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Help me Choose what helicopter to buy


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#1 peter2001

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:25

Hello,

I am quite new to this forum and I would like to ask other pilots who have much more experience than me ( I am flying helicopters from 2 years and have 210 hours mostly on R44 and Gazelle) to help me choose what helicopter to buy ( for personal use). All your feedback would be highly appreciated as I am really new to helicopters and am trying to buy the best possible machine for my needs.

First of all here is the requirements I have to the machine and where it will be flown
  • Single pilot
  • Can carry at least 5 passengers + 1 pilot ( passengers are between 200-250lbs)
  • Can land at 4500 feet landing site and feel comfortable landing there not being at the limit
  • Twin engine ( has to be twin engine because of regulations in my country which will restrict me to land at almost 90% of landing sites if it is not twin engine)
  • I will fly between 70-100 hours a year
  • Easy to maintain and does not need checks and service very often because nearest service center is 3 hours away in 1 direction so I will use 6 hours just to ferry fly it to service it.
  • Cost to operate – Fuel is not a big issue so it could burn more than average as I will not fly it 400-500 hours a year and will fly it for personal pleasure the fuel is not that big of a factor.
  • Budget 700-1100k usd
  • Remaining times - i would prefer to buy a cheaper helicopter with remaining 500-800 hours on the most expensive components so that the overall price of the helicopter is lower. If i fly 70-100 hours a year i will have at least 6-10 years of operation on this helicopter.
Models which i am considering

- As 355 ( average 800k )
- Augusta 109C ( there are a few in the UK with 2200 TTAF and around 600-800k USD)
- Bell 230 ( there is one in Germany for 650k USD)

Also recently i have found very cheap ( same price as the 3 models above) AS365 and Sikorsky S76A++ ( 1982 models) which have around 500-700 hours remaining until some major overhauls coming after that so they are prices very very cheap just to get rid of them because the overhauls after that will cost probably $1-2M at least. So i started thinking in that direction as well because it is very tempting to buy any of those 2 for the same money as a smaller helicoopter with the clear understanding that after 500-700 hours you can sell it for parts or just park it in your backyard and enjoy it as a monument. The problem with these 2 big ones is that i do not know if i can fly them at all with my 210 hours of experience and i do not know if they are just not too big for me. From fuel burn perpective they do burn only 100 liters more per hour wihch if i fly 100 hours a year is not that big deal. But i guess in the same time they should have a lot more power when landing at 5000 feet landing site.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Best Regards,
Peter
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#2 jaredsega

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:10

BO-105 all the way. And way under tour budget.
Great flying helo &the a lot of fun.
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#3 DS_HMMR

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 20:38

BO-105 all the way. And way under tour budget.
Great flying helo &the a lot of fun.


STFU.


;-)

#4 Flying Pig

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 21:24

MD540F with Tyler Mounts. You dont need no stinkin' second engine!

#5 peter2001

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:26

did you read my post? how can i get 5+1 in MD540F

#6 McGavin

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:38

did you read my post? how can i get 5+1 in MD540F


Apparently you don't know what a Tyler Mount is....It was a joke.

You sound very educated, but I get the hint that you maybe underestimating the direct operating cost of an older high time twin. You are right, fuel is the least of your concern. I would narrow it down and try to get a estimated DOC for the ship you plan to buy. I think you will be surprised of the actual hourly cost. This website will help to get a idea.

https://www.conklind...e.aspx?cid=1115


#7 Spike

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:35

From your post, it appears you are misinformed. That is, with 210 hours of experience, sure you can pile 5 people into a twin and fly them around. At least, fly them around until you crash and kill everyone…..

A 355 or 109, 230, 365 or a 76? Really?

Sir, my advice to you is; either seek out an experienced professional (working) pilot to steer you in the right direction or, go to a manufacturer like AEC France or Augusta Italy, and have them give you an assessment of what your goals are. If neither of these entities will work with you due to your lack of experience, then your answer will be obvious. Short of that, stick to the R44 and gain more experience. A lot more experience….

Edited by Spike, 20 October 2012 - 16:07.

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#8 aeroscout

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 15:55

Some people equate money as collateral for experience. I hope Spike has disabused the OP of this notion. One must also divorce themselves between the roles of owner operator and professional. I have met very few, less than I can count on one hand, who were able to master both skill sets simultaneously.

#9 peter2001

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:29

Apparently you don't know what a Tyler Mount is....It was a joke.

