The Enstrom 280FX Shark trainer helicopter is manufactured by Enstrom Helicopter Corporation to address the military and commercial pilot training requirements across the globe.
The trainer aircraft is operational with air forces such as Venezuela and Pakistan.
Pakistan Army Aviation Corps took delivery of four Enstrum 280FX helicopters in June 2018. Two helicopters were delivered to Venezuelan Air Force in 2012.
The rotorcraft received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October 2008.
Enstrom 280FX Shark trainer helicopter design and features
The composite airframe of the Enstrom 280FX helicopter is integrated with a strong fuselage.
The industry-proven design of the helicopter offers more reliability and protection against crashes.
Based on the design of Enstrom F-28 helicopter, the 280FX is built using advanced aerodynamic techniques. It is built according to the stringent safety measures of law enforcement, government, and military agencies.
The conventional rotor design of the helicopter includes a two-bladed tail rotor and a three-bladed main rotor. The fully articulated rotor system with high inertia enhances the stability and safety of the helicopter. The unblocked tail rotor further delivers superior yaw control in the windiest conditions.
The helicopter measures 8.75m-long, 2.2m-wide and 2.7m-high. The diameter of the main rotor is 9.76m, while that of the tail rotor is 1.42m. The spacious cabin provides seating arrangement for a crew member and two passengers.
The gross weight of the rotorcraft is 1,179kg (2,600lb), while its empty weight, including the standard equipment, is 757kg. The maximum payload carrying capacity of the helicopter is 422kg, while the useful load capacity varies based on the mission requirements.
The helicopter can be further fitted with a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and an auxiliary fuel tank with a capacity of approximately 50l.
Enstrom 280 variants and configurations
The Enstrom 280 family of helicopters encompasses a range of variants, including Enstrom 280F, 280 Shark, 280C Shark Enstrom 480, Enstrom TH 180 and Spitfire Mark I.
The helicopter can be customised into multiple configurations based on mission requirements and training scenarios. It can be installed with special avionics and mission equipment to support police, medical response and military missions.
Cockpit and avionics
The wide cockpit is fitted with overhead and chin windows to enhance the situational awareness of the pilot. The windows provide 240º visibility of the surroundings. The helicopter is fitted with foam seats inspired by NASA technology.
The trainer helicopter can be optionally equipped with Garmin GMX200 multi-functional displays (MFD), Garmin GTX 330 Transponder, Garmin GNS 430W/530W GPS/COM navigation suite, noise cancellation equipment and other communication devices.
Engine and performance of Enstrom 280FX
The Enstrom 280FX is powered by a Lycoming HIO-360-F1AD turbocharged engine. It has the maximum power output of 167kW (225shp). The fuel system integrates two interconnected fuel tanks with a maximum fuel carrying capacity of 151l.
The helicopter can operate at a maximum altitude of 3,658m, when loaded with a mission weight of 1,066kg (2,350lb). The hover ceilings in ground effect (IGE) and out of ground effect (OGE) for 1,066kg mission load are 4,023m and 2,652m respectively. The IGE hover ceiling when carrying a mission load of 1,179kg is 2,347m.
The power-plant ensures a maximum airspeed of 102kt when loaded with a mission weight of 1,066kg. The maximum cruise speed of the helicopter is 100kt, the maximum range is 229nm, and endurance is up to 3.5 hours when travelling at an altitude of 3,000ft.