The next generation flight deck development program for the MD Explorer light-twin engine helicopter has achieved several significant milestones. Universal Avionics and MD Helicopters have completed final vendor selections for all peripheral avionics systems. Additionally, the engineering prototype helicopter that will be the conforming article for FAA ground and flight testing is currently undergoing major overhaul to meet certification standards.
MD NextGen Explorer flight deck. Photo: Universal Avionics.
“The Universal Avionics next generation flight deck development for the MD Explorer helicopter is advancing as expected,” said Grady Dees, Universal Avionics’ director of technical sales. “Universal Avionics is currently working on finalizing specifications for engine and [Close Air Support] CAS development as well as design and construction on the systems integration test rig that will be used for both integrated testing and for demonstration / human factors evaluations.”
Universal Avionics is planning to make the next generation flight deck available for production and retrofit of any MD Explorer helicopter. This week, the Tucson, Ariz.-based avionics manufacturer is displaying a functional and interactive demonstration of the flight deck at Helitech International in Amsterdam.
“Our joint development with Universal of this Next Generation flight deck is sure to make this already iconic helicopter — known for its proprietary NOTAR technology and superior mission performance — the premier light-twin in our space,” said Bill James, MD Helicopters’ chief technology officer.