Air International 1994-12
R.Dorr - Explorer - NOTAR Comes of Age
McDonnell Douglas Explorer.
The first three flying Explorers, photographed at Mesa, Arizona, during their flight test programmes. They comprise the second (centre), eighth (top) and tenth (bottom) airframes produced. The other airframes are being used for ground testing.
Although advertised as a ‘21st century helicopter', the first flying prototype, N900MD. is a hare-bones airframe, devoid of other than basic avionics and lacking a stability augmentation system or autopilot.
Second fiying prototype, N900MH, sporting a silver colour scheme and instrumented nose probe, hovers during an early test flight.
This view of the third flight test Explorer. N9208V, illustrates the clean lines of the aircraft. Note the ventral yaw control aperture at the rear of the tail boom.
The first Explorer fuselage under construction at the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company's facility at Mesa during 1992. Of particular interest are the gearbox mounting, bearingless rotor hub and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206A installations.
Rear-end of the Explorer, illustrating the unique NOTAR anti-torque system and the split upper and lower rudder segments.
A close-up view of the composite bearingless main rotor hub. A conscious effort was made to keep the Explorer's design simple.
Basic cockpit of the first flying prototype during its visit to Blackbushe, Hampshire, for the start of its European sales tour in September 1994.
McDonnell Douglas MD Explorer