MD Helicopters HM-600/800 Series Light Helicopters:

The MD Helicopters HM-600 was a series of small observation and light utility helicopters which were based on the older MD-500 family of helicopters although greatly modified. They do look much the same however. These helicopters served in a wide variety of civilian applications. These helicopters were introduced in Twenty-Thirties and took advantage of the revolution in high strength alloys and composites and were much stronger than any previous helicopter design. These both extended the life span of these helicopters and allowed them to withstand far more damage than previous helicopters which used aluminum and other conventional materials. Unlike later models, these helicopters were conventionally powered by a turbo shaft engine although far more efficient and powerful than previous engines.

There was later introduced the HM-800 Series helicopter which replaced the turbo shaft engine with a high capacity energy cell. This was basically an extremely lightweight battery with an absolutely incredible storage capacity. The storage capacity of the battery actually gave a similar range to the conventional powered models although recharging them was far cheaper than refueling the conventionally powered models. Additionally, the helicopter design used improved materials and could withstand even greater abuse than the previous models. These energy cell models were introduced in the Twenty-Fifties although there was still a thriving market for the older models.

Both designs are designed to be operated by a crew of one or two and have space for up to three passengers with both helicopter versions having a maximum weight limit of around two thousand pounds. Instead of passengers, the helicopters can also carry light cargo. Roles these helicopters common performed include law enforcement, forestry service, light search and rescue, media roles, and tourist. A few were even own by individuals as play toys. There were developed two versions with an extended compartment which can carry three (HM-660/860) or six additional passengers (HM-690/890.) As well, there were military converted versions of both the HM-600 and HM-800 known as the AH-600/AH-800 "Little Bird II." These military models will be dealt with separately.

Maximum speed for both versions was around 160 knots with a range of around three hundred nautical miles for the conventional HM-600 and around four hundred nautical miles for the electrical cell powered HM-800. The helicopter is not designed for high altitude with a maximum altitude a bit above fourteen thousand feet. Electronics include an advanced navigational system which linked into the Global Position System (G.P.S.) Navigational system. Computer systems also make the helicopter extremely easy to fly. The helicopter mount a variety of sensor systems for special roles especially those for law enforcement roles. This include infrared gear and spotlight systems. As well, many mount a more sophisticated communication system than the standard civilian model.

By the coming of the Rifts, the Gyro-Plane was becoming increasingly popular, due to both being a bit faster and much longer ranged, but the MH-800 still remained in production and large numbers of both the MH-600 and MH-800 still remained in service. The vast majority were destroyed with the storms which ripped across the Earth but a fair number did survive. These have found their uses in a wide variety of roles after the coming of the Rifts. In most places, roads simply don't exist. Of course, the G.P.S. navigation system is effectively useless with the destruction of the satellites used for the system. The facilities producing the helicopter might have survived because some helicopters which appear to be new have been marketed. The original facilities appear to have been in Arizona.

Due to the dangers since the coming of the Rifts, Some pilots have armed their helicopters and in many ways they are similar to the military versions of the helicopter produced in the Twenty-First Century. Others have mounted rail guns or energy weapons. Energy weapons usually use energy clips to power them and are often similar to various energy rifle types. A few have also been converted with the lightweight battery replaced by a fusion reactor from a light power armor.

Model Type:MD Helicopters HM-600Conventional Turbo-Rotor Design
MD Helicopters HM-800Upgraded Energy-Cell Design
Class: Light Utility Helicopter
Crew: Two with three passengers (can be flown by one) - Can carry three additional passengers externally

M.D.C. By Location:HM-600:HM-800:
[1] Main Rotor:3040
[1] Tail:4050
Landing Skids (2):35 each45 each
Reinforced Cockpit:6080
[2] Main Body:120150

[1] Destruction of the main rotor will knock the helicopter from the sky. Destruction of the tail will cause the helicopter to have penalties of -40% on piloting skill/maneuvers, -6 to dodge, and -3 to strike (if fitted with weapon systems.) Due to reduced control, effective speed is reduced by 50% and cannot hover. Pilot needs to attempt to land the helicopter as quickly as possible.
[2] Destroying the main body knocks the helicopter out of the sky and renders it completely useless.

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Cannot taxi. Does not mount wheels but instead has skids. Only time a moving landing might be tried is the helicopter has taken damage which prevents hovering.
Flying: Hover to 184.2 mph (296.52 kph / 160 knots) with a ceiling of 19,500 feet (5,943.6 meters.) Cruising speed is 166.98 mph (268.72 kph/ 145 knots). The helicopter has great maneuverability and VTOL capabilities.
Range: MD Helicopters HM-600: Has a normal cruise range of 345.47 miles (555.97 km / 300 nautical miles.) MD Helicopters HM-800: Has a normal cruise range of 460.62 miles (741.30 km / 400 nautical miles.)

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.0 feet (2.74 meters)
Rotor Width: 28.5 feet (8.69 meters)
Length: 33.25 feet (10.13 meters)
Weight: 1,650 pounds (748.43 kg) empty and 3,400 pounds (1,542.21 kg) fully loaded
Power System: MD Helicopters HM-600: Conventional - Used Turbo-Shaft Engine. MD Helicopters HM-800: High Capacity Energy cell (Battery) with some having been converted to fusion.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), without passengers can carry 881.8 lbs (400 kg) in rear area of cockpit. Can sling 1322.8 lbs (600 kg) externally instead of internal cargo.
Black Market Cost: MD Helicopters HM-600: 300,000 credits MD Helicopters HM-800: 400,000 credits - Add 500,000 for fusion powered model (Increase cost by 10,000 each for FLIR system and improved communication suite)

Weapon Systems:
None Standard

Special Equipment:
Some law enforcement / search and rescue / fire fighting versions will carry special equipment. These helicopters do not have the full sensor suit of a power armor or robot vehicle. They also do not mount full life support systems.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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