March 6, 2013
By Sarah Brown
The MD 540F armed scout helicopter will be outfitted with Rolls-Royce's new M250-C47E turboshaft engine.
The FAA has approved an increase of gross weight to 6,770 pounds for the MD Explorer 902, MD Helicopters announced at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo March5.
The 270-pound gain in payload for the twin-engine helicopter “paves the way for a new set of equipment and technology configurations” that will increase the aircraft’s versatility, MD Helicopters President Carl Schopfer said in a media release. The company also announced that its MD 540F armed scout helicopter will be powered by Rolls-Royce’s new variant of the M250, the M250-C47E.
CEO Lynn Tilton emphasized her goal of employing workers in the United States; the Explorer 902 on display at Heli-Expo bore a paint scheme indicating it was proudly made in the U.S.
About 135 Explorers are in service around the world, a company official said, many in use for law enforcement and emergency medical services. MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton said in a press conference that the company is aiming for a range increase next.
MD Helicopters said the M250-C47E on the MD 540F will deliver power for hot and high performance, and Tilton said the scout is well-suited to the foreign military market. “We think it could be a huge turning point for our future,” she said.
The company’s helicopters use NOTAR anti-torque systems, which replace the traditional tail rotor. Tilton said the technology is an advantage in populated areas.
Helicopter Association International,
Prolific helicopter manufacturer Robinson saw lower sales in 2014 on weak global demand, but a new engine deal and some aircraft options indicate a strong future.
Declaring this “a time for disruptors,” flamboyant MD Helicopters owner Lynn Tilton vowed to keep her storied company moving forward into her second decade of ownership.
Bell Helicopter put a new engine in its 407, got a larger payload, and upgraded avionics. It attracted a new customer.
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