MD HELICOPTERS INC
MD Helicopters Douglas' line of light helicopters, derived from the Hughes company's products, was acquired by Boeing as part of its purchase of the former company in August 1997. Having no part in the Boeing business strategy, all except the AH-64 Apache were offered for sale and in January 1999 it was announced that Netherlands-based holding company MD Helicopters, owned by the Rotterdam Dockyard Company, had been successful in its bid.
MD now owns all production jigs and tooling for the MD 500, 530F, 520N, 600N and Explorer, as well as a licence to employ the NOTAR system in future helicopters (the technology remaining in Boeing ownership) and in August 2000 acquired the former Boeing facility at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, and began a 6,975 m2 (75,000 sq ft) expansion to include a spares warehouse, completion and delivery centre and customer training facility.
Production Certificate 714NM issued to MDHI on 18 February 1999, covering interim manufacture of two MD 500Es (c/n 0542 and 0543), four MD 530Fs (c/n 0134 to 0137), four MD 520Ns (c/n LN086 to LN089) and three MD 600Ns (c/n RN047, 052 and 054. PC 715NM issued 5 November 1999 for all subsequent production (including MD 600s c/n RN053 and 055 upwards).
In April 2000, Kaman was contracted to build fuselages for MD's single-engine product range at its Moosup and Jacksonville plants, deliveries beginning June 2000 and, in July 2000, was contracted also to supply rotor blades for the MD Explorer. Composite Solutions of Auburn, Washington, supplies tailbooms for the NOTAR range of helicopters. TAI of Turkey is building Explorer fuselages at Akinci.
Hongdu MD Helicopters established in early 2003 as 60:40 venture between Chinese manufacturer and MD's parent (RDM Holdings); RDM investing US$10 million for Chinese assembly line for MD 500 and MD 600 at Nanchang.