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SW-4 prototype
Role Multipurpose utility helicopter
National origin Poland
Manufacturer PZL-Świdnik
First flight 29 October 1996
Introduction 2002
Status In service
Primary user Polish Armed Forces
Number built 40[1]

The PZL SW-4 Puszczyk (pl. Tawny Owl) is a Polish light single-engine multipurpose helicopter manufactured by PZL-Świdnik.


The origins of PZL-Swidnik's SW4 five seat light utility helicopter date back to the early 1980s.

PZL-Swidnik began development of a new four/five place light utility helicopter about 1981. This original SW4 was to have been powered by a 300kW (400 shp) PZL Rzeszow GTD350 turbo shaft with the prototype mockup. It could reach the rated top speed of about 240km/h (130kt) and a max range with auxiliary fuel tank about 900km (485nm).

The restructuring the powers of the previous Iron Curtain countries allowed PZL-Swidnik to redesign the SW4, on the base around the Allison 250 turbo shaft. Aside from the power plant, design changes included a more streamlined fuselage and revised tail and tail boom.

The ground test of a non flying prototype, was launched in December 1994. The two consequent air born prototypes were completed, the first flew on or about October 26, 1996.

PZL-Swidnik targeted US FAA FAR Part 27 certification for the SW4, which was believed it should allow it to enter production by 1999. PZL Swidnik management decided however to redesign the rotor head, what resulted in a very costly delay. The purpose was to enlarge the horizontal stabilizer and to improve the hydraulic systems.

Once the basic Allison powered SW4 become certified it should also be re-certified for production at PZL Swidnik including Pratt & Whitney Canada PW200- power plant variant. A twin power plant model was developed in consideration with forthcoming European regulations which would restrict single engine helicopter operations.

The SW4 as planned was expected to fulfill a range of utility missions ranging from civil and executive transport to Medevac, police, border patrol duties and some of military pilot training tasks. The typical for the eastern block countries technical enthusiasm confronted with typical for eastern markets managerial short sightness and classic below par and sluggish execution in combination with lack of investment capital, especially for whatever reason the failure to pursue the more attractive variants of patented No Tail Rotor application resulted in a very limited market. Lack of orders for this kind of machines, taking in consideration other well proven commercialized products on the market, literally killed this undertaking, as the competitors were able to succeed with their orders. Consequently the very limited production could only satisfy some internal demands for Polish military market. [2] At the present time all of the SW-4 are now serving as the training equipment for "The Center of Aviation Education and Training at Dęblin" (Ośrodka Szkolenia Lotniczego w Dęblinie).

In 2006, PZL-Świdnik entered however into an agreement with China's Jiujiang Hongying Technology Development Ltd. to assemble the SW4 at Jiujiang, China, hopefully targeting some international market for SW4. The maiden flight of the first SW4 co-produced in China took place on or about 25 February 2010. [3] The 2011 development of the RUAV (Rotorcraft Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle) version have had been initiated.[4] First was shown at the MSPO 2012 in Poland as "SW-4 Solo" RUAS/OPH platform (Rotorcraft Unmanned Air System/Optionally Piloted Helicopter) and was expected to be initially deployed by 2013. [5]


PZL SW-4 #0203 of Polish Air Force

One 335kW (450 shp) (283kW/380 shp max continuous rated) Allison 250C20R/2 turbo shaft driving a three blade main rotor and two blade tail rotor. Option of one 460kW (615 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW200/9 turbo shaft.

Allison engine - Max speed 232 km/h (125 kt), normal cruising speed 200 km/h (108 kt). Initial rate of climb 1973 ft/min. Service ceiling 17,820 ft (5,430 m) Max range with standard fuel and no reserves 860 km (464 nmi). Endurance 5hr 8min.



Specifications (SW-4)[edit]

Data from {name of first source}

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 10.57 m (34 ft 8 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 9.00 m (29 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.05 m (10 ft 0 in)
  • Disc area: 64 m² (684 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 1,050 kg (2,310 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,600 kg (3,520 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,800 kg (3,960 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C20R/2 turboshaft engine, 336 kW (457 shp)


See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists


External links[edit]