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Helicopter Upgrade


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#1 Discap

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 18:23

I have gotten clearance from the boss to consider an upgrade to my current ship (Safari).  At 61 years old and a cancer survivor I figure I have more flying years behind me than in front so I need to quit waiting.  Our mission is to leisurely tour the country (USA) from 500' AGL.

 

I own and fly a Conquest II so I have quite a bit of turbine time and multi engine (4000 hrs +) but only 350 hrs of helicopter time, and a Commercial Rotorcraft rating.

 

Because I will only be flying 100 hrs or so per year operating expenses will not vary significantly between any of my potential purchases.  I am considering R44, B206, MD 500/369 and Enstrom 460B.  I am trying to learn as much about each as I can.  So some questions to the group.

 

1. Where can I find out the differences between the various 206 models?  ie.  B. BII, BII,III BIII.  I don't have any need (in think) for a Long ranger.

 

2. What is true cruise speed and fuel burn for each of my choices.  Real world not simply the factory numbers.

 

3. Comfort level for long trips.  We are not in a hurry but don't want to cramp up on the way.

 

4.  Where do I go for training for the turbine options.  R44 is easy.

 

5. Is Air Conditioning worth the expense.  Weight should not be a problem.  Located in Kansas and spend a lot of time in Texas.

 

Any help is appreciated.

 

Bill


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#2 Wally

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 21:08

You and the 'Boss'?

Y'all agile, diminutive? The Bell 206s fly nice and are sound choices except for the front cabin. If you fit, physically fit, then that would be my choice. All my time in the 206 (about 3000 hours) was in pop-out float and hook equipped aircraft, pretty draggy and usually heavy for the short-cabin Bells, about 105 to 110 knots 28-30 gph, 2:30 or so endurance.
If you haven't looked at Longrangers, you might take a glance. You get a little more speed and a better ride. The front end is virtually the same Iron Maiden torture device until the L4. My favorite for light t/o and longer legs was the straight L.

No Robbie or Enstrom time.

You haven't mentioned Aerospatiales, Eurocopters, whatever they are this week. The AS350 is comfortable, fairly fast and pretty common. If you're not loading it up too much, I like the AS350BA. Fairly fast, 120-125 knots and about 42 gph. Longest endurance, 3+ hours. Weird baggage compartments, but the cabin is 4 abreast in the back row, plenty room. Best pilot accomodations in this short list.

Yes. Definitely! Air! Conditioned!!!!! Not just for heat, although Texas summers will warrant the gear- A/C is good for humidity control. A cabin full of wet people, gear, whatever, can mist up your windows at the most awkward moments.

Edited by Wally, 12 December 2018 - 21:13.

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Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#3 Eric Hunt

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 23:42

Gotta have aircon.

 

If you fit it after the purchase, it will cost the same as a Hyundai, and it won't work as well as the aircon IN the Hyundai. Don't know why not, it just doesn't perform the way that the cost would indicate.


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#4 Discap

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 09:46

I am a fairly big guy. 6’ 240 lbs. I work out and played professional baseball so I am not a complete blob. Wife is not small either. I don’t know if there is any way to fly anything except the R44 extensively to determine the fit. I have heard about the 206 being uncomfortable. Do modified seats help.

As far as the European immigrants go, they are not in my price range. Call it $500M or so. Ditto the the long rangers.

Sounds like not much speed difference between the Bell and Enstrom.

OK how about the MD/Hughes guys
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#5 helonorth

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 17:52

500's are not designed to carry passengers in back over 5 feet tall. They are a work machine. They are also out of your price range. Buy a 206 and go to the factory for training. That's what I'd do, anyway.
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#6 Eric Hunt

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 18:16

Have a look at a 206L, same engine as the 206B, so same economy, but better speed and comfort with the Nodamatic beam. And if the wife is *coff* large, she will find that the extra room in the back is much appreciated.

 

Two large people in the front of a 206B may give you some CG problems unless you carry something in the boot.

 

Forget the 500, no headroom in the back and that screaming transmission tunnel next to your ear is a worry.



#7 helonorth

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 23:14

Ah, it's fun spending other people's money. I didn't think you'd find an L1 in the 500 range, but here she is. If it checks out, this is your new helicopter! Hell, I'll even train you in it.  :D

 

https://www.controll...979-bell-206l-1


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#8 Eric Hunt

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 23:17

That's an L-1, a better option is perhaps the straight L with the C-20B, probably with water-methanol injection for those hot days.



#9 helonorth

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 00:40

That's an L-1, a better option is perhaps the straight L with the C-20B, probably with water-methanol injection for those hot days.

 

Rare as hens teeth and a useless helicopter. I see only 6 in the U.S. and 2 have been converted to C30's. 


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#10 Discap

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 17:37

OK obviously I have no experience here, but how comfortable is the 206 for flying all day.  Everybody, without exception, tells me that it is bad.  I doubt that my bride wants to ride in the back with the dog.

 

Been looking hard at the 480B  no calendar limited parts except TT straps.  Super comfortable cabin according to everybody I have talked to.  5 kts slower than 206.  Hell, a transmission overhaul/exchange is $21,000 and a set of 3 blades is less than $50,000.

 

Leaning hard towards the 480B someone talk me off the ledge.

 

bill


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#11 SBuzzkill

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 18:26

I'm 6'0 and 230lbs and didn't find the 206 to be as horrible as some are making it out to be.


