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JCBigler

Buying your own helicopter to do your traing in

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I kind of wanted to post this in the Poll that Logan started, but then I thought maybe it will veer off on it's own. Mods feel free to merge if you feel it's appropriate.

 

My question is whether anyone here thinks it's a feasible (yes I know it would be exceptionally expensive) to buy your own helicopter in which to do your own training and time building?

 

I'll add to that the caveat that I'm looking into a business plan that would possibly include helicopter flight as part of the operation (ag work, not a flight school), so the business would need a helicopter anyway. Looking at a 300C. Basically the business (that I start and own) would buy the helicopter and then pay for the instructor and fuel and maintenance fees for me to get my commercial helicopter ratings, and then use the helicopter in the business.

 

I have a friend who bought his own airplane to get his fixed wing private pilot certificate, which dramatically cut down on his flight school costs as he only had to pay the instructor and ground fees, etc... Is the same kind of thing feasible in the helicopter industry? Or are there rules that require the training helicopter be owned by a certified flight school or some such? Insurance problems with this plan maybe?

 

Just trying to think outside the box here.

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It is quite comm,on to own your own aircraft (helicopter or otherwise) for your own training. If you have the money for the purchase and insurance ... more power to you!

 

Often, it is the cheapest way to go. In many cases you can do all of your training, then sell the aircraft to redeem most of your costs.

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insurance will be the killer...

I did it on my own.. bought the helicopter, sought out CFI's.. made it work.. I never carried insurance through my initial training as it wasn't worth it to me. Looking back, unless you can afford the insurance and purchase I'd recommend getting your private, then buying the helicopter and training for everything else in it. You can get insurance much easier that way. You can probabally get your private for the cost of a years insurance... And if you can afford the risk and purchase price only carry liability and you'll save enough to fly all year.

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Go for it if you can afford it, the up side you can always get a fly especially if it is based at airfield, peace of mind you know it has not been abused.

Down side if it goes AOG the cost is yours :(& there will be unexpected costs. I reckon it would have saved me heavy £.

I would have flown a lot more hours after I had license + something to sell towards the 500.

Our 500 costs £6k (private with 1\low hour & 1\high hour pilots hour limit 400 a year) with no claims.

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maybe look into what extra you will need if you are trying to get in ag work for said "business plan" , examples being able to fly under part 133 or 137. Also the extra equipment you will need, like seeder buckets, nav equip like a dyna nav.

 

Also the things that have been mentioned above.

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Thanks for the replies. I guess I expected that there might be some sort of regulatory or legal hurdles to owning an aircraft before you are actually certified to fly. Maybe there are and I just haven't found out about them yet?

 

I guess I see this as sort of the same thing as starting a cargo transportation company and training your drivers before letting them actually operate. Apiaguy, which helicopter did you buy?

 

My friend that owns the airplane said he would rent his plane out for flight training, so I'm thinking about going that direction too, and then just doing the helo add on. Would probably be a lot cheaper, at least initially.

 

PS, can one of the mods change the title of my post to correct the misspelled "traing" to "training"? It's really bugging me, and I can't edit the title myself.

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There r no regs for owning the heli except registering it....you do not legally have to have insurance. My first was a 269a / TH-55A...they are usually available for 60-80k...Id also look at the older hillers .. Both types are great first helix that won't break the bank and are very robust. I know lots of guys that buy an aircraft and never get a license...they just fly when they want...I don't endorse that nor would it be legal... Im just pointing out that you can pretty much do what you want in aviation as long as you don't crash..(I'm talking about part 91 guys)

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JC -

 

I purchased an R44 for exactly the reason you are talking about. I did have my private already but was spending a lot of money renting a helicopter. I paid $405K brand new for my Raven II fully loaded with AC and I have put almost 1100 hours on it in the 3 years that I have owned it. I did all of my other flight training in the R44 and have just completed my IFR and ATP ratings in it.

 

Being a business man I keep track of every single expense, every dime I spend on the R44 is tracked...absolutely everything. My per hour cost to fly my R44 including insurance, maintenance, hanger rental, etc is $200 per hour.

 

I was paying $595/hour to rent a R44. If you do the math, my helicopter has already paid for itself but I did have to cough up the $405K cash to buy it from Papa Frank in the beginning. And to be truthful, I put a lot more options on it that drove the investment to about $450k. I think I am still ahead of the game. Every hour I put on it now is free in comparison to renting as far as I am concerned. Had I rented a 44 for the 1100 hours I would have spent $654,500.00 and had nothing to show for it but 1100 hours in my logbook. As of now I have spent $625,000 and I have a helicopter with another 1100 hours to go before overhaul. If I choose to overhaul, I am looking at about $200 to $220K in 2011 dollars but if I don't overhaul, I can still sell it as is to someone willing to pay for the overhaul themselves.

 

I never have to worry about what another pilot did or did not do, how many times the engine or rotor system has been over-sped, how many hard landing it has gone through or anything else that some student pilots or renters fail to mention and I never have to worry about if its available!

 

All of those things add up to my recommendation that if you have the money - buy your own helicopter.

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...My per hour cost to fly my R44 including insurance, maintenance, hanger rental, etc is $200 per hour.

 

Does that include the acquisition cost of the helicopter? Also, what is your monthly cost of ownership?

:huh:

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Hourly TO FLY the helicopter, $200 per hour is reasonable, maybe a little less. Like butters said, that does not include the cost of the helicopter. That must be broken down, hourly, monthly, yearly; depending on how much you fly the aircraft.

