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The Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin is a twin-engined, single main rotor, MEDEVAC-capable Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter operated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). It is a variant of the French-built Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin.
|Primary user||United States Coast Guard|
|Unit cost||$9 million
|Developed from||Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin|
The HH-65A's minimum equipment requirements exceeded anything previously packaged into a helicopter weighing less than 10,000 pounds. 75% of the HH-65's structure — including rotorhead, rotor blades and fuselage — consists of corrosion-resistant composite materials. Some Coast Guard pilots have nicknamed the Dolphin as "Tupperwolf", a portmanteau of tupperware (because of the aircraft's high composites content) and Airwolf (from the 1980s TV series).
Also a unique feature of the Dolphin is its computerized flight management system, which integrates state-of-the-art communications and navigation equipment. This system provides automatic flight control. At the pilot's direction, the system will bring the aircraft to a stable hover 50 feet (15 m) above a selected object. This is an important safety feature in darkness or inclement weather. Selected search patterns can be flown automatically, freeing the pilot and copilot to concentrate on sighting & searching the object.
A distinctive feature of the MH-65 is its fenestron ducted-fan anti-torque device. The fenestron consists of 10 blades spin inside a circular housing at the base of the helicopter's tail fin.
Certified for single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) operation, the HH-65A was the first helicopter certified with a four-axis autopilot, allowing for hands-off hover over a pre-determined location.
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