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Private Business Owners?

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Hey Guys,

I'm pretty new to the forum, never posted anything yet. I'm wondering if there are any of you out there that have started your own personal business flying. If there is anyone, there are a bunch of questions that i have to ask.


Also, is there anyone that has purchased their own helicopter? I'm interested in how the process takes place. I could use some advice.

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What kind of other personal businesses are there out there for helicopter pilots besides charter businesses?


What does it take in order to start your own business?


How are the smaller businesses doing now? Is it worth starting my own business or am i just going to be struggling the whole time?

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Well this is probably a tough time to start doing this. I started a aviation services company back in Virginia. I had a Grumman tiger and Cessna 172 that I used for a photo platform and I had a deal to rent R22s from a couple of owners. We did aerial photos (lots of real estate) and rides. The leaf changing flights were a big hit over the mountains. There is a lot of work that goes into it and you certainly will not get rich (especially if you buy your helicopter). There is an old joke in aviation "how do you make a million dollars in aviation? ....................................... Start with two million". I left mine back in VA and haven't looked back.


There are a number of things you can do. But with helicopters it's going to be so much more expensive. If you can get in with a big real estate firm (or a bunch of small ones like I did) you can do a lot of photos and survey work. You can give rides under part 91 as long as you come back to the same place you took off from but you need to be where a lot of people are like Orlando. You can do pipeline and powerline patrol but these contracts are hard to get. There are lots of jobs available. None are going to make you rich.


Build a business plan, do really careful market research, have it reviewed by someone who isn't wearing rose colored glasses. At the end of the day this is a job. It may be the coolest job in the world but it's still a business which lives and dies on money coming in and going out. Tread carefully and try not to buy your own equipment.

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A couple of years ago, the FAA made a few changes to Part 91. The original intent was to require a LOA to conduct rides under Part 91. However, the FAA is now interpreting it to mean you have to have the LOA for any passenger operations conducted under Part 91 for hire. The process is not difficult, just a little time consuming.


As others have stated, you will not get rich this way, but can build up flight time. What can be an issue will be insurance. Initially plan on pay about twice the rate for business and personal.

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  • 2 years later...

I too have thought about buying Helicopter and running a small business with it. And if I could get a decent used r22 for 20-40,000 it seems like it would be a lot cheaper to hire CFI to complete proper training cause I have heard most will do it for 30-40 /HR. and there getting flight time hours too. I am new to this and welcome any feedback.

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