SCHWEIZER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
Established 1939 by Ernest Schweizer (1912-2000) to produce sailplanes; from mid-1957 to 1995 made Grumman (later Gulfstream American) Ag-Cat, initially under subcontract, but as Schweizer-owned product from January 1981; manufacturing rights sold to Ag-Cat Corporation of Malden, Missouri, but production terminated soon thereafter.
Schweizer acquired rights for sole US manufacture of Hughes 300 light helicopter 13 July 1983; continues to support earlier Hughes 300s; first Elmira-built 300C completed June 1984; Schweizer purchased US rights for whole 300C programme from McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company (formerly Hughes Helicopters) 21 November 1986. Deliveries totalled 56 helicopters in 1996, 44 in 1997, 41 in 1998, 43 in 1999, 36 in 2000 and 33 in 2001, by which time Schweizer had delivered nearly 850 helicopters.
Schweizer also manufactures the Model 300C, 300CB, 300CBi and 333 helicopters and the 2-37 surveillance aircraft. An unmanned version of the 300CB, known as the RoboCopter 300, has been developed in collaboration with Kawada Industries Inc of Japan.
At the Heli-Expo show at Orlando, Florida, in February 2002 Schweizer, Sikorsky and Shanghai Little Eagle Science and Technology (SLEC) of the People's Republic of China announced an agreement whereby a new joint-venture company, Shanghai Sikorsky Aircarft Co (SSAC), in which SLEC and Sikorsky hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent shares respectively, will produce Schweizer Model 300 series helicopters under licence. Initially, Schweizer 300C/CBCBis and 333s are being assembled from Schweizer-supplied kits (as Shen3A, Shen2B and Shen4T respectively), leading to manufacture of detail parts and eventually to full manufacture in China. First three kits arrived in Shanghai on 26 August 2002, followed by two more in September. Target production in China is 24 helicopters per year.
Subcontracts include aircraft structural components and assemblies for Northrop Grumman, Sikorsky and Boeing. The company employed 460 in 2001 in its 18,580 m2 (200,000 sq ft) facility.