Enstrom 280C Shark
Single-engine three-seat light helicopter, U.S.A.

Archive Photos [1]

[Enstrom Model 280C (N170Q, 1978) on display at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro Airshow, MCAS El Toro, California (Photo by John Shupek copyright © 2000 Skytamer Images)]

Overview ²

  • Enstrom 280FX Shark
  • Role: Light helicopter
  • Manufacturer: Enstrom Helicopter
  • Introduction: 1965
  • Produced: 1965-present
  • Variants: Enstrom 480

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

Design and Development ²

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.

The company produces three models, the F-28, the more aerodynamic 280 and the turbine-engined 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.

The 280 was a huge design success, with a Boston-based design firm concluding a brief to make the F-28 more commercially appealing. This resulted in the 280 later being named by “Fortune” (magazine) as one of the 25 best factory-made products in the United States.

Variants ²


  • F-28: Certified April 1965.

  • F-28A: Initial production version. Certified May 1968.

  • T-28: Turbine powered.

  • F-28B: Turbocharged version.

  • F-28C: Fitted with an upgraded engine with turbocharger, and a two piece windscreen. Certified 1975.

  • F-28C-2: Fitted with a more rounded cabin, a single piece windsrceen and new console.

  • F-28F Falcon: Similar to F-28C with more powerful engine, improved turbocharger and addition of a throttle corellator. Certified December 1980.

  • F-27F-P: Police patrol version developed for the Pasadena Police Department. It is equipped with searchlights, FLIR and a PA system.


  • 280 Shark: Certified September 1975.

  • 280C Shark: Aerodynamically refined version of the F-28C-2, equipped with an upgraded engine, fitted with a turbocharger. Certified 1975.

  • 280L Hawk: Stretched cabin four-seat version, first flying in December 1968. Development halted due to lack of funds.

  • 280F: Similar to 280C with more powerful engine, improved turbocharger and addition of a throttle correlator. Certified December 1980.

  • 280FX: Based on the 280F with landing gear fairings, redesigned air intakes on top of the cabin and a redesigned a relocated horizontal stabilizer with vertical end plates. Certified in January 1985.

Operators ²

Military Operators

  • Chile: Chilean Air Force
  • Colombia: Colombian National Army
  • Peru: Peruvian Army - 5 units; Peruvian Navy - 6 F-28F's ordered in January, 2008.
  • Venezuela: Venezuelan Air Force

Law Enforcement Operators

  • Indonesia: Indonesian National Police
  • Thailand: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
  • United States: Pasadena Police Department (1960's to date)

Specifications (F-28F) ²

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)


  • Maximum speed: 97 knots (112 mph, 180 km/h) (max cruise)
  • Cruise speed: 89 knots (102 mph, 164 km/h)
  • Range: 241 nm (277 mi, 446 km)
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,660 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,450 ft/min (7.37 m/s)
  • Disc loading: lb/ft² (kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: hp/lb (W/kg)


  1. Photos: John Shupek, Copyright © 2000 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, Enstrom F-28

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