MD 900 Explorer

In 1988, the McDonnel Douglas helicopter division began designing a new generation multi-purpose helicopter equipped with the NOTAR system for military and civilian use. The MD 900 Explorer helicopter can equally well be used both for civilian, cargo, and passenger transport, and for army purposes to provide communications and surveillance, fire support for the army, and the fight against tanks.

The design of the helicopter under the name MDX was started by McDonnell-Douglas in 1988 and was carried out in parallel with the launch into mass production, development, testing of the first helicopters equipped with the NOTAR system, which use a jet rudder rather than a tail rotor to balance the rotor torque. The experience gained in creating these helicopters was fully used in the design of the MD900.

The first flight of the helicopter was 12/18/1992. The helicopter was built according to a single-rotor scheme, equipped with a NOTAR system and a power twin-engine installation. Since the power plant is located above the fuselage, and not in the fuselage, as is customary on previous models of McDonnell Douglas multi-purpose helicopters, almost the entire internal space of the fuselage can be used as a cargo and crew cabin. Two seats are installed in the cockpit for pilots or a passenger and a pilot depending on the purpose of the helicopter. Behind the cockpit, there is a cargo compartment, which does not usually separate from the cockpit by a partition.

Here you can install up to six-passenger seats for passengers or place two stretchers for patients. Because the cockpit floor is made at the same level, the helicopter can be used to transport goods on standard cargo pallets of the required size. Oversized cargo is loaded through the rear cargo hatch, on both sides of the front of the fuselage some doors are hinged to access the crew cabin, and access to the cargo cabin is through two sliding doors, the size of which is 1.2×1.27m. At the rear of the fuselage is a tail boom equipped with a NOTAR inkjet rudder, on which a stabilizer with trailing washers is mounted. Due to the widespread use of modern composite materials in the fuselage structure (Kevlar, carbon fiber, fiberglass) and lighter alloys, the designers managed to significantly reduce its weight.

The helicopter has a skid gear, which can be changed to a wheeled chassis if the customer so wishes. To provide the possibility of landing on water, you can install inflatable balloons.

Due to the use of two engines in the power plant and the ability to continue flying on one engine when the other engine fails, the helicopter has higher operational reliability than previous models of MD500 / 530 helicopters. The first production helicopters installed Pratt & Whitney PW206B gas turbine engines with a take-off power of 465 kW. each. It is also possible to install TurbomecaTM319 engines. The capacity of the system with fuel is 602l. The rotor of the helicopter has five blades in a plan of rectangular shape. The blades are made of composite materials and have anti-erosion linings.


  • Flight Range: 476km
  • Cruising speed: 248km / h
  • The highest altitude: 5669m
  • The highest take-off weight: 3130kg
  • Cabin Height: 1.24m
  • Cabin Length: 1.91m
  • The greatest number of passengers: 7
  • Cabin Width: 1.45m
  • Height: 3.66m
  • Length: 9.86m
Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.