Robinson R22 vs. Schweizer 300CBI

"So, which Helicopter did you learn in?"

It's a common question, and one which the majority of helicopter pilots will answer with either "Robinson" or "Schweizer". Admittedly some of you will be stuck with whatever your local Heli school has to offer but occasionally you find schools with both and therefore, a choice!

I say majority because you can learn to fly in any helicopter you choose, so if you can afford to pay the hourly rate, or indeed own a Eurocpter EC120 or a Bell Longranger (pictured), there's nothing stopping you from learning in one! Just remember though, if you do, in JAA countries (Joint Aviation Authorities) you will be restricted to flying that model only, other helicopters will require a "type rating" qualifying you to legally fly them, and with an hourly rate for rental of between £350 and £650 for the bigger 4 to 6 seater helicopters you're going to need a fat wallet to pass your test! I didn't have this luxury and therefore easily narrowed my choice to the R22 or the Schweizer...

Longranger Helicopter G-PWIT

Don't get me wrong, if you can afford to fly a bigger heli than this I would merely recommend that you fly within your perceived personal limits, affordability and skill level, and the more hours you do in the same type of helicopter the better you will be at flying it. Learning on one type and then jumping straight into another has it's own associated risks and should be done with a certain amount of care and respect for the new helicopter you are flying. Always remember, as a helicopter pilot, each and every time you fly, you are responsible for your own safety, that of your passengers, and anything that you have the potential to land on, be it by choice or forced emergency...

The purpose of this page is to compare and contrast the Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter with the Schweizer 300CBi helicopter. Both are popular as trainers, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each manufacturer's helicopter.

The Robinson R-22 Beta II

 The R22 is the most popular civilian training helicopter in the world. The Beta II is the newest and most powerful model of the Robinson 2 seat helicopter so far produced. Robinson has built over 3800 R22s since their certification in 1979. The pros and cons listed here apply only to the Beta II model and not to earlier Standard, HP, Alpha and Beta models and assumes that the optional auxiliary fuel tank is installed.

Advantages - R22 Beta II

Robinson R22 Helicopter G-CDBF

Disadvantages - R22 Beta II Helicopter

The Schweizer 300CBi Helicopter

The Schweizer 300CBi was introduced in 1995 as a primary trainer to compete with the Robinson R22. By 'down rating' the engine and running it 500 RPMs slower than the 300-C model, and by lowering the gross weight by 300 lbs., Schweizer was able to achieve longer component times on many life-limited parts, longer projected engine overhaul times, and more fuel economy, in order to make the 300CBi more cost-competitive with the Robinson R22. The 300CBI's predecessor was the H269. The advantages and disadvantages of the '300CBi' model are basically the same as those for the older '300C' model.

Advantages - Schweizer 300-CBi Helicopter

Schweizer H269 Helicopter G-CBCN

Disadvantages - Schweizer 300-CBi Helicopter

The table below compares some figures for these aircraft. Amounts are approximate and may vary by model & optional equipment..... Values are based on the manufacturer's published data at the time this information was written.....

Value Robinson R22 Beta II Schweizer 300-CBi
Maximum Gross Weight 1370 lbs (621 kgs) 1750 lbs (794 kgs)
Empty Weight 855 lbs 1088 lbs
Standard Fuel Capacity 19.2 U.S. Gallons 32 U.S. Gallons
Extended Fuel Capacity 29.7 U.S. Gallons 64 U.S. Gallons
Optional Auxiliary Fuel 10.5 gal 32 gal
Fuel Burn (Approximately) 8 to 10 Gal / Hr 10 Gal / Hr
Fuel System Carburettor Fuel Injection
Maximum Horsepower 180 (de-rated to 124) 180
Maximum Seat Weight 240 lbs Not Specified
Standard seating capacity 2 2
Recommended Cruise Airspeed 96 kts / 110 mph 80 kts / 92 mph
Hover Ceiling (In Ground Effect) 9400 ft @ 1370 lbs 7000 ft @ 1600 lbs