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Advice sought: Robinson vs. Enstrom training

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I am about to begin my helicopter training and trying to decide between the R-44 (not even considering the 22) & Enstrom. Were I planning/hoping to make a living flying helicopters one day or hoping to accrue hours teaching, would be easier – would have to give the nod to Robinson due to their market dominance. I do NOT ever see me doing that. I do see me eventually buying an R-44 or a F28F and flying it for personal transport and/or recreation – but again, not vocation. I’ll admit I’m leaning toward the Enstrom. Love that big, heavy, fully articulated main rotor system. I’m willing to pay a little extra, go a little slower and burn a little more fuel for added safety - - that said, my posting here is a ready admission of the fact that what little I know about either of these helicopters is purely academic at this point and maybe I need to be considering things I’m not even aware of - - that’s where I hope the replies help. Any recollection of relevant experience with these ships and/or general advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Enstrom all the way! Cheaper then an R44 too!! But I would fly a Brantly before a Robbie so take my advice with a grain of salt... :D

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well, I trained IN enstroms... private,instrument,commercial, and CFI. absolutely LOVED that helicopter. recently my place of employment purchased an R44 and I've gotten a little over 100 hours in it in the last few months. the autos are nice. really nice. The enstrom was impressive. but so is the R44. I'd fly either happily.

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The enstrom was impressive. but so is the R44. I'd fly either happily.

Wow Clay, you're coming around! That 100 hours was worth it !!

 

Goldy

 

(I've always wanted to fly the Enstrom 480B!!)

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I still wont get in an R22. but the 44 has impressed me. 109 hrs in it to be exact.

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I don't know why you would think the enstrom was safer than the Robinson helicopters. If you are referring to the fully articulated main rotor system I don't see how that is any safer. Sure, there is no mast bumping the worry about, however, someone correct me if I am wrong, you still have to worry about droop stop pounding in a low G situation, then there is also ground resonance to contend with. In either case being a competent pilot with a properly maintain aircraft will stop you from getting into any of these situations.

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I don't know why you would think the enstrom was safer than the Robinson helicopters. If you are referring to the fully articulated main rotor system I don't see how that is any safer. Sure, there is no mast bumping the worry about, however, someone correct me if I am wrong, you still have to worry about droop stop pounding in a low G situation, then there is also ground resonance to contend with. In either case being a competent pilot with a properly maintain aircraft will stop you from getting into any of these situations.

 

One of the biggest reasons for the Enstrom safety record is that the rotor system is a hi inertia rotor system. It holds its energy. Look at the accident reports on Enstroms, a large number of them read 'occupants walked away', 'occupants received minor injuries', etc. It has nothing to do with the fact the rotor system is fully articulated. The only time I have had droop stop pounding is when I let the cyclic move toward the outer limits after landing.

 

I own an Enstrom and as far as I am concerned, for the private owner, it is the only helicopter that makes any sense. The number of required inspections is quite low and the number of life limited parts is 12. There is NO 1200 or 2200 hour airframe overhauls. There are few AD's on the airframe. In the year I have owned this machine, I have had no major maintenance surprises. In fact, I just completed the annual with no surprises. Just a couple of items that required a little work. It is easy and comfortable to fly. In fact you can trim it to fly totally hands off. The Long Beach Police Department used the Enstrom when they started their air wing. When they transitioned to turbine helicopters, at least one Enstrom had over 27,000 hours. A couple of years ago I talked with a former LBPD pilot and he told me that, in some ways I would like to have the Enstroms back.

 

On the negative side, Enstrom can be a little difficult to deal with at times, but on the whole I have had no major issues with them. The main rotor, tail rotor and overrun clutch have to go back to them for overhaul. They used to have field overhaul kits, but there were some problems with a couple of vendors using them, so Enstrom discontinued that practice. It a matter of quality control.

 

You are going to need to decide what you want and need. And pick a machine that fills those needs. I don't think you will be disappointed in the Enstrom.

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I don't know why you would think the enstrom was safer than the Robinson helicopters. If you are referring to the fully articulated main rotor system I don't see how that is any safer. Sure, there is no mast bumping the worry about, however, someone correct me if I am wrong, you still have to worry about droop stop pounding in a low G situation, then there is also ground resonance to contend with. In either case being a competent pilot with a properly maintain aircraft will stop you from getting into any of these situations.

