Our Story

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.


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.


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.



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.