The Schweizer 330 is the ultimate expression of the Hughes/Schweizer 300 series of two/three seat light piston engine helicopters that dates back to the mid 1950s.
The Schweizer company, a firm well known for its production of gliders over the last five decades, acquired the production and manufacturing rights to the Hughes 300, which it had been building under licence since 1983, from McDonnell Douglas in November 1986. In 1987 Schweizer announced it was developing an improved turbine powered version.
The new model was dubbed the 330 and was designed to fulfil a number of utility roles, including law enforcement, observation and patrol, aerial photography, utility transport and agricultural spraying, missions all ably filled by the earlier and smaller 300.
The Schweizer 330 uses the dynamic components, rotors, controls and systems of the proven 300C, combined with an Allison 250C20 turboshaft. The engine has been derated to just 165kW (220hp), giving the 330 excellent hot and high performance. For example the powerplant will reach its max rated power output right up to 18,000ft. Other changes compared with the 300C include what is essentially an all new fuselage, new vertical tail surfaces and new tail fairing.
The 330 first flew in the first half of 1988, being publicly demonstrated flying for the first time that June. FAA certification was awarded in September 1992 and first deliveries took place from mid 1993.
The improved 330SP was announced in May 1997. Compared to the basic 330 it features a larger main rotor hub, increased chord main blades and raised skids. These modifications can also be retrofitted to existing 330s.
To enhance its appeal as a trainer the 330 is offered with a third set of flight controls, allowing the carriage of two pupils and an instructor on training flights.
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