Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has taken delivery of its first Boeing MD Explorer. The company is due to begin operations on 15 December.

The eight-seat, twin-engined aircraft will be equipped for multi-mission operations, including search and rescue and firefighting.

The acquisition was made in response to a recent US Federal Aviation Administration regulation which stipulates that all helicopter operators in the Grand Canyon National Park Special Flight Rules Area must replace their fleets with "quieter aircraft" by the year 2008. Nearby tour operator AirStar Helicopters is also expected to start services in December, using a single-engine Boeing MD620N.

Source: Flight International