HAI Convention News

MD Helicopters' CEO Reports “A Very Good Year”

 - February 14, 2012, 10:50 AM
Lynn Tilton, CEO of MD Helicopters

Speaking of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract MD Helicopters signed last year, Lynn Tilton, CEO of Mesa, Arizona-based company, said, “That’s the highlight [of 2011], to serve those who serve for love of country. And it goes back to our roots of 1964, when Hughes Helicopter [predecessor of MD Helicopters] first won a military contract.” She made the comments at a Heli-Expo 2012 press conference in Dallas yesterday. 

Tilton declined to disclose revenues or the numbers of helicopters sold in 2011. However, she said, “I will tell you we had a very good year,” adding, “We’re very, very poised for the future and happy. Our single-engine line is as active as it’s ever been.”

The FMS contract calls for delivery of six MD 530F helicopters to the U.S. Army for initial helicopter training for Afghan Air Force pilots. The first three helicopters were delivered in September and all six arrived at Shindand Air Base in Herat Province in December. As part of the contract, MD also delivered two Merlin Flight Simulation Group flight training devices, constructed three hangars for the aircraft at their base and continues to provide logistics support for the aircraft. Total value of the contract, including options (delivery of an additoinal 48 MD 530Fs), is $186 million.

“The option is not just for Afghanistan,” Tilton said. Alluding to potential sales to other military forces the company had previously disclosed, she added, “It’s for [the U.S. Army] to use in all foreign military sales. The three for El Salvador and 12 for the Saudi National Guard will all come from that option.”

Tilton said the company has signed an anticipated collaborative agreement with the Boeing Company for MD to provide airframes for the AH-6i Light Attack/Reconnaissance helicopter, and that Boeing was “on the way” to placing the first order for 24 airframes.

Tilton expressed disappointment that a potential sale of EMS helicopters to Saudi Arabia, as part of a six-nation EMS program in the Middle East the company discussed at last year’s show, failed to materialize.

Going forward, Tilton said the MD Helicopters would do more to publicize the advantages of the Notar (no tail rotor) technology. “We are 35 percent less noisy,” Tilton said. “And 25 percent of all [helicopter] accidents are caused by tail-rotor failure, so rather than push any one model, I think this is the year to educate [potential buyers] and promote Notar technology.”

MD Helicopters made the following additional announcements at Heli-Expo 2012:

  • The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners has approved the purchase of three MD 500E helicopters following a six-month RFP process.
  • The City of Columbus, Ohio, also ordered an MD 500E for delivery in 2012 with an option for a second aircraft to be delivered in 2013.
  • Transport Canada has approved the MD900 for day/night VFR operation in Canada. The company sees as a significant step toward earning full approval for the new MD Explorer 902 configuration with Pratt & Whitney Canada 206E and 207E engines, which is expected in the next few months, according to the company.
  • MD also reported receiving FAA approval for installation of the Garmin G500E glass cockpit avionics suite. The unit is now available for production and retrofit installation for the MD 500E, MD 530F and MD 520N models. Retrofits will be performed at the MD Factory Service Center in Mesa, Arizona.



Make no mistake, Lynn Tilton, is always busy promoting and achieving results with MD Helicopters, the company she rescued from the brink of disaster.

MD Helicopters continues to make an outstanding advances in rotary wing products and substantial upgrades and support to existing models.

Anyone old enough to remember Hughes Helicopters and perhaps glimpsed that first OH-6 flying around Culver City (now Playa Vista), is uniquely proud to see this helicopter line thrive and return to viability under Patriarch Partners deft leadership.

The NOTAR technology, which emerged out of those early years is still cutting edge. Yes, tail rotor failure does account for a quarter of all helicopter accidents, but for many of us, there is nothing like tail rotor authority. Given a choice for speed and handling in tight spots. I'd take the 500F

Can't argue on any of your point Andre about Lynn except one. Why is MD Helicopters the only major helicopter manufacturer in North America NOT to have ANY social media outreach to promote their products? Embarrassing that Eurocopter/Bell/Sikorsky/Robinson/Agusta/Boeing is running circles around them in promoting their products out. MD Helicopters produces GREAT products. I wish the marketing actually matched the products. The website seems stuck in the 1990's. Get with the program MD Helicopters! Start being a leader in marketing your products with social media!

I am operator of MD 900 , and i am very proud and very conffortable with this helicopter with his power, interior, etc. But i dont know why the factory, dont work about this model, i mean the The Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi Function Display (MFD) for example. Whyle Bell, Agusta and Eurocopter do it the right.

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