The MD-600N is a stretched eight seat development of the five seat MD-520N helicopter.
McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems (MD Helicopters since 1999) first announced it was developing a stretched MD-520N in late 1994, and unveiled the first flying prototype of the new helicopter, at that time designated the MD-630N, at the Heli Expo in Las Vegas in January 1995. This prototype, a modified MD-530F, had made its first flight on November 22 1994. The MD-630N created high levels of interest at the Heli Expo and McDonnell Douglas gave the go-ahead for the production aircraft, redesignated the MD-600N, in March 1995.
The prototype was modified to MD-600N standard with a production standard engine and tail boom and flew in November 1995, followed the next month by the first MD-600N production prototype. Unfortunately this second prototype was destroyed by fire following a forced landing in May 1996, caused by the main rotor contacting the tail boom during extreme control reversal tests.
Thus the third prototype, which first flew on August 9 1996, featured modifications to increase the main rotor-tail boom clearance. Certification was awarded on May 15 1997 with first deliveries beginning in June that year. Further performance improvements were certificated in mid 1998.
McDonnell Douglas stretched the MD-520N fuselage by inserting a plug aft of the cockpit/cabin bulkhead and stretching the NOTAR tail boom. The larger fuselage allows for an extra (middle) row of seats. Other differences compared with the MD-520N include a new six blade main rotor (the MD-520N has a five blade unit) and a more powerful Allison (now Rolls-Royce) 250 turboshaft.
Since the 1997 merger with Boeing the former McDonnell Douglas civil helicopter lines were up for sale. Bell's plans to acquire the Boeing civil helicopter lines were thwarted by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1998. However, in early 1999 Dutch owned MD Helicopters acquired the lines.
MD Helicopters developed a yaw stability augmentation system for the MD-600N to reduce pilot workload, which became available as an option from mid 2001.
Substantial numbers of the MD-600N were delivered to e.g. the United States Border Patrol and the Turkish Police.
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