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MD EXPLORER FLIES FOR FIRST TIME; OPENS NEW ERA OF ROTARY WING FLIGHT

 MESA, Ariz., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The McDonnell Douglas MD Explorer flew the helicopter industry into a new era today, establishing itself as the first rotorcraft of the 21st century.
 The MD Explorer, an eight-place, twin-engine advanced design helicopter, flew for 20 minutes on its maiden flight. The flight consisted of simple hover maneuvers, low speed forward, sideward and rearward flight and basic turns.
 "For a first flight, this was a winner," said Andrew Logan, vice president of commercial programs at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. "We achieved all the objectives in our plan for the flight and we are very pleased with the results."
 The company has letters of interest with non-refundable deposits for more than 250 MD Explorer aircraft. Flight testing and Federal Aviation Administration certification is expected to be complete by October 1994, with deliveries scheduled to begin immediately after the certification process is complete.
 The MD Explorer is the first new helicopter in nearly a decade to be committed to production.
 The new helicopter features the company's exclusive NOTAR(TM) system for anti-torque and directional control, which eliminates the conventional exposed tail rotor.
 "Eliminating the tail rotor is a significant advantage for helicopter operators and pilots," Logan said. "Using the NOTAR system increases safety while significantly reducing noise and pilot workload.
 "It is an excellent anti-torque system for the MD Explorer."
 McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) has delivered 34 of its smaller single-engine, five-place NOTAR-system equipped MD 520N helicopters since their introduction in October 1991.
 "Development of the MD Explorer and the success of the MD 520N are very positive steps for our company," said Dean Borgman, president of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. "These aircraft allow us to greatly expand our penetration into the commercial helicopter market, making us the key manufacturer of light single and light twin helicopters."
 Other technology advancements also are integral to the MD Explorer. The outer surface of the fuselage is made of all-composite materials, allowing engineers to design an aircraft capable of out- lifting helicopters of comparable size but which weigh more.
 Another of the aircraft's key features is its all composite, bearingless main rotor system. The system's lubrication-free, reduced part count requires very little maintenance.
 The main rotor blades will be replaceable "on condition," rather than being limited to a specific number of hours in service.
 The MD Explorer's empty weight is just over 3,000 pounds. It is capable of hauling 2,550 pounds internally or 3,000 pounds externally for a maximum gross weight of 6,540 pounds in external load operations.
 "The aircraft's performance, low operating cost and advanced technologies make it ideal for almost any helicopter use," said Logan. "It was definitely designed with the operator in mind."
 In fact, McDonnell Douglas made extensive use of a worldwide team of helicopter owners and operators to design the aircraft. This "Blue Team," as it was designated, participated in every phase of the design.
 "Blue Team members told us the kind of helicopter they need to be competitive," Logan said. "And they reminded us of that when we suggested design ideas that didn't fit the team's concept of the ideal helicopter.
 "We made changes in the design when the Blue Team said the changes were needed," he said. "It has been a unique and rewarding design experience."
 Among the design features important to the Blue Team are 50-inch sliding side-loading doors and a collective-mounted manual override for the automatic fuel control system. An Integrated Instrumentation Display System (IIDS) reduces the size of the instrument panel while providing both analog and digital readouts of flight conditions, engine operations, fuel loads and other aircraft operating data necessary to flying the aircraft.
 -0- 12/18/92
 /CONTACT: Ken Jensen of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. 602-891-2119/
 (MD)


CO: McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. ST: Arizona IN: ARO SU:

BP -- LA021 -- 8345 12/18/92 15:35 EST
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Date:Dec 18, 1992
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