Open main menu

The Enstrom 480 is a small, light helicopter produced by the Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.[1]

Enstrom 480
JGSDF TH-480B(cropped).jpg
A Enstrom 480 of the JGSDF
Role Light helicopter
Manufacturer Enstrom Helicopter Corporation
First flight 7 October 1989
Introduction 1993
Produced 1993-present
Number built 142 (as of July 2011)
Unit cost
$1,100,000 (July 2011)
Developed from Enstrom 280


Design and developmentEdit

In the 1980s the Enstrom Helicopter Company was producing two helicopters, both powered by horizontally-opposed piston engines. When the United States Army revealed a requirement for a turbine-powered training helicopter, the company designed a larger, turbine-powered version of its 280 Shark. The proposed unit was designated TH28 (TH for "training helicopter" derived from the 28(0), since the Army's proposal was NTH, "new training helicopter").

The Army contract effort was not successful,[2] but the company effort looked promising enough that management committed to continue with a commercial version, which was introduced in 1993. Its power was provided by the C20W variant of the Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboshaft engine.


The 480 fuselage consists of a welded steel-tube framework with aluminum cover and tailcone. The pilot controls the aircraft from the left seat, which is unusual for helicopters. The aircraft does not have a hydraulic system; a trim system absorbs rotor feedback and allows the pilot to position the desired stick setting.[3] The 480B engine is capable of producing 420 shp, but in this application it is derated to 305 shp for 5 minutes and 277 continuous shp, which is available to 13,000 MSL on a standard day. Thus hot-temperature or high-altitude operations have a considerable degree of power available. The engine drives a three-bladed rotor of 32 feet diameter and a tail rotor of 5 feet diameter. The main rotor and hubs weigh a total of 300 pounds, so there is considerable inertia in the system during a loss of power. Autorotation landings are uneventful.[4]


Five-seat civil version based on the Enstrom TH-28, certified in November 1993.[5]
Enstrom 480B in flight
Enhanced and with increased gross weight (3000 lb) and power limits, certified in February 2001 in the US.[5] and in February 2019 in Canada.[6] The gross weight and useful load were increased by approximately 150 pounds.
480B Guardian
480B configured for police or law enforcement operations, fitted with a front-mounted camera and searchlight.[7]
Based on the Enstrom 280FX with a turbine engine, a larger cabin and larger horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Certified in September 1992[5] Military training, light patrol version, six built.


Civil operatorsEdit

The aircraft us operated by a large number of small commercial and flight training operators, most operating one or two aircraft.

Military and government operatorsEdit

  Czech Republic

  • CLV flight training[8]
  Equatorial Guinea

Former operatorsEdit


Specifications (480)Edit

Data from The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004[14]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: four passengers
  • Length: 29 ft 10 in (9.09 m)
  • Main rotor diameter: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
  • Main rotor area: 804 ft2 (74.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,675 lb (760 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2850 lb (1,293 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20W turboshaft, 285 hp (215 kW)


  • Range: 435 miles (700 km)
  • Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (3,962 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min (7.62 m/s)

See alsoEdit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Apostolo, Giorgio: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters, pages 64-65. Bonanza Books, New York, 1984. ISBN 0-517-43935-2
  2. ^ Bell Helicopter Company won the bid, with a militarized version of its 206 JetRanger. (Stephen Pope Enstrom 480B, Flying, September 2011, pp. 60-65)
  3. ^ Failure of the trim system would require a fifteen-pound control force. (Flying, p. 65)
  4. ^ Flying, p. 62: " . . it was a nonevent that seemed more like a slightly steeper-than-normal approach with a gentle touchdown . ."
  5. ^ a b c Federal Aviation Administration (23 May 2018). "Type Certificate Data Sheet No. H1CE" (PDF). Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  6. ^ Drinkwater, Steve (7 February 2019). "Enstrom 480B Helicopter Cleared for Takeoff in Canada". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  7. ^ Police Chief (magazine) website
  8. ^ Warnes, Alan (2018-06-28). "Czech CLV flight training centre receives first two Enstrom 480B-Gs". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. IHS Markit. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Equatorial Guinea Air Force". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Enstrom History". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Enstrom ships second TH-480B for the JGSDF". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Deliveries of Enstrom 480 to Royal Thai Army pass the half-way mark". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  13. ^ Rudi, Hanneli. "Politsei sai ohtralt peavalu põhjustanud kopterist lahti". (in Estonian). Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  14. ^ Frawley Civil 2003. p.

External linksEdit