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#12 Eric Hunt

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 20:05

You own the machine, you can make the 206 seats as soft as you like. I spent over 7000 hrs in them and am not too deformed.

 

I spent 10 hrs flying an Enstrom and hated every second of it. But that was the piston version.

 

Horses for courses. Take them for a test drive, you are the buyer and can ask for anything.


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#13 helonorth

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 14:03

There is a reason why Enstroms are not popular but I don't know what it is.

#14 Spike

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 19:50

Depends on your purchase and long term operating budget..... You say 500M? Should I assume that is five million and not five hundered million?

 

IMO, out of your list, the Bell 206BIII would be the best choice or better yet, only choice.... Easy to fly, maintain, store, etc, not to mention its safety record is unmached. Bell customer service is top notch as well.... The rest on your list, not so much....

 

You mention long distances and speed being considerations so I'd add the Bell 407 to your choices. Fast,140 kts all day every day and smooth.... If I remember correcly, it burns 46ish gal per hour and air conditioning wouldn't decrease the performance for what you want to use it for... Needless to say,the 407 would be my #1 pick to tour the country in....

 

Any flight school with either of the above products could assist you with training, including the factory (Bell).

 

Lastly, after years-n-years in multiple seats, I haven't found any seat I'd describe as "comfortable"......


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#15 cherminator

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 13:56

Depends on your purchase and long term operating budget..... You say 500M? Should I assume that is five million and not five hundered million?

 

Traditionally in accounting "M" refers to "thousand" and "MM" refers to "million". His budget appears to be $500,000. "or so".

 

I would purchase a new or newer R44. I'm 6'2", have owned one, and had no issues with it being uncomfortable. Very low maintenance costs compared to an older 206, which one really needs to take into consideration. I've seen a few helicopter owners give up their machines because they couldn't afford to repair/replace things when necessary.


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#16 Spike

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 17:16

 

Traditionally in accounting "M" refers to "thousand" and "MM" refers to "million". His budget appears to be $500,000. "or so".

 

Copy that... I'm not an accountant... Just a pilot.. In my world, "K" means thousands...

 

In that case, the only choice is a 44.... Or, switch to a STOL airplane with tundra tires...


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#17 Discap

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 14:51

I appreciate the input.   $500,000 is the budget.  My problem with the R44 is that the operating expenses get astronomical if it is just a toy.  I will fly no more than 100 hrs/yr.  I have heard that they are comfortable.

 

Back to one of my original questions.  Any source for finding out the differences between the various Jet Ranger models.


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#18 V-any

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 15:46

I appreciate the input.   $500,000 is the budget.  My problem with the R44 is that the operating expenses get astronomical if it is just a toy.  I will fly no more than 100 hrs/yr.  I have heard that they are comfortable.

 

Back to one of my original questions.  Any source for finding out the differences between the various Jet Ranger models.

 

You're right about the R44. If you own it for a full 12 year cycle, you need to fly it a couple hundred hours per year to keep the hourly cost from skyrocketing.

 

However, you may be able to find one that has a lot of calendar time left but not a lot of hours. A ship with five years left on it and only 500 hundred hours left might be had a nice discount. And, don't forget, if get a good deal on the overhaul, there's money to be made by overhauling it and selling it with fresh components.


Edited by V-any, 17 December 2018 - 15:47.

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#19 Wally

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 18:51

I appreciate the input.   $500,000 is the budget.  My problem with the R44 is that the operating expenses get astronomical if it is just a toy.  I will fly no more than 100 hrs/yr.  I have heard that they are comfortable.
 
Back to one of my original questions.  Any source for finding out the differences between the various Jet Ranger models.


Straight from the wikipedia:
https://en.m.wikiped...g/wiki/Bell_206

Civilian
Bell 206A Initial production version, powered by an Allison 250-C18 turboshaft engine. FAA-certified in 1966. Selected as the OH-58A Kiowa in 1968.
Agusta-Bell 206A License-built in Italy.
Bell 206A-1 OH-58A aircraft that are modified for FAA civil certification.[23]
Agusta-Bell 206A-1 License-built in Italy.

Never seen an A model Jet Ranger. The C18 has a rep for less power than the C20, which is marginal.

Bell 206B Upgraded Allison 250-C20 engine.
Agusta-Bell 206B License-built in Italy.
Bell 206B-2 Bell 206B models upgraded with Bell 206B-3 improvements. (I beleive PHI called this ‘206B3’)
Bell 206B-3 Upgraded Allison 250-C20J engine and added 2 inches (51 mm) to tail rotor diameter for yaw control.

At some point in production Bell increased fuel capacity from 76 to 91 gallons, I think on the BIII. This was done by moving the filler port up a few inches. The older 76 gallon tanks could also get to 91 gallons with ‘range extenders’, an elbow on the filler port and a horizontal filler cap.

The 206BIII does pretty well. However, I don’t remember any particular issues with any C20 206B.

Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#20 cherminator

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 05:21

I appreciate the input.   $500,000 is the budget.  My problem with the R44 is that the operating expenses get astronomical if it is just a toy.  I will fly no more than 100 hrs/yr.  I have heard that they are comfortable.

 

The operating expenses for any certified helicopter are astronomical if it is just a toy. If you think a 206 will be cheaper to maintain/operate than an R44, go for it, but I've never heard that from anyone. I've been told the opposite from several sources. This is just my unprofessional opinion of course.


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