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Friday, July 7, 2006

FAA Signs Off on MD902 Upgrade

The FAA in early June approved a revision to the MD902 Explorers’ type certificate, modifying its NOTAR tail boom to give the aircraft greater directional control authority and allow it to operate at a max gross weight of 6,500 lb. at 5,000 ft. MD Helicopters pursued the change, which involves a 21-in. extension of the tail boom and the addition of vortex generators, to satisfy the U.S. Army Light Utility Helicopter competition’s requirements. Despite its loss of that contract, MD plans to incorporate the change in all new-production Explorers and is producing kits to add the mods to existing ones. MD is pursuing FAA approval by late this year for the aircraft to operate at 6,500 lb. at 7,000 ft. and fly in excess of 125 kt. at that weight and altitude.

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