 

The Enstrom rotor head is a superior design compaired to the Robinson family. Enstrom has NEVER had a main rotor failure. I don't think any other manufacture can claim this. The darn thing is a tank! Just crawl up on top of one and look at it. The robbie seems so flimsy when compaired side-by-side. You will never do the "robbie slam" with the collective in an enstrom. Anyone that's done auto's with a robbie pilot in a larger helicopter knows what I'm talking about (collective gets slammed to the floor, heads hitting the overhead, good times). Get the collective down, but please, do it smoothly. You'll be ok.

 

I've owned three Enstroms and have put over a 1,000 hours in them. If you NEVER want to work as a CFI for someone else (whom will more than likely have robbie products), then buy an Enstrom. You will never be disappointed. The only negative with the 280/28 models is they only hold 3 people. The R-44 obviously has 4 seats. If you MIGHT someday find yourself looking for a CFI job you should consider the R-44. There are probably 100 to 1 more Robbie CFI jobs than Enstrom.

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There are probably 100 to 1 more Robbie CFI jobs than Enstrom.

 

 

I can vouch for that. . . .enstrom jobs=hard to come by.

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This forum is awesome. You guys have no idea how much I appreciate the comments and input!

 

I continue to be struck (and not just in this thread) by how Enstrom owners/flyers defend Enstroms with glowing positive praise… and conversely how often Robinson owners/flyers defend Robinsons pragmatically at best, and all too frequently defensively. Reminds me of the old saying... nobody ever got fired for picking IBM (i.e. the market dominator - just for market domination's sake)!!!

 

Clay, I really appreciate your experience with both and your even-keeled, objective tone. Here’s a question for you that I’d love an answer to: IF you did not want to teach and IF you only wanted to use it for personal use - - and I offered to give you a brand new R44 or a brand new Enstrom (piston) - - which one would you opt for??

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Not considering the Sikorski 300C++???? Ok, so it is really a schweizer or hughes, but it sounds pretty cool. I have heard great things about the Enstrom, I have some time in a 44 and I love that one too, but the 300C is the one I mainly teach in. I find it to be more than sufficient for the things you are trying to get done, and I even know where you can do it!

 

Whichever you decide, best of luck to you in your training. I think you can find good and bad things about nearly every ship used for training. Just remember, that elusive first CFI job is tough without Robinson time. I am a limited CFII because I can not teach in the R22, which means my time is built slower than the guy that can do all of them. Now that I am small enough to fit, I am out of money!

 

Fly Safe

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Either way I think you will be happy. Both helicopters have pluses and minuses . I was trained from day one in the Enstrom F28A and I love that helicopter. Where I work now had a 280FX for a while and I did about 60 hours in it. Loved the helicopter. and as bad as I hate to say it, I still think the R44 out performed it. I will probably get some flack for this from Rick or John since I was an Enstrom baby, but I have been really impressed by the R44 up here in Colorado. I have put myself and 3 other adults in it, with an hour or so of fuel, and flown. I remember flying the enstrom and putting in two other adults and it would do it as well. but it wasn't as comfortable. I say I would get an R44. :unsure: but I still love enstrom. It all depends what you want. If you want a comfy 2, tight 3 seater, go with the Enstrom. If you think you might want more room, go to the R44. blah blah blah. Its early and I'm headed to Denver International to go to Georgia. Anyone know any helicopters around Helen, Georgia I can go see the area.

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The R22 has delightful control response despite its limited performance. It is really fun for solo flight. The R44 is a much better and safer helicopter with excellent performance. It feels like driving a stretch Limo compared to the R22 which is more like a motorcycle.

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Enstrom all the way! Cheaper then an R44 too!! But I would fly a Brantly before a Robbie so take my advice with a grain of salt... :D

 

Be nice Adam32. I fly a Brantly several times a week, and really enjoy it.

post-949-1247260358_thumb.jpg

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From a newbie and former student pilot - I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to this question. As a general observation, most of the major manufacturers have elected to incorporate to a low inertial rotor system for presumably enhanced maneuverability, lower cost, and to reduce the need/maintenance of hinges/bearings. As a consequence of these changes, the autorotation characteristics of these newer aircraft are less favorable than with the Enstroms and 206s.

