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. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Hughes 369 helicopters is H500.
Biggin-Hill Helicopters operated the Hughes 369HS G-CSPJ. The helicopter was built in 1976 and registered
before in the USA as N9KS and N99KS. On 7 July 1997, the Hughes was registered G-BXJF in the UK with
Helisport Ltd. On 24 July 1997, the G-BXJF was re-registered as G-CSPJ with Hughes Helicopter Co Ltd.,
trading as Biggin Hill Helicopters. On 19 July 2003, the helicopter was destroyed in a fatal accident near
Knockholt, Sevenoaks, Kent, United Kingdom. The helicopter was on a local flight out of Biggin Hill Airfield
and all three persons on board were reported as fatally injured in the accident.