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MD EXPLORER FLIGHT TESTS CONTINUE ASSECOND FLIGHT TEST AIRCRAFT MAKES ITS MAIDEN FLIGHT

 MESA, Ariz., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The second flying model of the eight-place, twin-turbine MD Explorer helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday, Sept. 17, at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems' facilities here.
 The new helicopter's first flight lasted approximately 40 minutes and consisted of basic flight maneuvers. The ship was flown by experimental test pilots Greg Ashe and Chan Morse.
 The first MD Explorer flew on Dec. 18, 1992. It has since accumulated more than 88 hours in the air.
 "It's like any other flight test program," said MD Explorer program general manager Jerry Ryan. "We fly it and try it. Test it and adjust it. Fly it again. Then fly it one more time just to ensure the results we got the first time were as good as we thought they were."
 Company engineers record every item of data from every flight and ground test. Then they analyze it, question it and compare it against other data and against logic and common sense.
 "Then we do it all again to be sure we're right," Ryan said.
 That's the way the MD Explorer's rigorous flight test program has proceeded. FAA certification is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1994.
 The MD Explorer project, which began in the concept stage in the mid-1980s, was announced formally by McDonnell Douglas in 1989. The new helicopter will enter service in 1994.
 Like its sister ship, the MD 520N, the MD Explorer operates with the company's exclusive NOTAR(R) system for anti-torque and directional control.
 The MD 520N, which entered service in 1991, is the quietest helicopter yet certificated by the FAA and early indications are that the MD Explorer is equally quiet.
 The first flying MD Explorer completed its 88 hours in 80 actual flights.
 "The flight tests have gone pretty well," according to test manager Joe Flint. "We should have no trouble meeting the certification deadline."
 So far the helicopter has exceeded 20,000 feet in altitude and 172 knots true air speed. It has surpassed 3.0 "Gs" (three times the force of gravity) and achieved 40 knots in sideward and rearward flight.
 Additionally, according to Flint, fuel economy "is everything we thought it would be" and installed engine power is "fully in line with performance requirements."
 And MD Explorer test pilots continue to praise the "impressive field of view" from the aircraft.
 The aircraft has been extremely reliable throughout the test program, Flint said. "We flew the first 55 hours in nine weeks, which is incredible for a test aircraft.
 "We only missed one flight and had only one delay because of aircraft reliability," he said. The delay and cancellation were aircraft instrument-related and not associated with critical flight control or engine, drive-train or rotor systems.
 A third and fourth flying MD Explorer will join the airborne fleet later this year. The certification process will include more than 900 hours of flying by four aircraft.
 -0- 9/20/93
 /CONTACT: Ken Jensen, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems, 602-891-2119/


CO: McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems ST: California IN: ARO AIR SU:

JB-EH -- LA021 -- 3671 09/20/93 12:26 EDT
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Date:Sep 20, 1993
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