The Schweizer 300 series has long been a favorite with the training community. Its high inertia rotor gives it nice handling and auto rotational characteristics. Unfortunately, by the early 1990’s it was also too expensive to this price sensitive segment of the market. Through some astute engineering Schweizer was able to lower both the acquisition and the operating cost while preserving the handling characteristics. This was done by installing a carbureted engine, lowering the maximum take off gross weight, removing some other equipment and extending a number of replacement and overhaul intervals. The resulting helicopter is the Schweizer 300CB.
The Schweizer 300 has a history reaching back to 1959 when 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 that is also referred to as the model 269 (its engineering designation), was marketed successfully by Hughes, 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 300CB is a light single-engine piston helicopter with a three-bladed, fully articulated rotor. It uses a Lycoming HO-360-D1A engine. Power is transferred from the engine to the transmission through a multiple V-belt 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. The primary purpose for this helicopter is pilot training.
Sikorsky Helicopter bought Schweizer Aircraft in 2004. In 2009, the helicopter line dropped the Schweizer name, and is now known only as Sikorsky.