MD produced 12 helicopters in 2010, not 50

MD produced 12 helicopters in 2010, not 50 19 Jan, 11, Source: HeliHub.com

Around Christmas, the Living Legends of Aviation® organistion put out an invitation to this year’s event, and announcing some of the winners.  In a quote from this press release they said: –

The “Legends” invite you to join them as they honor Lynn Tilton, CEO of MD Helicopters as  “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year”.  Ms. Tilton bought MD helicopters saving the company from bankruptcy. She led MD Helicopters into a profitable and growing company, delivering more than 50 helicopters in 2010, up from 7, and supporting more than 3000 aircraft based world-wide.

Our jaw dropped.  Surely it was a typo – 50 helicopters in 2010 – really?  We contacted MD for the numbers, and a significant number of attempts to reach their Communications team were met with voicemail – at both desk and cell numbers.  When we did eventually reach Debbie Jones, she told us that they do not release numbers for production, delivery or sales.

We also contacted Megan Lips in the Media Dept for Living Legends of Aviation® and she was unable to substantiate it either.  We spoke with her husband Paul Lips, who appeared familiar with both the situation and our email, and while he seemed keen to help, “it would not be this side of the awards ceremony”.  He also explained how the award recipients were chosen, and in particular the “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year” is chosen by a committee taken from the “Living Legends” themselves.  We were pleased to hear that, given that we had noticed MD Helicopters were one of the sponsors of this years Awards, alongside Aston Martin, Bombardier Learjet, Breitling, Jeppesen, Moto Art, Red Bull Air Race, Sparta Calendars and spectacle manufacturer Scheyden – and it would have been unseemly for sponsorship to influence anything like this.

Our enquiries evidently led to a burst of activity as we were then contacted by the legal counsel to Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, the non-for-profit organization that sponsors the Living Legends of Aviation.  He confirmed it should have read 2008 not 2010, and it was an “inadvertent typo”.  Glad we have that sorted!

It provides the HeliHub.com a chance to review the numbers for MD for 2010 from our own detailed research.  We looked at two groups of helicopter:-


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1 – MD helicopters which have been listed on the FAA register with Year of Manufacture listed as 2010.    Listing by type, serial number and giving FAA “N” registration or current registration if exported and registered owner.

MD500E
0601E N42792 Shier Aviation dba Corporate Helicopters of San Diego
0602E N911HY Hawaii County Fire Dept (see HeliHub.com story)
0603E N5282F R J Machine Co (pending reg change to N457GM)
0604E ZK-IRB ‘Skysales, New Zealand
0605E N4278T Wells Fargo Bank – leasing company

MD530F
0174FF N530KK Las Vegas Metro Police (photos here)
0175FF N4378K Shier Aviation dba Corporate Helicopters of San Diego (see HeliHub.com story)
0176FF N4373M – currently registered to MD Helicopters
0177FF N4289X – currently registered to MD Helicopters

MD520
LN109 N4290K cancelled from US register to New Zealand, but not yet registered there

MD600
RN078 N42824 – currently registered to MD Helicopters

Explorer
900-00139 B-2118 Huaxi Village Group, China (see HeliHub.com story)


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2 – MD helicopters registered to MD Helicopters Inc on the FAA register in 2010 but without the Year of Manufacture listed.  Given that we are now in 2011, we would thus know by now whether these airframes were manufactured in 2010 or not – and thus we have to assume they are not 2010 airframes.  Listing by type, serial number and giving FAA “N” registration

MD500E
0606E N4289Y
0607E N4192K

MD530F
0178FF N4290C
0179FF N3897D
0180FF N4290Y

MD520
LN110 N4315W

MD600
RN079 N4289Z
RN080 N4291N
RN081 N4298P

Explorer
900-00140 N4317A


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We note that certain airframes which were delivered in 2010 are not listed here – that is because we are going strictly by the “Year of Manufacture” data.  One particular example is the MD Explorer delivered to the UK for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance in 2010 (see HeliHub.com story here).  The FAA register lists this as a 2008 airframe (see here) and the CAA register in the UK prefers 2009 (see here) – not even the registration authorities can agree, it seems!

We have also verified that all earlier serial numbers are listed in FAA records as manufactured in 2009 or earlier.

MD500E – 0600E and prior
MD530F – 0173FF and prior
MD520 – LN108 and prior
MD600 – RN077 and prior
Explorer – 900-00138 and prior

So, where does this leave us?  HeliHub.com believes the 2010 production of MD Helicopters was 12 airframes – those listed in section 1 above.

Due to the (lack of) speed with which FAA keeps its data current, it is possible that the 10 airframes in section 2 were also 2010 production, but as all of these are still registered to MD Helicopters and not customers, we feel safe to assume that they were not.  We are very open to the fact that there may be other information not available to us which could alter these figures.  We will happily run another article in the future if MD Helicopters come to us with different figures substantiated by serial numbers and customer names in the way we have in this article.

The 8th Annual Living Legends of Aviation® Awards are taking place on Friday, January 21, 2011 at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California.  See also http://livinglegendsofaviation.org

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