MDHI’s single-engine Block 1 glass cockpit upgrade achieves FAA milestone

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) has announced the successful completion of all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type inspection authorization (TIA) requirements for certification of its first all-glass cockpit for the MD 600N. The MD 600N is the first of the company’s four single-engine models to feature the Block 1 cockpit upgrade and complete TIA.

All MDHI single engine type certificates - to include 600N, 369FF, 520N and 369E - are anticipated to meet all documentation, testing and FAA review requirements for type certificate amendment within 12 months. MDHI Photo
All MDHI single engine type certificates – to include 600N, 369FF, 520N and 369E – are anticipated to meet all documentation, testing and FAA review requirements for type certificate amendment within 12 months. MDHI Photo
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With the successful completion of the TIA milestone, MDHI remains on track to receive FAA approval for a 600N type certificate amendment this summer.

MD Helicopters announced a comprehensive cockpit modernization effort at the 2017 HAI Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas. Together with industry-leaders Aspen Avionics and Howell Instruments, MDHI’s integrated product team was able to help secure technical standard orders (TSO) for the new cockpit components, paving the way for an accelerated review and approval process.

“It is a truly an exciting time at MD Helicopters,” said Craig Kitchen, chief commercial officer for MD Helicopters. “Inspired by the vision of the CEO, our internal teams have never been more aligned or more focused on ensuring our operators fly not only the safest aircraft in their class, but the most advanced.”

Concurrent to the MD 600N effort, MD Helicopters is also integrating the Block 1 cockpit into the MD 530F. FAA review and approval for a type certificate change for new 369FF models is expected later this summer.

MD Helicopters’ standard single-engine glass cockpit will feature:

  • Howell instruments electronic flight instrument system;
  • Garmin G500 (GDU620) PFD/MFD;
  • Garmin GTN 650 touchscreen NAV/COM/GPS; and
  • L-3 ESI 500 electronic standby instrument.

Previously announced sales to Sapura Aero (MD 600N), Fresno County Sherriff’s Office (MD 530F), and Prince George’s County Police Department (MD 520N), will all be delivered with the Block 1 glass cockpit.

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Mike Bartlett, vice president of product engineering for MD Helicopters commented, “Professionalism, teamwork and subject matter expertise has been the cornerstone of this modernization effort. We have cultivated a genuine symbiotic relationship between our internal engineering, experimental flight test, and certification organizations, our industry partners, and the FAA that has played an integral role in expediting both the development and the certification effort for this production modification.”

“This was an aggressive schedule that demanded clear and open communication both internally and with the FAA,” said Richard Beausoleil, director of engineering services for MD Helicopters, Inc. “We are pleased with how this program is progressing through FAA certification, and have benefitted significantly from our great working relationship with the FAA through every phase of this project.”

“Our single-engine operators will love the new cockpit,” concludes Kitchen. “Regardless of the mission, the Block 1 glass system is a safe, affordable solution that reduces pilot workload and improves overall operational efficiency in even the most demanding environments.”

All MDHI single engine type certificates – to include 600N, 369FF, 520N and 369E – are anticipated to meet all documentation, testing and FAA review requirements for type certificate amendment within 12 months.

One thought on “MDHI’s single-engine Block 1 glass cockpit upgrade achieves FAA milestone

  1. Was this retrofit done by MD or a 3rd party? Was wondering if such a retrofit was available for an AW109 S?

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