MD Helicopters Marks One Year Under New Ownership

Oct. 10, 2023

MD Helicopters (MDH) is celebrating one year since emerging from bankruptcy, highlighting its growth and future plans.

“When we left bankruptcy, we were really leaving the past two or three years of uncertainty due to the bankruptcy and ownership changes,” MD Helicopters President and CEO Brad Pedersen said. “The customers suffered the worst of that with poor service and support. Our goal during the past year was to stabilize the company and grow it while significantly improving our customer support. We have come a very long way in that goal and our customers are reaping the benefits. We are committed to doing whatever we can to keep our customers’ aircraft flying.”

Under its new leadership, MDH has received orders for more than 20 military and commercial aircraft and is currently filling the 2024 order book, which is conservatively expected to be 22 aircraft. In addition to sold aircraft, additional aircraft are being added to the line as well to ensure customers who need aircraft sooner can take delivery of a new helicopter in as few as four to six months.

To meet these expanded manufacturing goals, MDH hired more than 160 new employees in the past year and is maintaining a 98% retention rate.

In addition to strengthening the manufacturing line, MD Helicopters has put considerable focus on building a strong stock of spares.

“When we took control of the company, one of our customers’ largest concerns was a lack of spare parts,” said MD Helicopters Vice President of Aftermarket Sales and Services, Ryan Weeks. “We identified close to 1,000 of the most-requested parts and made a multi-million investment to strengthen our supply chain and have those parts available to ship within 24 hours.”

MDH is currently filling orders for 77% of those part numbers within 24 hours, up from 45% a year ago on 40% less number of parts. Long lead times for some parts keep the company from reaching 100% today, though that goal is attainable by the end of 2024, Weeks said.

This success is in large part due to the work of MDH’s new Chief Operating Officer Harvey Ticlo. A licensed A&P mechanic with extensive aerospace and manufacturing leadership experience, Ticlo joined the team over the summer and worked closely with suppliers to create long-term agreements, working alongside them on production forecasting and planning.

“The global supply chain remains challenging with shortages of materials and labor,” Ticlo said. “We are sharing long-term forecasts with suppliers, giving them visibility on our needs so we can partner on meeting our material requirements for the next several years.”

Other improvements MDH is undertaking include:

  • A Technical Bulletin for the MD 500E to MD 530F, allowing service centers to perform the upgrade
  • Development of a crashworthy auxiliary fuel tank, which is in final stages of certification
  • Partnerships with companies to develop supplemental type certificates (STCs) for MD aircraft
  • Repair and overhaul exchange pool allowing for quicker turn time on drivetrain components to decrease aircraft downtime
  • EASA certification for the MD 530F by mid-2024
  • Glass cockpit upgrades