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LX-HMS MD Helicopters MD-900 c/n 900-00037 - Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 23 July 2007 Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

The MD Helicopters MD-900 is a twin-engine light utility helicopter that can accommodate up to 9 passengers. McDonnell Douglas Helicopters started in 1988 with the development of the MD-900 as the MDX, an entirely new design. The MDX design incorporated the NOTAR system, a carbon fibre fuselage and tail and an advanced five-bladed main rotor with composite blades. The NOTAR (NoTailRotor) system that was incorporated in the design dates back to late 1975 when Hughes engineers began initial concept development work. Hughes Helicopters became in 1984 a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas, and was subsequently re-designated the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company. The first flight of the MD-900, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206B turboshaft engines, took place on 18 December 1992. The second prototype starting its tests on 17 September 1993 and the third on 16 December 1993. The first production MD-900 Explorer made its maiden flight on 3 August 1994. FAA certification for the MD 900 was granted on 2 December 1994 and the first delivery followed on 16 December 1994. With McDonnell Douglas' merger with Boeing in 1997 the MD 900 became a Boeing product. In a restructuring exercise for the new company it was decided to disposal of the civil helicopter business. On 16 February 1999, the new formed MD Helicopters Inc., an indirect subsidiary of the RDM Group of Joep van den Nieuwenhuijzen, purchased the light helicopter operations from The Boeing Company, including the MD 900 Explorer. In 2004, the MD Helicopters Inc of Mesa, Arizona ran into turbulence when technical problems delayed the delivery of 13 helicopters to customers in Germany and the Netherlands. The US investment firm Patriarch Partners LLC bought in July 2005 a majority stake in MD Helicopters from the RDM Holdings N.V. based in the Netherlands, and started revitalizing the company. By March 2022, the manufacturer filed for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for restructuration, to be acquired by a creditor consortium led by Bardin Hill Investment Partners and MBIA Insurance, providing around $60 million of financing as debtors. Starting with a substantial mid-2022 leadership overhaul and restructuring the company, from August 2022, MD Helicopters emgerged from bankruptcy.

On 23 July 2007, the Luxembourg Air Rescue MDHI MD-900 Explorer LX-HMS visited Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands on its way from Luxembourg to the UMCG in Groningen. Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) was founded back in 1988 and started its operations with a leased helicopter on 1 March 1989. Today LAR operates four MD900 and MD902 helicopters and two Learjet 35A aircraft. Next to the LAR-base at Luxembourg Airport, LAR has an operational base in Ettelbruck: Hangar Ettelbruck at the Clinique St Louis. Their MDHI MD-900 Explorer LX-HMS is owned by Credit Suisse and operated by Ducair S.A. - Luxembourg Air Ambulance. The 1996-built MDHI MD-900 Explorer c/n 900-00037 was test flown as N9199X. On 29 January 1999, the helicopter was registered HB-XQZ with HL Le Mirador International SA as owner and Air Glaciers SA, Sion, Switzerland as operator. On 2 December 1999, the HB-XQZ was registered with HL Le Mirador International SA as owner and Swift Copters SA, Geneve, as operator. The registration HB-XQZ was cancelled on 15 October 2002 and the Explorer was registered LX-HMS with Hotel El Mirardor as owner and Ducair SA as operator on 5 November 2002. In 2003, the Explorer was operated first by Ducair for the Police before it entered service for the Luxembourg Air Rescue.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the MDHI MD-900 Explorer is EXPL.

page last updated: 23-10-2022
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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