TWO MAJOR US flight schools have decided to replace their Robinson R22s with Schweizer's new Model 300CB training helicopter, citing as a factor safety concerns with the R22.

Schweizer launched the 300CB at Heli-Expo with orders for 23 aircraft, including ten for Concord, California-based Helicopter Adventures. Oakland, California-based Sierra Academy of Aeronautics has also signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire the type.

Helicopter Adventures operates 17 R22s, most of which will be replaced by 300CBs. President Patrick Carr says that the company was looking for a "bigger, better," aircraft and that US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) calls to ground the R22 were the "final straw". Two of the 26 unexplained R22 accidents cited by the NTSB have involved Helicopter Adventures' aircraft, he says.

Sierra Academy operates eight R22s, including one of the aircraft involved in the unexplained accidents. President Lew Hudspeth says that the number of 300CBs to be acquired will depend on the outcome of an impending meeting with Kawaski, which accounts for 50% of the company's helicopter pilot-training business.

The 300CB is expected to be certificated in April/May, with production deliveries beginning soon after. Schweizer delivered 39 piston-powered 300Cs and seven single-turbine 330s in 1994, says vice-president Paul Schweizer. The company plans to build one 300C/CB a week and one 330 a month in 1995, which represents an increase of almost 50% .

Improvements have been introduced into the 300C to set it apart from the lower-cost 300CB, Schweizer says, and certification of options for the 330 is under way. These include an air-intake filter, larger fuel tank, trainer instrument-panel, spray system, cargo hook, improved rotor blades, cargo compartment and taller landing-gear skids.

Source: Flight International