Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities is expected to ask its 27 member nations this month to certify the Boeing MD Explorer capable of category "A" performance.
The validation by the JAA paves the way for the MD Explorer, in its 902 configuration, to be certified and to operate throughout the JAA community. The action will make the twin-engine, 8-place MD Explorer the first helicopter in its weight classification to achieve the higher safety, reliability and performance category.
Category A-rated helicopters are capable of safely continuing flight during a landing or takeoff on a single engine if necessary. The rating is an operational requirement in most European countries. In a separate action, Japan's Civil Aeronautics Board is expected to award category A status to the MD Explorer this month.
Boeing delivered the first MD Explorer in its 902 configuration in May to Tomen Aerospace, of Japan, which will use the aircraft in electronic news gathering. The second 902-configured aircraft was delivered in June to Police Aviation Services, of the United Kingdom, which will place the aircraft in service as a police and air medical aircraft.
Boeing will build approximately 10 additional MD Explorers, all in the 902 configuration, by the end of 1998.
The new helicopter incorporates advances in technology, more powerful engines and improvements in the aircraft's basic design that result in better performance and lower direct operating costs for its operators. The enhanced performance includes 8 percent greater range and 4 percent more endurance, plus the ability to carry 250 pounds more payload than the original MD Explorer.