206A (or PW206E or PW207E) turboshaft engines.
- MD 901 Explorer
- Civil utility transport model, powered by two Turbomeca Arrius turboshaft engines. None ordered.
- MD 902
- Marketing name for an enhanced version with Category A approval and powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206E or PW207E. Enhanced version has additional engine isolation features and changes to the Integrated Instrument Display System. Older helicopters (except for the first seven built) can be modified to the enhanced version.
- MH-90 Enforcer
- Armed version for the United States Coast Guard flown by the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron from 1998 to 2000.
- Combat Explorer
- One demonstrator helicopter displayed at the 1995 Paris Air Show.
- Essex Air Ambulance
- Greater Manchester Police
- Humberside Police
- London's Air Ambulance
- South Yorkshire Police 
- West Yorkshire Police 
- Yorkshire Air Ambulance 
- Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004
- Crew: 1–2
- Capacity: 6 Passengers
- Payload: 2,565 lb internal or 3,000 lb slung load (1,163 kg or 1,361 kg respectively)
- Length: 32 ft 4 in (9.85 m)
- Rotor diameter: 33 ft 10 in (10.31 m)
- Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m)
- Disc area: 899.0 sq ft (83.52 m2)
- Empty weight: 3,375 lb (1,531)
- Max. takeoff weight: 6,250 lb (2,835 kg) (internal load), 6,900 lb (3,129 kg) (slung load)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206E turboshaft, 550 shp (410 kW) (continuous) each
- Never exceed speed: 140 knots (161 mph, 259 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 134 knots (154 mph, 248 km/h) at sea level (max. cruise)
- Range: 293 nmi (337 mi, 542 km) at 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
- Endurance: 3 hr 12 min
- Service ceiling: 17,500 ft (5,335 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)
- Hover ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,400 m) (in ground effect, International Standard Atmosphere)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Agusta A 119
- Bell 427
- Bell 429
- Mitsubishi MH2000
- MBB/Kawasaki BK 117
- Eurocopter EC 135
- Eurocopter EC 145
- HAL Dhruv
- Related lists
- Frawley, Gerard: The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, page 156. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7
- Warwick, Graham. "Rotorcraft Power: PW206A described.". Flight International. periodical. 13–19 July 1994. Retrieved on 11 October 2009.
- Federal Aviation Administration Type Certificate Data Sheet H19NM
- Federale Politie – Police fédérale
- "Landespolizei MD 900". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "ORFK". index.hu. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Heliservices About Us - MD902 Explorer". www.heliservices.com.hk. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Luxembourg Air Rescue - fleet". .lar.lu. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Grand Ducal Police LX-PGA". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "MD902 serial MP-032 Mexican Navy". aeroflight.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Essex Air Ambulance G-EHAA". essexairambulance.uk.com. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Greater Manchester Police G-GMPX". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Humberside Police Authority G-HPOL". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- "The Helicopter". London's Air Ambulance. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "South Yorkshire Police G-SYPS". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- "West Yorkshire Police G-CMBS". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "UK Emergency Aviation - Air Ambulance Gallery - G-SASH". ukemergencyaviation.co.uk. 2005–2012.
- "Home of Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance". Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
- "CalStar - Fleet". calstar.org. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "DEA N5646". aeroboek.nl. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Helicopter Training Academy". nps.gov. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Helicopter Service". mymuhealth.org. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "USCG MD900 Explorer". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Jackson 2003, pp. 679–680.
- Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.
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