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Schweizer Hughes 300

The single, three-bladed main rotor and piston-powered Schweizer 300 is mostly used as a cost-effective platform for training and agriculture. Now manufactured by Schweizer Aircraft, a recent subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft, the basic design has been in production for almost 50 years.

The Model 269A-1 was accepted for service in 1964 as a trainer, designated TH-55A Osage. The aircraft was modified for the civil market as the model 269A, with deliveries commencing in October 1961. Further developed in 1957 led to the three seat model 269B. This version is better known in commercial use as the 'Hughes 300', having been marketed under this label. The model 269A was relabelled as the Model 200 in 1965. The Hughes Model 269A was available to the civilian market from 1961. With a 180-hp Lycoming O-360 piston engine it was the first commercially successful helicopter from Hughes. From 1964 to 1969 nearly 800 of these two seat helicopters were delivered to the US Army as training helicopters known as the TH-55A Osage.

By late 1969 a more powerful three seat variant had been developed and flown with a 190-hp Lycoming piston engine, this was to become the popular 300C. Subsequent development includes a quieter tail rotor introduced in 1967, and retrofitted on a number of earlier models. The Hughes Model 300C was also licensed and built in Italy by BredaNardi.

In July 1983 the Schweizer Aircraft Corporation became the licensed manufacturer and product support source for the Hughes 269/300C helicopters, after Hughes had completed between 2750 and 2800 airframes. The Model 300C replaced the 180hp Lycoming HIO-360-A1A engine with a 190hp HIO-360-D1 and a number of engineering and comfort refinements. The model 300CQ incorporates further noise reduction modifications.

Schweizer upgraded the 300C, turning it into a versatile machine for uses such as light utility work, aerial spraying, and some passenger flying. But it was not ideal as a training aircraft, being rather expensive to run and maintain. So in 1995, Schweizer developed the more economical 300 CB. However, the new helicopter was in direct competition to the R22, and was not that successful. So it was back to the drawing board for Schweizer, who in 2002 introduced the 300 CBi.

The Schweizer 300 is a wonderful little helicopter that is very easy to fly compared to a R22, though not as cheap to operate as a Robinson R22. They will yaw if disturbed in fllight, somewhat similar to the manner in which a short-bodied Beech Bonanza will wag its tail. It is of the few small piston helicopters to feature a three bladed rotor (along with Enstrom).

The Schweizer 300 is the oldest helicopter design currently used for helicopter training. It is an honest, hard working machine that makes a good trainer. But thats where it ends. It is slow, costly to maintain and operate, has low production figures, and is not widely used. It is also a 2 place helicopter, so if you are looking to rent/build hours, this is definitely not the machine for you. It also has no governor, so the throttle is controlled manually. Though not extremely difficult, this does cause problems for many students, especially during the maneuvers required for checkrides, and usually increases the number of hours for training.



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