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 five Model 269 helicopters, 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. 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 were market 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. Sikorsky tried to reduce the costs by moving toward a standardized S-300
model with a redesigned instrument panel and as a result Sikorsky discontinued the 300CBi variant of the helicopter.
In 2013, production of the S-300C was resumed on a S-300C production line at Sikorsky’s facilities in Coatesville, Pennsylvania,
also home to the company’s S-92 and S-76 production lines. By the end of 2014, this line was closed and final assembly was outsourced
to Summit Aviation. Selling the S-300 production lines outright is considered, along with the possibility of restructuring the programmes
within Sikorsky. On 6 November 2015, Lockheed Martin completed its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft, replacing United Technologies
as the American helicopter maker’s parent company. It remains to be seen what the effects of this merge are on a possible restart of the S-300
production. Over 3700 helicopters of the 269/300/TH55 are built, of which 2800 by Hughes before production was transferred to Schweizer.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Hughes 269C is H269.
Over the years a number of Hughes 269B, 269C and Schweizer 300 were
operated by Heli-Holland. On 14 April 1975, Hughes 269B PH-HOP was the
first helicopter registered by Heli-Holland in the Dutch register. The
first 269C was the PH-JOH, registered with Heli-Holland BV on 29 May 1976.
On 13 May 1980, the 1975-built Hughes 269C c/n 105-0444 (ex. D-HKEP, OY-HCE)
was registered PH-RYF in the Netherlands with Ryfas Heli Service BV, Hilversum.
On 30 June 1980, the Hughes 269C PH-RYF crashed near 's Gravendeel and registration
PH-RYF was cancelled on 28 August 1980. After being rebuilt by Heli-Holland,
registration PH-HAH was requested for the Hughes, but the authorities refused registration
PH-HAH for this helicopter. On 28 November 1983, the aircraft was restored to the register
as PH-RYF with Heli-Holland BV. On 16 October 1989, Hughes 269C PH-RYF was registered with
Dibova VoF in Beuningen. On 27 November 1992, after Dibova received
PH-DIB, the PH-RYF was returned to Heli-Holland and registered with Heli
Holland Holding BV, Emmer-Compascuum. On 9 April 2015, the Hughes 269C
PH-RYF was registered with Ryfas Heli Service BV, Hilversum, where it replaced the
PH-OKE that was damaged beyond
repair in a crash at Hilversum airfield on 13 March 2014.