Huntington Beach Air Support Bureau Achieves More Thant 70,000 Accident-Free Flight Hours

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Ashley Sanchez

MD Helicopters celebrates 70,000+ accident-free flight hours by Huntington Beach Air Support Bureau’s all-NOTAR® MD 520N fleet

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) celebrates Huntington Beach Police Department’s Air Support Bureau with a special commendation for its outstanding record of over 70,000 accident free flight hours. The Huntington Beach Air Support Bureau began flying MDHI-model helicopters in 1984 with the iconic MD 500E. The department acquired its current all-NOTAR fleet of three (3) MD 520N helicopters between 1992 and 2002. Designed to reduce noise by an average of 50% versus helicopters with tail rotors, NOTAR-equipped helicopters are among the quietest helicopters available worldwide.

“We are proud to celebrate this achievement with the Huntington Beach Air Support Bureau,” said Craig Kitchen, Chief Commercial Officer for MD Helicopters. “The Huntington Beach Police department has been part of the MDHI family for more than 30 years; and one of our most dedicated advocates of the MD 520N and our exclusive NOTAR, no tail rotor technology.”

“The MD 520N has proven to be a very good platform for our Air Support Bureau,” commented Huntington Beach Police Department Aero Bureau Sergeant Chris Nesmith. “Noise is the number one citizen complaint regarding Air Unit operations nationally. The noise abatement offered by the NOTAR no-tail rotor technology, and the performance characteristics of these aircraft – speed, payload, reliability – have allowed them to play an integral role in more than 5,500 calls for service annually.”

Since its inception in 1968, the Huntington Beach Police Department’s Air Support Bureau, known by residents as “HB-1”, has patrolled the skies keeping an eye on the community. Four pilots and two mechanics support the fleet to ensure 7-day-a-week availability. Decades of experience, and thousands of hours of flight time, combined with meticulous maintenance on the helicopters, has helped maintain the Air Support Bureau’s reputation of being accident free.

In addition to a reduced noise profile, NOTAR Technology delivers:

  • Greater Safety Studies have shown that 21 percent of all crashes are due to tail rotor strikes or loss of tail rotor effectiveness; NOTAR® systems eliminate these problems.
  • Reduced Pilot Workload Using the Coanda Effect to provide tail boom lift and anti-torque, the system is more stable and easier to control. This effect reduces the sensitivity to wind direction on helicopter control.
  • Reduced Aircraft Vibration The inherent stability of the standard MD 500 is further improved by the elimination of the exposed tail rotor assembly, which reduces overall helicopter vibrations and increases passenger comfort while reducing pilot fatigue.  

“It is truly an honor to know our aircraft has played a part in improving the productivity of the Huntington Beach Police department, and protecting the citizens of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa for more than 25 years,” Kitchen concluded. “We are proud to recognize and celebrate this incredible accomplishment with Chief Handy and the HB-1 team.”

Media Inquiries

Ashley Sanchez

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