The PZL SW-4 is a light, single-engine helicopter of Polish origin designed for multiple roles. It’s manufactured by PZL-Swidnik.
The PZL SW-4 had a particularly long development time. Its design originated in the 1960s. The SW-4 never went into production at the time, since there wasn’t much perceived demand for it. The design was resurrected in 1981, with a SW-4 prototype taking flight for the first time in 1996. Fourteen years later. The SW-4 only entered service in 2002. In other words, it took over four decades for the SW-4 to go from paper to production.
The SW-4 is intended for various roles. These include medevac, law enforcement, border patrol and military flight training duties.
The SW-4 can carry up to five people, crew included. It’s notable for its low operating costs and essentially defines the entry point for turbine powered helicopters.
Switching between a passenger or cargo configuration is especially easy for the SW-4. The main cabin has a flat floor, two large sliding doors and two hinged cockpit doors.
The SW-4 is highly modular and the co-pilot controls are removable. Optional equipment includes an external cargo sling, FLIR and other camera systems, searchlights and emergency flotation gear.
The range and endurance of the SW-4 is class leading. It can lift a payload of 600 kilograms, fly for five and a half hours and cover 850 kilometres.
Despite the age of its design the SW-4 is a modern helicopter made from new composite materials and sporting the latest in avionics for an aircraft in its class.
Currently all SW-4s are in service as training helicopters for the The Center of Aviation Education and Training at Deblin. Thanks to its ability to accommodate both basic and advanced flight training the SW-4 has proven popular for flight training purposes. In total forty have been built.