02/28/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "In 1989 the US Army announced its first major contractor-run training system under the program name Initial Entry Rotary Wing Single-Contractor Aviator Training (IERW SCAT, often referred to as simply SCAT). The US Army was looking for a single contractor to be totally responsible for the primary and instrument phases of initial helicopter pilot training, providing a turnkey system comprising aircraft, simulators, part-task trainers, and other teaching aids.
To bid for this program Enstrom partnered with Link Flight Simulation to develop a modified version of its Model 280FX helicopter. At that time Link had supplied all the US Army's current helicopter simulators for the UH-1, UH-60, CH-47, AH-1, AH-64, and the combat mission simulators for the Army's special-operations MH-47 and MH-60 helicopters. Enstrom designated its entry TH-28 and simultaneously offered the type on the civil market as the Model 480.
Previously using reciprocating engines for their products, Enstrom started experimenting with turbine engines in the late 1980s. Enstrom tested an Allison 250 turboshaft installation in a 280FX airframe that first flew in December 1988. This was conveniently in time as the 1989 SCAT program stipulated the use of turbine power.
The definitive turbine-powered version Model 480 embodied a reshaped and wider forward fuselage together with greater headroom and four seats and, although marked as TH-28, the pictured prototype first flew on October 7, 1989. The TH-28 was proposed to the US Army as a three-seat trainer with two forward seats for instructor and pupil, and an observer pupil on the rear seat. However, due to budget cutbacks the program was downgraded to a simple helicopter acquisition by 1990 and renamed new training helicopter (NTH) competition. In the event, the Bell TH-57A was selected.
The commercial Model 480 was, however, put into production at Menominee, Michigan, USA and gained a steady flow of orders. Receiving its Type Certificate in June 1993, the Model 480 is still offered with a variety of seating layouts for up to five occupants, and uses an unusual staggered seat arrangement to provide maximum legroom."