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Schweizer Model 300

Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)

United States | 1964

"Nearly 3,000 units of the Model 300 helicopter have been produced since the type was introduced in 1964."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/11/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Model 300 has roots in a Hughes Helicopter design, the Model 269, which originally attempted to interest the United States Army as a combat-level observation platform to succeed an aging line of Bell OH-13 and Hiller OH-23 types. These were evaluated by the service from 1957 until 1958 under the designation of "YOH-2" but were not adopted due to budget reasons and lack of over-battlefield value. Only in 1964 was the helicopter selected by the service to fulfill a dedicated training role under the designation of TH-55 "Osage" and 792 units were delivered (additional production, 38 units, stemmed from Kawasaki of Japan for the JGSDF).

From this, the Hughes Helicopter design ultimately fell under the McDonnell Douglas (MD) brand label when the company and its assets were absorbed into MD in 1984. In 1986, the Schweizer concern secured the rights to the compact helicopter and the company evolved the line into the "Model 300C" (Model 296C). The initial form carried a Lycoming HIO-360-D1A engine coupled to a larger-diameter main rotor of 26.9 feet (increased from the original's 25.3 feet). This, in turn, increased overall performance for the series which, in turn, led to an increase in global customer interest.

The C-model carried its crew of two in side-by-side seating under and behind a large-view glassed nose. Structural dimensions included a running length of 30.9 feet, a beam (rotor included) of 26.9 feet, and a height of 8.8 feet. Empty weight is 1,100lb against an MTOW of 2,050lb. The HIO-360-D1A engine provides for speeds up to 110 miles-per-hour (cruising near 100 mph), a range out to 205 miles, and a rate-of-climb near 750 feet-per-minute.

Showcasing its strengths as an urban environment performer for law enforcement, the Model 300CQ "Sky Knight" was born for just that market segment. These were outfitted with additional noise-reduction equipment for urban operations, the reduction claiming up to 75% of noise generated by the small helicopter.

The Model 300CB then followed as the first dedicated helicopter development produced by Schweizer itself. Prior to this, the forms were emerging under the Hughes Helicopter/MD Helicopters brand labels. The series switched to a Textron Lycoming HO-360-C1A engine of 180 horsepower and recorded its first-flight on May 28th, 1993. The design was then type-certified in August of 1995, clearing the path for serial production and formal operations in virtually any military or civilian airspace setting.

The "Model CBi" has since been introduced as a fuel-injected version of the Model 300CB. In addition to this, several enhanced survival features are championed with this variant.

The Schweizer Model 300 series has seen operational service with Argentina (Coast Guard), Brazil (military police), Colombia (Air Force), El Salvador (Air Force), Greece (Army), Indonesia (Army), Pakistan (Army), Thailand (Army), Turkey (Army), and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (law enforcement) of the United States. The list certainly showcases the type's inherent design versatility, able to operate in urban or open-country settings as well as over-land or over-water.

The S-330/S-333 is a modernized Model 300 offshoot appearing in 1992. This more modern, sleeker offering is the basis for the North Grumman MQ-8 "Fire Scout" helicopter UAV (detailed elsewhere on this site) and improved, four-bladed Sikorsky S-434 series. Powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C20W turboshaft engine of 420 horsepower, it is only in service with the Dominican Air Force as well as the Saudi Arabian Army (2019). This two- or three-seat model offers speeds closer to 120 mph, and range out to 365 miles and a rate-of-climb reaching 1,380 feet-per-minute.

In 2004, Sikorsky purchased Schweizer and its assets in order to take full advantage of the latter's ability to prototype helicopter specimens for rapid testing. In 2010, Model 300 production ended which went on to hamper parts distribution and product support - leaving many Model 300 operators to seek alternatives and damaging Model 300 global interest.

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January 2018 - Schweizer has purchased rights and type certificates for its Model 300 and Model 333 series light utility helicopters from Sikorsky.

March 2019 - It has been reported that Schweizer is looking to restart production of its Model 300 series with some 30 orders standing. Around 1,500 Model 300 helicopters remain in service.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Schweizer Model 300 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
1 x Textron Lycoming HIO-360-D1A 4-cylinder engine developing 190 horsepower and driving a three-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor.
109 mph
175 kph | 94 kts
Max Speed
4,921 ft
1,500 m | 0 miles
Service Ceiling
224 miles
360 km | 194 nm
Operational Range
750 ft/min
229 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Schweizer Model 300 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
30.8 ft
9.40 m
O/A Length
26.9 ft
(8.20 m)
O/A Width
8.9 ft
(2.70 m)
O/A Height
1,102 lb
(500 kg)
Empty Weight
2,050 lb
(930 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the Schweizer Model 300 family line.
Model 300 - Base Series Designation.
Model 296 - Original Hughes Helicopter U.S. Army military development of 1956; evaluated unsuccessfully as YHO-2.
Model 296C (Model 300C) - Fitted with Lycoming HIO-360-D1A engine; increased performance model with enlarged main rotor diameter (26.9 feet from 25.3 feet) produced by both Hughes Helicopters and Schweizer concerns.
Model 300CQ "Sky Knight" - Model 300C platform for urban law enforcement use; reduced noise levels for urban operations.
Model 300CB - Schweizer production model of 1993; powered by Textron Lycoming HO-360-C1A engine of 180 horsepower; two- or three-seat cockpit configuration.
Model 300CBi - Based in the Model 300CB production model; featuring fuel-injection based engine system; improved cold weather climate operations; enhanced safety features.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Schweizer Model 300. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2,800 Units

Contractor(s): Hughes Helicopter / Schweizer Aircraft Corporation / Sikorsky Aircraft - USA
National flag of Argentina National flag of Brazil National flag of Colombia National flag of Greece National flag of Indonesia National flag of Pakistan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of the United States

[ Argentina; Brazil; Colombia; El Salvador; Greece; Indonesia; Pakistan; Thailand; Turkey; United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (109mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Schweizer Model 300
Image from the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery database.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Schweizer Model 300 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) appears in the following collections:
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