HAI Convention News

Schweizer Nears Reintroduction of S300 Piston-powered Helicopter

 - January 27, 2020, 6:25 PM
Last March, Schweizer announced the sale of 25 Schweizer 300CBi trainers to International Defense and Aerospace Group (IDAG), marking the new enterprise’s first commercial sale; deliveries are slated to begin in the third quarter.

Two years after it launched to bring Schweizer Aircraft’s helicopters back into production, Schweizer RSG appears to be on the cusp of receiving production certification, with deliveries of new S300 models commencing later this year, according to company president David Horton.

Fort Worth-based Schweizer (Booth 3224) offers two helicopters: the S300C, a 2,050-pound utility rotorcraft powered by a 190-hp Lycoming HIO-360-D1A, with a 950-pound useful load and 95-knot top speed; and the S300CBi trainer (1,750-pound max takeoff weight), equipped with a 180-hp Lycoming HIO-360-G1A and delivering a 648-pound useful load and 94-knot top speed. Both models carry a maximum of three passengers, with hover ceilings in-ground effect of 10,800 feet and 7,000 feet respectively. Estimated prices are $450,000 for the S300C and $410,000 for the S300CBi.

With FAA approval for production of key components, Schweizer has assembled two of each model in pursuit of a full aircraft production certificate, with customers waiting at the end of the assembly line.

Last March, the company announced the sale of 25 Schweizer 300CBi trainers to International Defense and Aerospace Group (IDAG), marking the new enterprise’s first commercial sale; deliveries are slated to begin in the third quarter. “This purchase allows us to deploy assets across multiple satellite locations as we look to expand operations in the [U.S.],” said Robert Caldwell, IDAG CEO.

IDAG operates more than 30 Schweizers in flight-training operations in Europe and the U.S., the latter under the Aviation Training Solutions brand (the former Bristow Academy), which it purchased one year ago, making it “the largest Schweizer operator worldwide,” according to IDAG. 

Horton estimates that as many as 1,700 Model 300s may be flying and foresees making factory maintenance support a key part of Schweizer’s portfolio.

Schweizer Aircraft was established in 1939 by three Schweizer brothers and enjoyed considerable success building gliders, helicopters, and agricultural aircraft before its acquisition in 2004 by Sikorsky Aircraft, which closed the company in 2012. Horton led a group that acquired the rights to Schweizer’s helicopters from Sikorsky in 2018.

In addition to the IAG order, Schweizer has a firm deal for another trainer and an S300C and commitments for an additional 36 aircraft, evenly split between the models. Horton hopes to deliver 12 to 14 aircraft by the end of this year. He forecasts a market for 50 to 75 new Schweizers annually, split between the utility and training markets—exclusive of China, whose unknown market appetite could be huge, he said. Additionally, Schweizer would like to bring the turbine-powered S330C back into production, priced at $1.1 to $1.2 million in VFR configuration, but no plans for that are in place.