Celebrating our history and contributions to the helicopter
Celebrating our history and contributions to the helicopter industry.
Our story takes flight in 1934 when a young industrialist, the eccentric billionaire, and aerospace trailblazer, Howard Hughes, laid the foundation for what would become MD Helicopters. Hughes, driven by a relentless passion for aviation, founded the Hughes Aircraft Company that year, eventually leading to the creation of Hughes Helicopters in 1955.
CHANGING THE GAME
In 1956, the game-changing Hughes 269A, a two-seat piston-powered helicopter, earned FAA certification in 1959, swiftly dominating the light helicopter market. Its variant, the TH-55, secured a significant U.S. Army training helicopter contract in 1964. The following year marked a pivotal moment with the creation of the OH-6A Cayuse, a turbine-powered Hughes 369 celebrated for its crashworthy design and exceptional maneuverability. This aircraft set 23 world records and laid the foundation for today’s MD 500 helicopters.
500 SERIES FOUNDATION
Built on the simple concept that less is more, the ingenious Hughes 500 design from the mid-1960s emphasized low drag, minimal weight, and reduced maintenance. Safety was paramount, and the design featured the iconic teardrop-shaped fuselage, a fully articulated rotor system, and a straightforward two-gear mesh drive system. Over the years, the original Hughes 269 design has evolved to increase speed, maneuverability, power, and performance while maintaining the aircraft’s proven and unmatched safe and low-maintenance core design.
Hughes Tool Company Aircraft Division Founded
Hughes 269 Flight Tested
Hughes 269A Receives FAA Certification
Hughes 269B Certified (Marketed as the Hughes 300)
TH-55, a Modified Hughes 269A, Wins U.S. Army Light Training Helicopter Contract
OH-6A Cayuse (Hughes 369A) Wins U.S. Army Light Observation Helicopter Contract
MD 500E and 530 Series First Flight
MD 900 Series First Flight
MD 600 Series First Flight
MD 530G First Flight
EARNING TRUST DAILY
Fast forward to today, MD Helicopters is led by helicopter industry veteran Brad Pedersen. Since taking the helm, Brad and his highly experienced leadership team have recommitted our focus to supporting military and civilian customers, expanding our vendor network, fortifying supply chains, and enhancing spare parts availability. With renewed energy, MD Helicopters is poised to embrace the future while preserving our legacy of rotorcraft innovation. We are working hard to Earn Trust Daily.