 

As a footnote, because of Frank Robinson's mission to produce relatively low cost, low maintenance helicopters, the R22, R44, and R66 and likely to lead to the future demise of the Enstrom F28F, 480, and Sikorsky 300c, particularly with this economic downturn (Just my thoughts, but I hope that I am wrong.)

 

I admire the Enstrom because of its tail rotor authority, good autorotation parameters, and design (okay, I know many may disagree with this.) Also, the F28 flies very well and is stable in cross winds. However, maintaining rotor speed is significantly more challenging than in an R22. Alternatively, the R22 has made helicopter flying affordable for many aspiring pilots.

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As a general observation, most of the major manufacturers have elected to incorporate to a low inertial rotor system.

 

Who besides Robinson?

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Besides Robinson - Bell (407), MD, and Eurocopter (relatively light weight, composite rotors) compared to the Bell 205, Bell 47. MBB Bölkow Bo-105, I believe, was one of the first helicopters to utilize a "rigid" rotor system in which individual rotor blades "flexed" sufficiently to overcome the need for lead/lag and flapping hinges. This type of engineered rotor blade traded weight(mass) for flexibility.

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Besides Robinson - Bell (407), MD, and Eurocopter (relatively light weight, composite rotors) compared to the Bell 205, Bell 47. MBB Bölkow Bo-105, I believe, was one of the first helicopters to utilize a "rigid" rotor system in which individual rotor blades "flexed" sufficiently to overcome the need for lead/lag and flapping hinges. This type of engineered rotor blade traded weight(mass) for flexibility.

 

Okay I see what you mean, but those are also all multi-bladed so as far as weight/energy they still have much more then Robbies. But I would take a 407 anyday of the week :D

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ENSTROM ALL THE WAY!

 

I have about 1000 hours in Enstrom and 30 in the 44... The autos are wonderful in the 280! And the turbo lets you pull 39 inches any day regardless of heat!

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ENSTROM ALL THE WAY!

 

I have about 1000 hours in Enstrom and 30 in the 44... The autos are wonderful in the 280! And the turbo lets you pull 39 inches any day regardless of heat!

 

Dan,

 

You must fly an F or FX. The C models only go to 36 inches. Other than that I agree with you. I looked at the 300, R22/44 and the Enstrom. I analyzed direct and indirect operating costs and adjusted them so they were apples to apples. Also looked at maintenance requirements. What I found was the Enstrom had the lowest total cost of operations for a low utilization model. Few life limit parts and no major inspections. Plus the machines safety record. Personally I feel that it is the only choice for the private owner.

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I am about to begin my helicopter training and trying to decide between the R-44 (not even considering the 22) & Enstrom. Were I planning/hoping to make a living flying helicopters one day or hoping to accrue hours teaching, would be easier – would have to give the nod to Robinson due to their market dominance. I do NOT ever see me doing that. I do see me eventually buying an R-44 or a F28F and flying it for personal transport and/or recreation – but again, not vocation. I’ll admit I’m leaning toward the Enstrom. Love that big, heavy, fully articulated main rotor system. I’m willing to pay a little extra, go a little slower and burn a little more fuel for added safety - - that said, my posting here is a ready admission of the fact that what little I know about either of these helicopters is purely academic at this point and maybe I need to be considering things I’m not even aware of - - that’s where I hope the replies help. Any recollection of relevant experience with these ships and/or general advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

The R44 is a much more reliable ship, IMO. I have owned Robinsons for years and they have given us great service.

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The R44 is a much more reliable ship, IMO. I have owned Robinsons for years and they have given us great service.

 

Thanks for the input. "R44... much more reliable..." Really? Noticably more reliable than Enstrom?? I've honestly never heard anybody say that - even hardcore Robinson fans - but I'm all ears where dependability and maintenance experience/advice is concerned! Can you (or anybody else reading) elaborate or give me some specifics??? Thanks again!

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Thanks for the input. "R44... much more reliable..." Really? Noticably more reliable than Enstrom?? I've honestly never heard anybody say that - even hardcore Robinson fans - but I'm all ears where dependability and maintenance experience/advice is concerned! Can you (or anybody else reading) elaborate or give me some specifics??? Thanks again!

I am sorry, let me rephrase. I meant to say the Robbie is very reliable. I have no idea about the reliabilty of Enstroms. I am sorry it came out that way.

I know that our issues with the Robinsons have been few and far between.

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