You sound very educated, but I get the hint that you maybe underestimating the direct operating cost of an older high time twin. You are right, fuel is the least of your concern. I would narrow it down and try to get a estimated DOC for the ship you plan to buy. I think you will be surprised of the actual hourly cost. This website will help to get a idea.

https://www.conklind...e.aspx?cid=1115


Hello Spike,

Thanks for the great link.. it is really interesting to see these stats ( i know most of the DOC for jets but for Helicopters i did not look before in that detail). In general i have already the feeling that helicopters are 2-5 times more expensive from Jets

I am the kind of person who accepts advise from everybody and am willing to listen ....

I have a question for you.. DOC is it calculated with the component times used in each hour of flying with the intention to buy new one when the limits are over and except Fuel and labour this is the main part of the DOC ?

Because my logic is this.. I buy a helicopter which has 810 hours remaining on the engines and gearboxes. Maybe in that 810 hours 1 TR blade has to be changed .. And it has to go 8 times for 100 hour check. In that 810 hours a lot of things can brake but if they are small it is not going to be a lot of money. So for example the DOC of AS365 says $1500 per hour. If we remove the fuel and labor cost and some unexpected maintanance i guess $1000 is for the replacement of life limited parts when the overhaul time comes.

So my idea is if we exclude the fuel from the calculation is that if i can fly the machine 810 hours and my cost for unexpected maintanance is around $200-400 an hour it will be ok. Then after i fly all these 810 hours and time comes for $350 000 MGB overhaul and $700k per engine.. I just sell the helicopter for parts and get whatever money i can get for it.

I can buy the helicopter for 650k EUR now.. I guess i can sell it after that for at least 250K.. so i pay 500 EUR per hour + lesy say 300 EUR more for maintanance and 200 EUR for fuel would be around 1000 EUR an hour ..

what do you think about these calculations.. are they realistic?

Best Regards,
Peter

#10 peter2001

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:45

From your post, it appears you are misinformed. That is, with 210 hours of experience, sure you can pile 5 people into a twin and fly them around. At least, fly them around until you crash and kill everyone…..

A 355 or 109, 230, 365 or a 76? Really?

Sir, my advice to you is; either seek out an experienced professional (working) pilot to steer you in the right direction or, go to a manufacturer like AEC France or Augusta Italy, and have them give you an assessment of what your goals are. If neither of these entities will work with you due to your lack of experience, then your answer will be obvious. Short of that, stick to the R44 and gain more experience. A lot more experience….


Dear Sir,

i definitely agree with you.. I have the BIGGEST respect in my life towards helicopters and i know what you mean exactly when you say that. No doubt about this.

With 210 hours i will be crazy i can fly AS365 without somebody next to me who has at least 2-3000 hours on a similar helicopter. But i think it makes sense that with the help of 2nd pilot with more experience i fly a bigger machine and learn directly on the larger machine.

I would never put my family and fly alone on such a helicopter at least until i have 500-1000 hours.. Maybe this is something i forgot to post in my post.. that i will have a co-pilot and somebody who wil take care of the helicopter.. i will spend 30% of my time if i want to be the only pilot and fly myself...

Also i think flying with 4 people on R44 and getting more experience is actually more dangerous than flying with 4-5 on a AS 350 or 355 even if i fly without a safety pilot next to me.

best Regards,
Peter

#11 Spike

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:50

Dear Sir,

i definitely agree with you.. I have the BIGGEST respect in my life towards helicopters and i know what you mean exactly when you say that. No doubt about this.

With 210 hours i will be crazy i can fly AS365 without somebody next to me who has at least 2-3000 hours on a similar helicopter. But i think it makes sense that with the help of 2nd pilot with more experience i fly a bigger machine and learn directly on the larger machine.

I would never put my family and fly alone on such a helicopter at least until i have 500-1000 hours.. Maybe this is something i forgot to post in my post.. that i will have a co-pilot and somebody who wil take care of the helicopter.. i will spend 30% of my time if i want to be the only pilot and fly myself...

Also i think flying with 4 people on R44 and getting more experience is actually more dangerous than flying with 4-5 on a AS 350 or 355 even if i fly without a safety pilot next to me.

best Regards,
Peter


Thank you for the clarification. However, in my opinion, stick with flying the R44 for a lot more time. I'd say, though 1000 hours and most of that time should be solo. After that, seek your bigger machine with the 2nd pilot.

You see, learning in a more complex (bigger) machine with a 2nd pilot will only enhance your ego, not your judgment. If you don't proceed to your goals with a professional pilot mentality, you are doomed. Furthermore, this opinion is being offered by someone who has nothing to gain by your endeavor. Think about that....

