Warplanes: December 15, 2000

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only a single large penetrating warhead.) --Stephen V Cole

The US Border Patrol has purchased 11 MD600N helicopters and wants to buy 34 more for $1.3 million each. The General Accounting Office has recommended suspending this order until problems with the aircraft are resolved. Border Patrol pilots reported that the aircraft are "generally difficult to operate and fatiguing to fly". Two of the three police agencies flying the MD600N report the same problems. In addition, the aircraft were out of service 50% of the time due to engine repairs, lack of spare parts, and awaiting approval for modifications. McDonnell Douglas Helicopters says that the problems are fixed by a new series of upgrades and refits, which reduce pilot fatigue by improving stability and replacing the seats. Other improvements replace control cables and install a sand filter for the engine. The GAO says that these improvements won't help the availability rate and "do not address the pilot lack of confidence" in the

 


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