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Hughes 269C/300C
MDHI / Hughes 369/500
Belg. Police G-10 Belg. Police G-16
ZK-HOQ Hughes 369D c/n 700709D - Greenpeace Marine Division - heliport Emmen in Holland - 1 August 1996 helicopters in Emmen

In 1961, Hughes was one of the twelve companies that submitted proposals to meet U.S. Army TS-153 requirement for a four-seat turbine-powered light observation helicopter. Model 369 was developed and flew first on 27 February 1963. Five machines of this type were ordered as OH-6A for the evaluation programme. The OH-6A Cayuse powered by an Allison T63-A-5A turboshaft was the winner of the U.S. Army's contest in May 1965. Deliveries commenced in September 1966 to meet an initial three-year commitment for 1071 machines. Next to the military OH-6A Hughes developed a larger, five-passenger civilian version. Initially designated as the 369H and 369A during the development stage, it emerged on the market as the Hughes 500. In 1968, the 500C with the more powerful Allison 250-C20 engine was introduced. In 1977, the 500D entered the market with a new five-bladed rotor system and the Allison 250-C20B engine. In 1982, Hughes introduced both the 500E with the Allison 250-C20B and the 530F with the more powerful Allison 250-C30 engine. On 6 January 1984, Hughes Helicopters became a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas, and subsequently re-designated the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company. The Hughes 500 thus became the MD500.

On 1 December 1987, Hughes 369D was registered ZK-HOQ in New Zealand with the Stichting Marine Services, Auckland, the Greenpeace Marine Division. Hughes 500D ZK-HOQ was official based in Ardmore, South Auckland, New Zealand, and was far from home at the Heli-Holland heliport near Emmen in the Netherlands. Fitted with floats, this helicopter was frequently used from Greenpeace's ships such as the new Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace, an independent organisation that campaigns to protect the environment, has some 4.5 million members worldwide. Greenpeace operates a number of ships and aircraft for their needs. Greenpeace's violent-free direct actions draw much public attention, but also the attention of others, documented by the Rainbow Warrior I, that was bombed and sunk in the night of 10 July 1985 in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand by French secret service agents. In March 2008, the Hughes 269D was transferred to Oceania Helicopters and on 9 April 2008 the ZK-HOQ was registered with Oceania Helicopters Ltd., Papakura. On 8 December 2009, the ZK-HOQ was registered with Heliraro Ltd., Franz Josef Glacier. The Hughes 369D was sold on 24 January 2010, and registered with Mr. R.M. Cotton, Arrowtown, on 16 April 2010. The helicopter was written off (damaged beyond repair) in an incident on 8 September 2010. The Hughes 500 was returning to its base when the engine failed. The pilot was able to make a successful ditching in the sea off the entrance to Milford Sound, and exit the aircraft. Hughes 369D ZK-HOQ was de-registered as destroyed, on 1 December 2010.

page last updated: 07-12-2010
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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