In 1959 the Aircraft Division of Hughes Tool Co. obtained FAA certification for the commercial version of their TH 55 US Army primary training helicopter. This light helicopter is variously referred to as the model 269 (its engineering designation) and as the model 300 (its marketing designation). Hughes marketed these helicopters successfully in a wide variety of roles to numerous customers worldwide. In 1983, Hughes made a decision to focus their efforts on the turbine helicopter portion of their business and arranged with Schweizer Aircraft Corporation to assume responsibility for the manufacture of what was then the Hughes 300C. In 1986, Schweizer acquired the rights for the entire program from McDonnell Douglas (who had acquired the Hughes Helicopter operation) including ownership of the type certificate, spares inventory and responsibility for worldwide support of the 269/300 fleet. To many, Schweizer is best known for their high performance sailplanes. But in fact, they are a small, but diversified aerospace manufacturer.
The Schweizer 300C, which obtained its certification in 1970, is a much improved version of the helicopter first certificated in 1959. It is a light single-engine piston helicopter with a three-bladed, fully articulated rotor. It uses a Lycoming HIO-360-D1A engine. Power is transferred from the engine to the transmission through a multiple Vbelt and pulley arrangement. A two bladed tail rotor provides directional control. All rotor blades are made of aluminum, as is the fuselage structure. The cabin has room for a pilot plus one or two passengers. Alternatively the helicopter can carry up to 900 pounds externally.
Development of the 300C was launched in 1968, certification was obtained in 1970 and first deliveries took place the same year. Hughes manufactured this helicopter from 1970 until 1981. During this time, they delivered just fewer than 1100 helicopters. From 1984 on the 300C has been manufactured by Schweizer.
Sikorsky Helicopter bought Schweizer Aircraft in 2004. In 2009, the helicopter line dropped the Schweizer name, and is now known only as Sikorsky.