No. 12590. McDonnell Douglas MD-900 Explorer (N9015P c/n 900-00015)
Photographed at the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, Paris, France, May 1995, by Bauke Post

McDonnell Douglas MD-900 Explorer

09/30/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The eight-seat twin-engined light helicopter MD-900 Explorer was announced in February 1988 as the MDX and was launched in January 1989. Hawker de Havilland Limited of Australia designed and manufactured the airframes, of which the first ten were test and trials aircraft. The flying prototypes made their first flights on December 18, 1992 (N900MD c/n 900-00002), September 17, 1993 (N900MH c/n 900-00008) and December 16, 1993 (N9208V c/n 900-00010) respectively. The first production/demonstrator Explorer (N92011 c/n 900-00011) flew on August 3, 1994, the type certificate was issued December 2, 1994 and the first delivery was a fortnight later to Petroleum Helicopters Inc. on December 16, 1994.

The pictured aircraft was the fifth production aircraft and was used as the Combat Explorer demonstrator, which could be configured for utility, medevac or combat missions. Armament and mission equipment could include seven- or nineteen-tube 2.75 in (70 mm) rocket pods, 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machinegun pods, chin-mounted FLIR night pilotage system and roof-mounted NightHawk surveillance and targeting systems. With some of these options mounted in dummy form, the aircraft was demonstrated at the Paris Air show in 1995.

In March 1999 it was leased to the USCG and received the serial 9015. Armed with a 0.30 in (7.62 mm) M240 minigun at the door station, it was used for shipboard anti-drug smuggling operations under the codename Operation New Frontier. It was returned to McDonnell Douglas in September 1999 and registered again as N9015P. In 2001 the aircraft was sold to Noordzee Helicopters Vlaanderen, Belgium, upon delivery it wore the USCG livery (without markings). Registered OO-NHF, it is performing medical transport, operating as SAMU 62 (Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente or Urgent Medical Aid Service) from Arras, France."

Created September 30, 2014