The MD Helicopter Inc 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.
The 2000-built MDHI MD 900 c/n
900-00080 was testflown as N7009Q. On 22 january 2001, the Explorer was
registered PH-SHF in the Netherlands with Luchtvaartmaatschappij
Schreiner Airways BV in Leiden. On 4 September 2002, the PH-SHF was
registered with Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV, Den Helder, as
operator and Capital Aviation Services BV, Hoofddorp, as owner.
Schreiner operated the Explorer PH-SHF on behalf of the MMT.
On 18 July 2003, MDHI MD 900 PH-SHF was photographed at the helipad of
the Scheper Ziekenhuis Emmen, the Netherlands. The Explorer was operated
in that period as "Lifeliner 4" of the MMT (Mobil Medical Team). The MMT
"Lifeliner 4" is based at the helideck on the roof of the AZG (UMCG) in
Groningen. On 1 October 2003, Eurocopter EC-135P2
D-HSAN replaced the PH-SHF as "Lifeliner 4".
With the introduction of the new ADAC Luftrettung GmbH helicopter the callsign of this MMT was changed
into "Lifeliner Europe 4". The 4 EMS-helicopters in the Netherlands are:
"Lifeliner 1" stationed in Amsterdam,
"Lifeliner 2" stationed in Rotterdam;
"Lifeliner 3" stationed at Volkel AFB near Nijmegen and "Lifeliner Europe 4"
stationed in Groningen. In January 2005, Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopters replaced the MBB Bo-105 and the MDHI MD-900
helicopters in service with the MMTs in the Netherlands. MDHI PH-SHF was
transferred to the UK and registration PH-SHF was cancelled on 7 June
2005. On 10 June, the aircraft was registered G-SASH in the UK
with the Police Aviation Services. On 29 August 2006, MDHI MD-900 G-SASH was registered with Yorkshire
Air Ambulance, Halifax in the UK.