Feedback May 2012

By Staff Writer | May 1, 2012
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Presidential Helicopter History

I read with much interest Doug Nelms’ “Army 12th: Flying The Brass,” in the April 2012 issue of Rotor & Wing. It is worthwhile noting that, for many years, the U.S. Army also transported the presidents of the United States as part of the Executive Flight Detachment (“Army 1”). During the administration of President Gerald Ford, however, then-Chief of Staff Dick Cheney collaborated with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had been a Naval aviator during peacetime, convincing President Ford that the Army was no longer needed to carry out those missions.

That left the Marines’ HMX-1 (“Marine 1”) unit to carry them out alone. President Ford immediately accepted Cheney and Rumsfeld’s “advice” without even taking the matter under advisement. Thus ended the stellar careers of many Army Rotor pilots, practically all of who had also flown in Vietnam.


Rotor & Wing subscribers interested in the Army’s role in flying the Presidents would most likely find Army 1 pilot LTC, (Ret.) Gene Boyer’s book, “Inside the President’s Helicopter” (Cable Publishing), an extremely interesting read in that regard.

Marc Phillip Yablonka
Distant War: Recollections of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

The Bright Future of MD Helicopters

Have no doubt. The days of merely fighting for survival are over. Since acquiring MD Helicopters and setting about to fix the supply chain issues that plagued the company under its former owners, Patriarch Partners has given MD a complete makeover. It is once more a viable company with an incredibly bright future.

Having a knack for taking companies with strong foundations and removing obstacles, CEO Lynn Tilton has allowed once again the diamond that MD is, to be brilliant. MD has always been a great company with tremendous brand capital. MD has even spawned its own replacement parts, refurbishment imitators that feed off of the MD product. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, that says it all. â–¶

R&W’s Question of the Month:  Should unmanned helicopters and other drone aircraft be allowed to use commercial airspace? Why or why not? What kinds of restrictions should be put in place?
Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information below.

Naysayers and pundits will always attempt to cast doubts, or get confused because Tilton does not look like the typical Wall Street cookie-cutter mold, however, her reputation and success clearly indicates she has turned around more distressed companies than any of them did.

NOTAR is a great technology. If you were weaned on a tail rotor authority, it can be hard to accept, unless you have to. Loss of tail rotor authority not withstanding. My vote is for the 530F.

Andre Leonard
Aircraft Leasing Specialist
Marina del Rey, Calif.

Praise for 540F, MD

MD has a very good product and the 160th has proved a beefed up MD500 model aircraft is a workhorse. Very fast and more maneuverable than any other light turbine ship on the market. I have flown MD500Es for 14 years in law enforcement and we would love to own a 500 model with a C47 engine to make that helicopter usable in all missions with no power issues. Love their product.

Mark Teachman
Police Officer/Helicopter Pilot
Oklahoma City Police Dept Air Support Unit

MD540F’s Proof of Life

There’s life in the old bird yet, especially when all that’s “old” is the basic layout. Congratulations!

Name Withheld


An MD600 photo on page 16 of the March 2012 issue was incorrectly identified.
In a separate article on page 27, Donaldson’s Mike Scimone related a story where he once found a bat in the particle separator of an MH-6 Little Bird, and not the helicopter’s engine. We sincerely regret the errors.

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