MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) is building upon a tradition of excellence that is unmatched in the aerospace industry. Our high-performance helicopters have long been the products of choice for discriminating operators. The MDHI family of helicopters includes both civil and military variants of the legendary MD 500® series helicopters, as well as a fleet of technologically advanced NOTAR® helicopters that include the single engine MD 520N and MD 600N® and the twin engine MD 902 Explorer®.
MD Helicopters offers the best-quality, best-value helicopters in the world; provides state-of-the-art technology to enhance operator value; offers total support of our products wherever and whenever it's needed; and keeps adapting our organization and the way we do business to make sure we continue to build upon a tradition of excellence and meeting our customer’s high expectations for quality, service and support.
MD Helicopters is synonymous with the world's best rotorcraft.
MD Helicopters traces its roots back more than 50 years to when Hughes Tool Company, Aircraft Division first started to develop “light helicopters” in 1955. After years of successfully manufacturing such models as the Hughes 269, 300, 500 and 530F for civil use and TH-55 Osage, OH-6 Cayuse and highly successful AH 64-Apache, Hughes sold its helicopters business to McDonnell Douglas in 1984. For the most part, McDonnell Douglas stayed true to the original Hughes designs and nomenclatures.
In 1997, McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing to become The Boeing Company.
In 1999, Boeing sold the former MD commercial helicopter lines to MD Helicopter Holdings Inc., an indirect subsidiary of the Dutch company, RDM Holding Inc. Included in the sale were the MD 500E and MD 530F single-engine helicopters with conventional tail rotors, the MD 520N and MD 600N single-engine helicopters with the Boeing exclusive NOTAR® no tail rotor system for anti-torque and directional control, and the MD Explorer series of twin-engine, eight-place helicopters.
Boeing maintained the AH-64 line of helicopters, and rights to the NOTAR system.
MD Helicopters Holdings Inc. was acquired in July, 2005 by Lynn Tilton, founder and owner of Patriarch Partners, LLC, an investment fund.
The company was recapitalized as an independent company, MD Helicopters, Inc. Based in Mesa, Arizona, with wholly owned manufacturing operations in Monterrey, Mexico, the current product line includes the MD 500E, MD 530F, MD 520N, MD 600N and the MD 902 Explorer for commercial applications, as well as the armed MD 530F and MD 530G scout attack platforms for military and paramilitary customers.
Major Milestones Timeline
- 1947 – Howard Hughes established Hughes Aircraft
- 1956 – The Toolco Aircraft Division was formed to focus on rotorcraft innovation
- 1966 – OH-6A Cayuse entered service
- 1984 – McDonnell-Douglas purchased Hughes Aircraft, opens Mesa facility at Falcon Field
- 1997 – McDonnell-Douglas merged with The Boeing Company
- 1999 – RDM Holdings purchased Boeing Commercial Helicopter Division Company, Renamed to MDHI
- 2005 – Lynn Tilton acquired MDHI to “Reenergize, Restructure & Preserve” the Iconic American MD Helicopters Brand
- 2008 – Company Stabilization & Strategic Roadmap released
- 2009 – R&D Investments for Aircraft Performance Enhancements increased
- 2010 – MDHI produces 600th MD 500E
- 2011 – MDHI awarded $186 Million RWPTA Contract
- 2012 – MDHI begins Scout Attack Helicopter development
- 2013 – Next Generation Explorer 902 Technology Roadmap announced
- 2014 – MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter announced
- 2015 – Armed MD 530F Cayuse Warrior delivered to Coalition Forces in Afghanistan
- 2016 – Malaysia Ministry of Defence announced as launch customer for MD 530G
Under the direction of CEO Lynn Tilton, MD Helicopters, Inc. has enjoyed a successful turnaround.
With more than 2,500 aircraft currently in service around the world, MD Helicopters is a substantial company by any measure. Fleet users include the Korean Armed Forces, US Special Operations, Japanese Self Defense Forces, Jordanian Armed Forces, Turkish National Police, Afghan Air Force, Houston Police, Columbus Police, Argentina Armed Forces, the Italian government, the Finnish Armed Forces and many others.
Internally, the company is focused on process improvements, supply chain product flow, and fuselage ramp-up as well as innovations in aircraft design and technology integration. There has been a significant emphasis on the sales of spares and the repair and overhaul business. Part sales are also showing a significant increase in orders per month.
Through all the changes over the years, MD Helicopters has enjoyed an almost cult-like status with its customers and employees. It is viewed as a small private company with lots of heart and soul capable of delivering extremely good products. MD Helicopters are known for their safety, versatility, responsiveness, speed and reliability, as well as their ability to fly “hot and high.”
After 10 years as a Lynn Tilton Company, MD Helicopters has renewed its focus to differentiate itself from other helicopter manufacturers, while filling the needs of our operators, regardless of market segment. Our marketing goal is to position MD Helicopters as the “First Choice” manufacturer throughout the world.
It is exciting and inspiring to look at the helicopter marketplace and plan for an MD Helicopters future that is as industry-leading as our fabled past. We not only stand ready, but are leaning forward to continue Howard Hughes’ legacy of disruption and cutting-edge design, to develop and integrate next generation manufacturing processes and technologies, and to deliver aircraft unmatched in their elegance, performance and reliability.Our Aircraft