Enstrom F-28

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F-28 / 280
Enstrom 280FX Shark Geelong Creek.jpg
Enstrom 280FX Shark
Role Light helicopter
Manufacturer Enstrom Helicopter Corporation
Introduction 1965
Produced 1965-present
Unit cost
$360,000 USD (F-28F)[citation needed]
Variants Enstrom 480
An Enstrom F-28C on inflatable floats, 1986

The Enstrom F-28 and 280 are a family of small, light piston-engined helicopters produced by the Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.[1]

Design and development[edit]

Since delivering their first helicopter shortly after Federal Aviation Administration type certification of the F-28 model in April 1965, Enstrom helicopter has produced (as of 2007) approx 1,200 aircraft.[2]

The company produces three models, the F-28, the more aerodynamic 280 and the turbine-powered 480, each with their own variants. The F-28 and 280 both use Lycoming piston engines, virtually identical to those found in general aviation fixed-wing aircraft.[1]



1973 model F-28A
Enstrom F-28F used by Universal Helicopters of Newfoundland and Labrador for training, 1988
Certified April 1965.[1][3]
Initial production version. Certified May 1968.[1][3]
Turbine powered.[1]
Turbocharged version.[1]
Fitted with an upgraded engine with turbocharger, and a two piece windscreen. Certified 1975[1][3]
F-28F Falcon
Similar to F-28C with more powerful engine, improved turbocharger and addition of a throttle corellator. Certified December 1980[1][3]
Police patrol version developed for the Pasadena Police Department (California). It is equipped with searchlights, FLIR and a PA system.[citation needed]
Spitfire Mark I
A turbine powered conversion by Spitfire Helicopters Inc.[citation needed]
Spitfire Mark II Tigershark
A turbine powered conversion by Spitfire Helicopters Inc.[citation needed]


Enstrom 280FX Shark, an aerodynamically restyled Enstrom F-28 for the corporate market
280 Shark
Certified September 1975.[1]
280C Shark
Aerodynamically refined version of the F28C-2, equipped with an upgraded engine, fitted with a turbocharger. Certified 1975[1]
280L Hawk
Stretched cabin four-seat version, first flying in December 1968. Development halted due to lack of funds.[citation needed]
Similar to 280C with more powerful engine, improved turbocharger and addition of a throttle correlator. Certified December 1980[3]
Based on the 280F with landing gear fairings, redesigned air intakes on top of the cabin and a redesigned and relocated horizontal stabilizer with vertical end plates. Certified in January 1985[3]


 United States

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On 26 January 2015 an Enstrom 280FX crashed at Erie, Colorado, following the separation of its main rotor blades, killing both the student and instructor on board. The accident was caused by a failure of the main rotor spindle as a result of a crack. The accident resulted in the issuance of an Emergency Airworthiness Directive by the US Federal Aviation Administration on 12 February 2015 grounding more than 300 helicopters. The AD requires a magnetic particle inspection to detect cracks in the main rotor spindle in aircraft with more than 5,000 hours and requires replacing the spindle if cracked.[8]

Specifications (F28F)[edit]

Data from Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: Two passengers
  • Length: 29 ft 3 in (8.91 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 32 ft (9.75 m)
  • Height: 9 ft (2.74 m)
  • Disc area: 804 ft² (74.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,570 lb (712 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,600 lb (1,179 kg)
  • Useful load: 1,030 lb (467 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,600 lb (1,179 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming HIO-360-F1AD piston engine, 225 hp (168 kW)


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Apostolo, Giorgio: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters, pages 64-65. Bonanza Books, New York, 1984. ISBN 0-517-43935-2
  2. ^ Rotorspot.nl: Enstrom Production List
  3. ^ a b c d e f FAA Type Certificate
  4. ^ "World's Air Forces 1990 pg. 41". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ejercito de Chile 280FX". Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2013" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "California, Pasadena Police Department Air Operations". policehelicopterpilot.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Kauh, Elaine (13 February 2015). "FAA Issues Emergency AD For Enstrom Helicopters". AVweb. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Taylor, M J H (editor) (1999). Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000 Edition. Brassey's. ISBN 1-85753-245-7. 

External links[edit]