Schweizer 434 Makes First Flight

 - January 8, 2009, 11:43 AM

The Schweizer 434 made its first flight on December 18 at Horseheads, N.Y., and deliveries to overseas military customers are scheduled to begin next month. A company spokeswoman declined to speculate on when the new light turbine single would gain U.S. certification. Schweizer announced this more powerful and updated $933,000 version of the 333 last year, as well as  initial orders for 15 copies. The company says the new helicopter is aimed at the utility and lift markets, as opposed to its traditional training customers for the 333. Many of the improvements on the 434 were derived from the unmanned MQ-4B Fire Scout VTUAV the company developed for the Navy, including a more powerful engine–a Rolls-Royce 250-C20W with 320 shp maximum takeoff power–and a four-blade main rotor system. That combination enables the 434 to boost useful load by more than 30 percent over the 333 to 1,855 pounds. The 434 also has a slightly larger fuel capacity (84 gallons compared with 73 in the 333), will be nominally faster (105 knots compared with the 333’s 100 knots) and have more comfortable seats.