Amongst private owners, the most common occupation of fatal accidents is Doctors. Why is that?


#12 Flying Pig

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 12:22

....You mean "Doctor/Lawyer killers"? Get my Private and 50 hours and immediately run out and buy a turbo-prop P210 G1000. JFK Jr comes to mind. Had all the tools available right in front of him to save his life and the lives of his passengers and didn't know how to use any of it.

#13 McGavin

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 17:36

Hello Spike,

Thanks for the great link.. it is really interesting to see these stats ( i know most of the DOC for jets but for Helicopters i did not look before in that detail). In general i have already the feeling that helicopters are 2-5 times more expensive from Jets

I am the kind of person who accepts advise from everybody and am willing to listen ....

I have a question for you.. DOC is it calculated with the component times used in each hour of flying with the intention to buy new one when the limits are over and except Fuel and labour this is the main part of the DOC ?

Because my logic is this.. I buy a helicopter which has 810 hours remaining on the engines and gearboxes. Maybe in that 810 hours 1 TR blade has to be changed .. And it has to go 8 times for 100 hour check. In that 810 hours a lot of things can brake but if they are small it is not going to be a lot of money. So for example the DOC of AS365 says $1500 per hour. If we remove the fuel and labor cost and some unexpected maintanance i guess $1000 is for the replacement of life limited parts when the overhaul time comes.

So my idea is if we exclude the fuel from the calculation is that if i can fly the machine 810 hours and my cost for unexpected maintanance is around $200-400 an hour it will be ok. Then after i fly all these 810 hours and time comes for $350 000 MGB overhaul and $700k per engine.. I just sell the helicopter for parts and get whatever money i can get for it.

I can buy the helicopter for 650k EUR now.. I guess i can sell it after that for at least 250K.. so i pay 500 EUR per hour + lesy say 300 EUR more for maintanance and 200 EUR for fuel would be around 1000 EUR an hour ..

what do you think about these calculations.. are they realistic?

Best Regards,
Peter



#14 McGavin

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 19:25

Sorry for the last post.

Peter, the published C&D variable cost includes fuel, crew, maintenance (including scheduled inspections & engine restoration) and landing fees. It doesn't appear to include depreciation, insurance or storage cost. For example, the C&D published variable cost for a Bell 230 is just under $1,700 USD an hour. Account for the non variable expenses listed with a timed out ship that does not fly a lot and your cost could be much higher.

I have heard of people falling for the trap of buying an older "cheap" aircraft just to make up for it in operational costs. An example that comes to mind is the Law Enforcement agencies that think they can afford air support because the military will give them a beat HU-1. They quickly discover its far from free and the "purchase price" is the cheapest part.

The amount of money my boss puts into his helicopter is staggering to me to me. He will spend more on one inspection (12 year) and an engine overhaul this year than the actual total value of the aircraft. That doent even include regular unexpected maintenance, fuel, storage, insurance and a pilot.

I have no idea what a ship will sell for in parts, but in theroy you could be right. $1000 a hour sounds optimistic for a timed out twin though. My point is to just understand the risk and have a ballpark idea of what your machine will cost to operate. If you know that and know what you value an hour of flight time you should be golden



#15 iChris

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 23:40

First of all here is the requirements I have to the machine and where it will be flown

  • Single pilot
  • Can carry at least 5 passengers + 1 pilot ( passengers are between 200-250lbs)
  • Can land at 4500 feet landing site and feel comfortable landing there not being at the limit
  • Twin engine ( has to be twin engine because of regulations in my country which will restrict me to land at almost 90% of landing sites if it is not twin engine)
  • I will fly between 70-100 hours a year
  • Easy to maintain and does not need checks and service very often because nearest service center is 3 hours away in 1 direction so I will use 6 hours just to ferry fly it to service it.
  • Cost to operate – Fuel is not a big issue so it could burn more than average as I will not fly it 400-500 hours a year and will fly it for personal pleasure the fuel is not that big of a factor.
  • Budget 700-1100k usd
  • Remaining times - i would prefer to buy a cheaper helicopter with remaining 500-800 hours on the most expensive components so that the overall price of the helicopter is lower. If i fly 70-100 hours a year i will have at least 6-10 years of operation on this helicopter.
So i started thinking in that direction as well because it is very tempting to buy any of those 2 for the same money as a smaller helicoopter with the clear understanding that after 500-700 hours you can sell it for parts or just park it in your backyard and enjoy it as a monument.

