MD Helicopters, Inc. has announced a new agreement with the Columbus Division of Police, Columbus, Ohio, US, to upgrade its two remaining MD500E helicopters. The two E models will be overhauled and re-certified as F-models with zero-time engines in a period of just a few weeks, said the manufacturer. The FAA-approved factory recertification takes place at MD Helicopters’ manufacturing facility and completions centre in Mesa, Arizona, the firm explained.
"Our FAA-approved E-to-F conversion programme is an outstanding way for operators to upgrade from the E-model to what is essentially a new, factory-built FAA-certified F-model at a fraction of the cost,” said Nick Nenadovic, vice-president aftermarket and customer support for MD Helicopters. “In just a few weeks, these aircraft will return to service stronger, faster and more capable of executing their mission than ever before."
As with the Columbus Police Department’s four previous E-to-F conversions, the primary enhancements will increase the hot-and-high performance capability of the aircraft as well as improve the operational range and flight time, said MD Helicopters. They include: an engine upgrade from the Rolls Royce 250-C20B to the more powerful RR250-C30, replacement of the blades and stabilisers, installation of the Garmin G500H dual-screen electronic flight display, and addition of a Fargo auxiliary fuel tank.
Lt Jack Harris, Columbus Police Department Aviation Section, commented: “The Helicopter Unit plays a critical role in the direct support of ground patrol officers in the execution of suspect searches and apprehensions, vehicular pursuits, and delivering aid to other law enforcement agencies throughout Central Ohio. Air support for our officers delivers an invaluable degree of force multiplication that contributes to the safety of citizens and officers alike.”
The Columbus Police Department converted four of their MD500E aircraft to certified F-models via this same programme in 2015. With the completion of these final conversion efforts, the Helicopter Unit will operate six single-engine turbine MD530F helicopters flown by 16 sworn officers and supervisors, making them the second largest all-MD municipal law enforcement aviation unit in the US, said the manufacturer.
The newly certified MD530F helicopters are due to be delivered this summer.