Next Generation Flight Deck Program for the MD Explorer® Reaches Important Milestones

Universal Avionics and MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) have partnered to bring the most advanced technology into the flight deck of the world-renown and redesigned light-twin helicopter preferred by law enforcement, air-rescue and emergency medical services organizations around the globe. The program is well underway with many significant progress updates.

“The Universal Avionics Next Generation flight deck development for the MD Explorer helicopter is advancing as expected,” says Grady Dees, Universal Avionics’ director of Technical Sales. “Universal Avionics is currently working on finalizing specifications for Engine and 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,” he adds.

At the MDHI Mesa facility, final vendor selections for all peripheral avionics systems have been completed and documentation for installation and approval, as well as preliminary systems safety assessments, are in work. System requirements reviews are also ongoing. Of particular note, the engineering prototype helicopter that will be the conforming article for FAA ground and flight test is undergoing a major overhaul/rework to meet the latest designs and standards.

“This collaboration with Universal Avionics is a reinforcement of MDHI’s commitment to advancing our brand and evolving our product in accordance with the MDHI legacy of advancement through innovation and the infusion of technology-based capabilities,” says Bill James, MD Helicopters’ chief technology officer. “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.”

The Next Generation single-pilot IFR-capable flight deck is available through MDHI for production and retrofit of any MD Explorer helicopter. It is designed to ensure the MD Explorer maintains its position as the most capable, cost-effective and versatile light-twin helicopter available. Specifically tailored for the low altitude operations of rotorcraft, the new flight deck features large format high-resolution LCD displays with LED backlighting. A collective-mounted Cursor Slew Switch allows for a unique “point and click” display control allowing pilots to keep “hands on, head up” during all phases of flight for unprecedented situational awareness.

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