The first of two prototypes of the two-seat Hughes Model 269 helicopter
flew first in October 1956, only 13 months after commencement of design
work. The basic design sparked US Army interest to order 5, designated
YHO-2-HU, for evaluation. As a result Hughes won a US Army contract for
a light helicopter primary trainer and 792 were built as the TH55A
Osage. Deliveries of the commercial Model 269A, designated Hughes 200,
started in 1961. The three-seat Model 269B, designated Hughes 300, flew
first in 1964. In 1969 the 300 was followed by the improved Model 269C,
designated Hughes 300C. Since 1983, Schweizer has built the 269C/300C,
initially under licence for Hughes. Schweizer Aircraft Corp. acquired
all rights to the helicopter in 1986. Already over 3400 helicopters of
the 269/300/TH55 are built, of which 2800 by Hughes before production
was transferred to Schweizer. In 2005, Schweizer Aircraft Corp. became a
wholly owned Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. subsidiary, rebranding its popular
light training helicopter as the Sikorsky S-300. In 2009, Sikorsky
Aircraft announced the creation of Sikorsky Global Helicopters, a
business unit made up of the manufacturer’s commercial products,
including the S-76, S-92 and H-92 platforms, as well as the Schweizer
helicopter line. As part of the rebranding the commercial products, the
Schweizer helicopters as the Sikorsky S-300C, S-300CBi, S-333 and S-434.
For a while, it appeared that the acquisition would revitalize the
series. Instead, the S-300 more or less dropped off the map,
particularly after Sikorsky shuttered the original Schweizer
manufacturing plant in Elmira, N.Y. in 2010. Today, the S-300 production
line is finally back up and running at Sikorsky’s facilities in
Coatesville, Pa., also home to the company’s S-92 and S-76 production lines.
Sikorsky is trying to reduce the costs by moving toward a standardized S-300
model with a redesigned instrument panel, and as a result Sikorsky has
discontinued the 300CBi variant of the helicopter.
Schweizer 269C s/n S-1802 was test flown with the temporary registration N41S. In 2000, the helicopter was registered
in Germany as D-HRIC. The D-HRIC "15" is operated by S.P. Luftbild GmbH and was photographed at the Heli-Holland heliport
near Emmen in the Netherlands, when used for aerial photography in Holland.