Schweizer Aircraft

The Schweizer Aircraft Corporation, located in Horseheads, NY, was incorporated in 1939 by three Schweizer brothers, who built their first glider in 1930. Primarily a manufacturer of sailplanes and helicopters, Schweizer is now a diversified aerospace company. Currently the oldest privately-owned aircraft company in the United States, Schweizer signed an agreement in August 2004 to be acquired by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut.

Schweizer primarily produces light, piston-engined helicopters for use in utility and flight-training roles. The Schweizer 300CBi is one of the most widely-used training helicopters in the world, eclipsed only by the Robinson R22. The popularity of Schweizer helicopters for training purposes has risen in recent years due to FAA regulations concerning the use of the Robinson R22 in a training environment.

Schweizer is perhaps known best for its popular line of gliders (sailplanes), the earliest of which (the model SGP 1-1) was produced in 1930. Although very few of the early gliders were built, later models gained popularity, such as the SGS 2-8 and 2-12, which were adopted by the U.S. Army Air Corps for training as the TG-2 and TG-3, respectively.

In the 1960s the Schweizer Aircraft Corporation designed and manufactured its line of most popular gliders, including the SGS 2-33, which to this day is the most popular training glider in use in the United States. Because it is easy to fly, of simple construction, and quite rugged and forgiving of a lot of abuse, it serves its role as a trainer very well. The 2-33 was adopted by the United States Air Force Academy as the TG-4, for use in introductory airmanship training. The Academy used over a dozen such gliders until 2002 when they were replaced by more modern sailplanes.

Other popular Schweizer gliders include the single-seat SGS 1-26 and the two-seat 2-32, both of which can be found in many soaring clubs and in private ownership across the country.