MESA, Ariz. -- When the Kurdistan Regional Government decided to buy 14 high- performance helicopters, it turned to a Mesa-based company.
MD Helicopters built 12 MD 530F copters, which are designed to operate at high altitudes in hot weather, and two twin-engine, six-seat MD Explorers for the KRG. The order represents more than $50 million in revenue for this local business that employs nearly 50 people. It also shows that Arizona is a true player in the global market.
3TV's Jill Galus showed "Good Morning Arizona" viewers the helicopters shortly before the KRG took delivery of them.
"This is a really important time for us," CCO of MD Helicopters Craig Kitchen said. "We really feel honored to support the Kurdistan Regional Government in developing their infrastructure for their public safety. It's a very important mission for us."
There are more than 2,500 aircraft made by MD Helicopters in operation all over the world.
While MD Helicopters' aircraft are used by the military in several countries, these 14 new helicopters will provide support to the KRG Ministry of Interior for airborne law enforcement, firefighting missions and medical evacuation as the region builds out its infrastructure.
The KRG placed its order in September. The copters will go into service next month. The pilots and mechanics who will operate and care for them are in training right now.
The Kurdistan Region is a federated region in Iraq. The KRG is democratically elected to exercise executive power there.
First I flew as co-pilot, now passenger, before picking up the Kurdistan Ministry of Interior. What an honor! pic.twitter.com/1n2YOHTGGr— Jill Galus (@JillGalus) January 3, 2014
The first and best helicopter ride of my life in an elite MD 902 Explorer! pic.twitter.com/e0ZUEhnQCM— Jill Galus (@JillGalus) January 3, 2014