MD Helicopters and Columbia Helicopters are developing an upgrade for the MD520N which will boost the hot-and-high performance of the NOTAR-equipped light-single.

The pair will integrate the Rolls-Royce M250-C30 engine into the helicopter, replacing the existing -C20 model, with the modification to be covered by a supplemental type certificate.

MD 530N-c-MD Helicopters

Source: MD Helicopters

Light-single is equipped with NOTAR anti-torque system

Approval for the conversion is expected by the end of 2023, says MD Helicopters.

“There are 85 MD520N helicopters flying today. This engine upgrade offers an improvement for those aircraft by significantly boosting power, performance, and cost savings for operators,” says chief executive Brad Pedersen.

Upgrades will be performed by selected MD Helicopters service centres and are expected to take one to two months to complete.

Benefits of the -C30 engine upgrade at 4,700ft density altitude include the ability to hover with 136kg (300lb) of additional payload, a 15% increase in available power, and improved maintenance costs.

MD Helicopters’ NOTAR design removes the traditional tail rotor and instead employs directed air flow around the tail boom for anti-torque control.

Additionally, MD Helicopters is offering an increased maximum gross take-off weight upgrade to all operators of the MD530F, raising the figure to 1,520kg from 1,400kg.