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7th of October 1989

The first definitive design version on the Enstrom 480 / TH-28 made its first flight on this day, the 7th of October in 1989.

The definitive design prototype of the Enstrom 480 / TH-28(N8631E c/n 3003)

The Enstrom 480 was developed in response to the United States Army requirement for a turbine-powered training helicopter. The basis for the design was the Enstrom Model 280 L Hawk, a four-sear helicopter. To have a proof of concept aircraft a Model 280 helicopter was modified to Model 480 / TH-28 standard and it first flew in December 1988, followed by the first flight of the definitive prototype, on this day in aviation history in 1989; The Rolls Royce Allison 250-C20W turboshaft engine powered helicopter was put through its paces and the military version, the TH-28 was certified in September 1992. Several options are available for the aircraft; - Easy reconfiguration for a one, three or five occupants layout

- Airconditioning (using evaporator systems)

- Additional baggage area in the tail boom

- Emergency floats

- Cargo hook (for loads up to 1000 lbs or 454 kg) - Police/law enforcement equipment (Police radios, searchlight, siren, FLIR and data recording capability.

4 variants have been developed,

  • TH-28 (only 6 built, as Enstrom did not get the US Army Contract) Specially configured military training helicopter with unique features: - Three crashworthy seats - Large instrument panel with dual instruments for either VFR or IFR training - Crashworthy fuel system - Seats are positioned in such a way that 2 students can be trained simultaneously

  • Model 480 Initial 5 seat civil version, seat position staggered for maximum forward visibility from all seats. Easily reconfigured for training or light cargo flights.

  • Model 480B Improved version with higher gross weight (Increased by 150 lbs). Transmission system improvements were incorporated as well as airframe vibration damping. Certified in February 2001, UK CAA certified the aircraft in August 2003.

  • Model 480B Guardian Specially modified for police or law enforcement operations. Equipped with camera and searchlight

Enstrom 480B

Specifications for an Enstrom Model 480:

General characteristics

  • Crew: one

  • Capacity: four passengers

  • Length: 29 ft 10 in (9.09 m)

  • Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)

  • Empty weight: 1,675 lb (760 kg)

  • Gross weight: 2,850 lb (1,293 kg)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20W turboshaft , 285 hp (215 kW)

  • Main rotor diameter: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)

  • Main rotor area: 804 sq ft (74.7 m2)


  • Cruise speed: 131 mph (211 km/h, 114 kn)

  • Range: 435 mi (700 km, 378 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (3,962 m)

  • Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min (7.62 m/s)

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