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MD EXPLORER ROTOR SYSTEM CONCLUDES NASA TESTS

 MD EXPLORER ROTOR SYSTEM CONCLUDES NASA TESTS
 WASHINGTON, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The main rotor system of


the McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) MD Explorer helicopter has successfully completed more than 12 weeks of wind tunnel testing at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
 The rotor system achieved forward speeds of more than 232 miles per hour during the tests, the fastest speed ever registered in the NASA wind tunnel by a rotor system. The full-scale rotor system reached thrust levels of up to 10,000 pounds and power ratings of up to 1,000 horsepower.
 More than 900 flight conditions were tested, including hover, transition flight, cruise, high speed flight and special blade vortex interaction conditions important for acoustics. Technicians also measured the effects of higher harmonic control inputs in different flight conditions.
 The rotor system, which is made primarily of advanced composite materials, will be the first true bearingless system to become available for commercial helicopters, according to NASA officials.
 The hinges and bearings used to attach conventional rotor systems to the rotor mast and that allow the blades to flex during flight are replaced with elastic, fiberglass-type components.
 "By reducing the complexity of the system and by replacing conventional parts with components made of advanced materials, we give the helicopter a more reliable, lower maintenance, longer lasting system," said Michael McNulty, who led the test program for McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.
 "We also give the helicopter a system with greater operating performance than conventional rotor systems," he said.
 Preliminary examination of acoustic data indicates the five- bladed main rotor, particularly when combined with the helicopter's NOTAR(TM) system for anti-torque and directional control, will produce one of the quietest rotorcraft flying.
 "We are pleased that the tests show the rotor system will perform as it was designed," McNulty said. "In some respects, it is even better."
 The aircraft is designed to cruise at 170 miles per hour at a gross weight of 5,600 lb. Wind tunnel tests verify the rotor system's ability to reach speed and lift goals set for the aircraft at both low and high speeds, according to McNulty.
 McDonnell Douglas's board of directors gave final production approval for the helicopter in late April, clearing the way for continued development and first flight in December of this year. First customer deliveries are expected to follow about one year later.
 -0- 6/3/92
 /CONTACT: Ken Jensen of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company, 602-891-2119/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas ST: California, District of Columbia IN: ARO SU:


CH -- LA033 -- 6764 06/03/92 17:21 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 3, 1992
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