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Piston or Turbine - Purchase for personal use.


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#1 thomas

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 18:03

Hello to all,

 

This is my first post so try to go easy on me. I'm not as green as they come, but I am a novice. Although I've had my A&P license for over 35 years, it was never used in the field. I've been spending that time being an elevator mechanic and, for the past 20 years, as an independent owner of an elevator service and repair company.

Over the years, I've been trying to get back into aviation, not as a mechanic but as a pilot for my own pleasure. While the business was growing, attempts at finding enough time to train and attend ground school didn't pan out and it went on the back burner.

Well, I'm back in a club training in fixed wing but my heart is somewhere else and that's why I'm reaching out. They dropped their helicopter training program but I'm planning on staying to get the fixed wing PPL.

I want to begin training in a helicopter but I want to reduce the expences by owning it while I build time. Eventually it's going to happen so why not now?

Several concerns:

1. I understand it is very expensive to train. Most schools seem to use the R22 or 300C to reduce costs and to introduce the student to the fundamentals. They're trainers; i don"t want to spend the money on a trainer and be stuck with it.

2. The Enstrom F28/280 seems to be the go-to aircraft for its durability, high inertia rotor and good reputation but it's still a 2 seat-er and I would eventually like to bring a few friends/family on trips.

3. Because of the power demand, the next step is obvious. The mission is having at least 4 seats to fit 2 big men and their wives. Is it possible to train in a turbine powered aircraft as a beginner? As an owner?

 

I'm sure it sounds crazy but I'm worried about spending money on something I'll grow out of after training.

 

So, with that long winded explanation, I'm looking for some worldly advice:

 Should I buy a used Enstrom to do my training and build up measurable time or go right for the turbine that I have my eyes on. I assume the insurance rates will be high with either until I build up hours.

 

Looking for some guidance.

 

Thank you.

 

Happy and Safe New Year.

 

Thomas

 

 


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#2 Eric Hunt

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 01:11

Learning on a turbine is perfectly possible, most military pilots do so from scratch. I know I did.

 

Buy your turbine and learn it inside out. Make sure the school you choose has instructors who are also very experienced on that type - don't go with some kid who has 120 hours more than you. Get the mechanics to talk you through the systems too, if you are unable to go to a factory school.

 

If you are a big fella, and your friends are too, take the turbine route. Sounds like you can afford it, and it will repay you in power margins and resale value.


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#3 RisePilot

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 09:01

You use the following phrase “I want to begin training in a helicopter, but I want to reduce the expense by owning it while I build time”  What do you mean by “building time”?

 

Most posters on here are pursuing helicopter careers, however if you are seeking to fly for hobby/fun (like myself), your objective should be to train to achieve the highest possible skill level.  On their own, hours don’t mean much; the only point that matters are your skills as a pilot when you take friends/family up.

 

I hold both FAA & EASA licenses.  In Europe (particularly the UK) your instructor will likely have 4-digit (maybe even 5-digit) flight hours and many years of experience.  In the US, your instructor is more likely to have just a few hundred hours and be “on fire” to cease instructing and get a job elsewhere in the industry.  My last five BFRs done in the USA were all done by CFIs with 200-350hrs with barely two or three years flying.  Look around and find a high-quality instructor and training organisation. To be clear there are many imminently knowledgeable/experienced helicopter pilots in the US; you just have more of a “CPL Factory” than private pilot/owner scene in the US for helicopters (quite the opposite for fixed-wing; you’ve got the best FW private pilot infrastructure/scene).

 

As for buying your own helicopter, go do some trial lessons/flights on a R44, R66, 206B3, 505 or others and see what you like.  Not a bad idea to share ownership as you really need to fly a helicopter circa 200hrs/year to make real economic sense – that’s a lot of flying for one guy now matter how keen you believe you are.  As for Enstrom, they are good helicopters but quite rare on a global scale; so think about if you would want to fly on holiday in other locales.  I’ve privately hired R44s in US, Europe, South Africa & Australia.  Of course, I had to get licensing or license validation for all the above, but think about where you will ultimately be able find a given helicopter make/model and also someone to do your checkouts on given make/model.


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#4 thomas

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 23:10

Learning on a turbine is perfectly possible, most military pilots do so from scratch. I know I did.

 

Buy your turbine and learn it inside out. Make sure the school you choose has instructors who are also very experienced on that type - don't go with some kid who has 120 hours more than you. Get the mechanics to talk you through the systems too, if you are unable to go to a factory school.

 

If you are a big fella, and your friends are too, take the turbine route. Sounds like you can afford it, and it will repay you in power margins and resale value.

Hell Eric,

 

  Thank you for replying to my post. Again, I'm new to the forum and not familiar with its "cadence".

 

 I'm not loaded but you know how it is; If you really want something bad enough, you'll manage to find a way.

The CFI from the now defunct helicopter program is an Enstrom rep and is willing to train me privately but only in my own ship, hence the Enstrom.

The thought is that is that there will probably be only one helicopter purchase in the future so why not go with the turbine. Problem is I want something built well, easily serviceable and with utility use in mind.

Also, is it feasible to own your own helicopter and have a CFI train you from a municipal field? I couldn't imagine a private school allowing the use of your own.

 

A little stuck in thinking.


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#5 thomas

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 23:31

You use the following phrase “I want to begin training in a helicopter, but I want to reduce the expense by owning it while I build time”  What do you mean by “building time”?

 

Most posters on here are pursuing helicopter careers, however if you are seeking to fly for hobby/fun (like myself), your objective should be to train to achieve the highest possible skill level.  On their own, hours don’t mean much; the only point that matters are your skills as a pilot when you take friends/family up.

 

I hold both FAA & EASA licenses.  In Europe (particularly the UK) your instructor will likely have 4-digit (maybe even 5-digit) flight hours and many years of experience.  In the US, your instructor is more likely to have just a few hundred hours and be “on fire” to cease instructing and get a job elsewhere in the industry.  My last five BFRs done in the USA were all done by CFIs with 200-350hrs with barely two or three years flying.  Look around and find a high-quality instructor and training organisation. To be clear there are many imminently knowledgeable/experienced helicopter pilots in the US; you just have more of a “CPL Factory” than private pilot/owner scene in the US for helicopters (quite the opposite for fixed-wing; you’ve got the best FW private pilot infrastructure/scene).

 

As for buying your own helicopter, go do some trial lessons/flights on a R44, R66, 206B3, 505 or others and see what you like.  Not a bad idea to share ownership as you really need to fly a helicopter circa 200hrs/year to make real economic sense – that’s a lot of flying for one guy now matter how keen you believe you are.  As for Enstrom, they are good helicopters but quite rare on a global scale; so think about if you would want to fly on holiday in other locales.  I’ve privately hired R44s in US, Europe, South Africa & Australia.  Of course, I had to get licensing or license validation for all the above, but think about where you will ultimately be able find a given helicopter make/model and also someone to do your checkouts on given make/model.

 

Hello RisePilot,

 

  Thanks for your reply'

 

  By building time, I was referring to proficiency and number of hours required to get my Private License and enough time under my belt at a reduced cost flying a piston powered craft before entering into a turbine (insurance wise).

 I'm all about proficiency and taking the time necessary to accomplish this-no rush. Just thought it would be cheaper to burn hours on a reciprocating engine than using precious turbine time.

 I'm not looking for a career, just personal pleasure and possibly work related wright-off time. I'd be perfectly happy if I could find a retired, well seasoned, CFI to train with.

As far as what ship I have in mind, I'll leave that for my next post because you'll probably think I'm nuts(light, single, military origins, foreign).

 

Thanks again for your reply 


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