The Polish air force is to buy 47 PZL-Swidnik SW-4 light helicopters in a phased programme through to 2010, the manufacturer confirmed at the show yesterday.

The deal gives the single-engine aircraft a solid platform of sales and is a major boost in the run-up to certification, which is due imminently.

The agreement was confirmed by Gen Ryszard Olszewski, the head of the air force, who also said that the aircraft would be used for pilot training at the air force academy in Deblin.

The certification flight test programme is almost complete with two prototypes having flown more than 640h. PZL-Swidnik says a further 25h remain to be flown.


Certification by the Polish civil aviation authorities, meeting FAR-27/JAR-27 requirements, is expected in October.

Cementing these firm sales will encourage PZL-Swidnik, which is hoping to secure orders in other central European countries.

The competitive price tag of the aircraft, which is about 2.8 million zloty ($700,000) is a key selling point, it says.

The five-seater SW-4 is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C20R/2 turbine and is designed for training, passenger and EMS transport as well as law enforcement and military use.

Meanwhile, PZL-Swidnik is continuing with development work on its new two-seat light helicopter, the IS-2, which will be marketed as a two-seat trainer.



The aircraft will be in direct price competition with the Robinson R-22.

"We're developing this aircraft to be one of the safest if not the safest helicopter in the world," says Jan Ziubrzynski, managing director of HeliWing 2000 which is promoting PZL-Swidnik aircraft at Farnborough.

"The mission as a trainer means that the development focus has been weighted hugely towards safety. It is not performance driven.

"We're completing component tolerance testing right now and that will be followed by the flight test programme. We expect certification within two years."

PZL-Swidnik will manufacture the IS-2, which is being developed jointly with the government-funded Institute of Aviation.

The company is hoping to forge a reputation as a manufacturer of new aircraft, not just as a capable integrator.

Says Ziubrzynski: "The business does not have the highest profile, yet we build the airframes for the AgustaWestland A109, A119 and the new AB139, including the prototypes for that programme.

"We also want to be known for new-build programmes though, such as the IS-2 and the SW-4."

Source: Flight Daily News