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.
- 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.