The Hughes/Schweizer 300 is the most successful three seat helicopter built, with over 3400 produced by the two manufacturers over three decades
Development of this versatile utility helicopter dates back to the mid 1950s when Hughes flew the two seat Model 269 for the first time in October 1956. The basic design sparked US Army interest and it ordered five as the YHO2HU for evaluation in the scout and observation roles. Deliveries of the commercial equivalent Model 269A began in 1961.
The 269A program received a huge boost when Hughes won a US Army contract for a light helicopter primary trainer. In all 792 were built as the TH55A Osage and more than 60,000 US Army helicopter pilots learnt to fly in the type.
Hughes followed the two seat 269A with the slightly larger three seat 269B, which it marketed as the Hughes 300, which first flew in 1964. The 300 was followed from 1969 by the improved 300C, which introduced a more powerful 140kW (190hp) Lycoming HIO360 engine and increased diameter main rotor, giving an increase in payload of 45%, plus performance improvements. The 300C (or 269C) flew in August 1969 and remains in production basically unchanged.
Since 1983 the 300C has been built by Schweizer in the USA. Schweizer built the 300C initially under licence for Hughes, and then acquired all rights to the helicopter in 1986. Under Schweizer's stewardship more than 250 minor improvements have been made to the 300C, but the basic design has been left unchanged. Schweizer also offers a version optimised for police work. Named the Sky Knight it is available with options such as a search light and infrared sensors.
The latest 300 model is the 300CB trainer powered by a HO360C1A and delivered from late 1995.
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