The problem with these 2 big ones is that i do not know if i can fly them at all with my 210 hours of experience and i do not know if they are just not too big for me. From fuel burn perpective they do burn only 100 liters more per hour wihch if i fly 100 hours a year is not that big deal. But i guess in the same time they should have a lot more power when landing at 5000 feet landing site.


You may need to reevaluate some of those requirements.

The used helicopter market is full of people and companies who have a vested interest in selling you a helicopter. Therefore, that vested interest is primarily representative of the seller not the buyer.

Like you, most helicopter buyers have never been involved in the used helicopter marketplace, nor have the ability to easily determine if a particular helicopter is really a good buy. You need to get hands-on with the aircraft you wish to buy. You can’t get it done on a forum.

You need to find someone with both helicopter acquisition and helicopter maintenance (i.e., A&P /IA) experience. They’ll need to go over the aircraft’s maintenance logs with a fine toothcomb. Only then would you have any chance of getting the helicopter you need at the best value.

You’re liable to missing things in your calculations like components with both an hour and calendar limit, were the calendar limit hits before the item times-out.

Bottom line, you need someone experienced representing your best interest. Contact the best helicopter companies in your area and see if they can help you contact an experience person you can talk with person-to-person.

Edited by iChris, 03 November 2012 - 23:43.

Regards,

Chris

#16 peter2001

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:30

Sorry for the last post.

Peter, the published C&D variable cost includes fuel, crew, maintenance (including scheduled inspections & engine restoration) and landing fees. It doesn't appear to include depreciation, insurance or storage cost. For example, the C&D published variable cost for a Bell 230 is just under $1,700 USD an hour. Account for the non variable expenses listed with a timed out ship that does not fly a lot and your cost could be much higher.

I have heard of people falling for the trap of buying an older "cheap" aircraft just to make up for it in operational costs. An example that comes to mind is the Law Enforcement agencies that think they can afford air support because the military will give them a beat HU-1. They quickly discover its far from free and the "purchase price" is the cheapest part.

The amount of money my boss puts into his helicopter is staggering to me to me. He will spend more on one inspection (12 year) and an engine overhaul this year than the actual total value of the aircraft. That doent even include regular unexpected maintenance, fuel, storage, insurance and a pilot.

I have no idea what a ship will sell for in parts, but in theroy you could be right. $1000 a hour sounds optimistic for a timed out twin though. My point is to just understand the risk and have a ballpark idea of what your machine will cost to operate. If you know that and know what you value an hour of flight time you should be golden


I agree with you... Helicopters can be very expensive and every day that goes by i understand it more and more. I am also plane pilot and have a King Air 200 (1995 model) and i bought it second hand and initially i thought that it will be cheap to operate it but when i had it for 2 years i realized that it all ads up and a simple 100 hour check with nothing major can easily be $30k which adds another $300 per hour just for the check ( nothing major done).

So with helicopters i already have the feel that it is about 2-5 times more expensive. So i am prepared and i know that you just close your eyes and pay every invoice that comes and do not think about it that much. Otherwise you can get sick from all the costs ( if you start adding them up). So for my plane i do not even try to calculate how much it costs me per year because then i will have a headache all day.

Also one reason i want a bigger helicopter is for reputation purposes. I go pick up a client or biz partner with R44 or AS365 is a whole different story. You will not believe it but people will choose to work with the guy with the better car/house/yacht/office/helicopter and will eliminate all other factors i making a business decision. I still cannot understand to this day why but it works and i must admit i take advantage of that phenomenon and that's why i look at bigger helicopters.

Best Regards,
peter

#17 LJS1993

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 11:21

I agree with you... Helicopters can be very expensive and every day that goes by i understand it more and more. I am also plane pilot and have a King Air 200 (1995 model) and i bought it second hand and initially i thought that it will be cheap to operate it but when i had it for 2 years i realized that it all ads up and a simple 100 hour check with nothing major can easily be $30k which adds another $300 per hour just for the check ( nothing major done).

So with helicopters i already have the feel that it is about 2-5 times more expensive. So i am prepared and i know that you just close your eyes and pay every invoice that comes and do not think about it that much. Otherwise you can get sick from all the costs ( if you start adding them up). So for my plane i do not even try to calculate how much it costs me per year because then i will have a headache all day.

Also one reason i want a bigger helicopter is for reputation purposes. I go pick up a client or biz partner with R44 or AS365 is a whole different story. You will not believe it but people will choose to work with the guy with the better car/house/yacht/office/helicopter and will eliminate all other factors i making a business decision. I still cannot understand to this day why but it works and i must admit i take advantage of that phenomenon and that's why i look at bigger helicopters.

Best Regards,
peter

 

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