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Sun, Feb 12, 2012

Van Horn Aviation Moves Operations

Resumes MD 530F Main Rotor Blade Flight Testing

Rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA) will resume flight testing in March on its newly redesigned composite MD 530F main rotor blades in anticipation of FAA certification by the end of 2012. Following a series of successful ground and flight tests in April 2011, VHA engineers redesigned the main rotor blade to address control load and manufacturing issues. The redesign required new production tooling to be built at the same time the company moved into a larger facility that was renovated to accommodate the development and production of the MD 530F main blades.   

“The new 23,000 sq. ft. facility is large enough to accommodate all of our current tail rotor blade programs plus current and future main rotor blade programs,” said VHA president James R. Van Horn. “With the move completed, we have been able to refocus our attention toward tail rotor blade production and the MD 530F main rotor blade development.”

Van Horn Aviation is producing a set of the newly designed MD 530F main rotor blades. These FAA conformed blades will be installed on a test helicopter shortly after Heli-Expo for flight testing to begin in March.

The VHA MD 500 series main rotor blade shares the same NASA-designed laminar flow airfoil, shaped tip, and composite structure as VHA’s successful 206B/L composite tail rotor blade, which received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA in September 2009 and has been in production since. The goals for the new VHA blades include increasing the MD 530F’s internal gross weight and nearly tripling the blade life limit while also decreasing aircraft fuel burn rates, overall aircraft noise and direct operating costs.



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