Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Welcomes New MD 500E

Division of Enforcement, Aviation Unit cites performance, airframe footprint, and operational affordability as key benefits of adding the MD 500E to fleet

Mesa, Ariz., April 07, 2016

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) announced today the delivery of a new MD 500E to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Enforcement. Announced in November 2015, the custom-built MD 500E was welcomed by Chief Pilot Tom Buker and Pilot Brad Maas on March 29 at MD Helicopters’ Mesa, Arizona headquarters. The new 500E joins Minnesota DNR’s 8-aircraft fleet (6 fixed wing, 2 additional rotorcraft) to perform a variety of missions in support of the DNR’s responsibility to manage natural lands, maintain healthy wildlife populations, and support law enforcement, firefighting and general forestry operations across the state’s more than 5.5 million acres of managed land.  

This is the first MD helicopter to join the DNR since the Aviation Unit was born in 1947.

“The proven performance of this airframe, the small footprint, and its operational affordability really made this helicopter an easy choice for us,” said Tom Buker, Chief Pilot for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division. “I expect this helicopter to be a great addition to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ fleet, and to play a critical role in helping us meet our ongoing commitments to conserve and manage the state's natural resources.”

The MD 500E is a highly capable aircraft known worldwide for its speed, payload capability, maneuverability and cost effective operation.

The right-hand command aircraft has a cockpit configuration that features the Garmin 500H EFIS flight display and Garmin GTN650H touchscreen GPS/Navigation and Communications system, and the AMS44 dual channel audio panel. Powered by the Rolls-Royce 250-C20B 420shp turbine engine, the Minnesota DNR’s MD 500E also features a Fargo 21-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, wire strike protection system, provisions for the Talon LC Keeperless hydraulic release cargo hook to support external loads up to 2,000 pounds, and Onboard load weigh system.

High-contrast main rotor blades, a Nightscanner® HID searchlight, and NVISB interior provide improved visibility when flying through areas of dense brush an in low-light scenarios.

“We are honored the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources chose to expand their fleet with the MD 500E,” commented Craig Kitchen, Chief Commercial Officer for MD Helicopters. “We welcome them to the MDHI family and look forward to a long and productive relationship.”