 

At a total of $625,000 to date/,

1100 hours,

$568 per hour thus far.

 

Even with a timed out machine @2200 hours. With the same you have in total cost to date,

$625,000/

2200 Hours

=$284 per hour + (1100 hrs fuel, maintenance, insurance, hanger, unexpected maintenance etc.)

 

Sounds almost like published numbers from Robinson (Almost), or am I misreading something?

 

Still a much better price versus renting in any way. Not giving you a hard time Junkie, just trying to break the numbers down after total cost vs after purchase cost. Thanks for sharing your real numbers, God knows it is hard to get actual information in this regard. Awesome news your purchase is working out for you!

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The reason I ask is because I have been seriously thinking of ways to build time in this industry. Aside from having my CFI and jobs what they are for 300 hr pilots, buying or leasing is my next option. Question being, if a person buys a homebuilt say Helicycle will companies look at flight time the same as say a Robinson? I'm sure insurance costs for experimentals is far and above that of a FAA certified craft. The thought of buying a near new Helicyle at 50k and flying it daily to work is intruiging. Please educate me veteran pilots

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They key is to get a job being paid to fly a helicopter. A guy that pays cash for a $450,000 R44 and also lists a citation jet and a turbine helicopter in his stable already has a real job and he flies for fun. He's a wealthy guy and I tip my hat to him as he's living the American Dream. I'm living the American Dream too (although I prefer to go out on my boat rather than one of my helicopters) but I can also give you a job. Here is how my math works: Our program is $65,000 for 300 hours and CFI rating all VFR. So, after you net out a $5,000 CFI class you get 300 hours for $60,000 which is $200/hour. You have a job guarantee and if you work for us for 1000 hours you will get $20,000 back. Work for 2000 hours and get $40,000. One guy worked for us for 3000 hours and got all his money back. Just like with the guy that can put out $450,000 in cash you will have to put out $65,000 in cash or get a loan with us. Either HeloJunkie's $450,000 cash or my $65,000 cash program is viable but mine cost you less in the short and long run. Note: A bank will require insurance on a loan, leasing isn't very easy because any leasing company wants to see you have a reputable flight school and do 40 hours per month, a helicycle gets you time in your own aircraft but who can give you a job in a helicycle? Its about the job, job, job. That's how you advance your career and many people get to CFII and find there is no job. I'll be at Heli-Success as always an offered all my cfi's free registration and airline tickets if you want to talk to any of them.

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And what if you are too big, either height or weight, or just don't want to fly an R22?

 

If you are only amortizing the costs over 2000 hours of flight time then it might even out, but I suspect that as you pass the 3000 and 4000 hour ( and more) mark, the benefits of owning your own outweigh the savings of renting even with maintenance and overhauls, etc... Speaking strictly of the small pistion machines here and not the larger and much more expenssive turbines.

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For a Helicycle and PPL I was quoted $3,500a year for insurance, including $75,000 hull. That was with all time being in a R44.

 

If you charge a competitive price for a 44 and keep it flying a lot, after even one overhaul you can make a good bit of money, and get your flight time very cheap. Not every body has that upfront money unfortunately to make the purchase or pocket cash for a $50,000 deductible just in case something does happen.

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The reason I ask is because I have been seriously thinking of ways to build time in this industry. Aside from having my CFI and jobs what they are for 300 hr pilots, buying or leasing is my next option. Question being, if a person buys a homebuilt say Helicycle will companies look at flight time the same as say a Robinson? I'm sure insurance costs for experimentals is far and above that of a FAA certified craft. The thought of buying a near new Helicyle at 50k and flying it daily to work is intruiging. Please educate me veteran pilots

 

The biggest question is can you afford to purchase the aircraft? If so, it’s a good idea to hook up with a local flight school and lease your helicopter back to them and you use it when you need it. This would offset your training cost when you train. Furthermore, even though I’ve never crunched the numbers, owning benefits you while training for certification. Beyond that, it becomes less beneficial over time. In short, it shouldn’t be used as a time builder. The goal should be to build time while you are employed. I know some will disagree, but building time on your own isn’t the best way to gain employment. In other words, a pilot with 1000 hours of flying around on his own is not equal to a pilot who’s been gainfully employed for 1000 hours. While this is my opinion, it is what it is and the way it’s always been. Forever…..

 

Regarding the homebuilt, while a homebuilt is an option, it’s not what employers are looking for. Again, IMO, when a resume hits the desk and the applicants flight hours reads something like, 700 total, 250 R22, 50 S300, 400 Helicycle; more-then-likely, the resume will be circle filed. Why? Simply because there are plenty of other resumes in the stack without homebuilt time. Mind you, it’s not impossible, just not probable. Remember, this industry is currently fat with low-time guys and this is where you’ll be competing for a spot. Concentrate both mentally and financially on gaining employment. Employment begets employment…

 

It’s been stated numerous times and worth being stated again; there are no shortcuts in this industry. Train to CFII certification and meet the Robinson SFAR requirement. Within that 200 hours, have time in the S300 as well as these are the most popular training aircraft utilized at flight schools. Once you graduate, stay current and find a job…. It’s that easy, or difficult, depending who you are……

Edited by Spike
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...a pilot with 1000 hours of flying around on his own is not equal to a pilot who’s been gainfully employed for 1000 hours. While this is my opinion, it is what it is and the way it’s always been. Forever…..

 

Of course I have to disagree with that,...bet you didn't see that coming! :rolleyes:

 

I actually read a story a few years ago about someone buying a helicopter, flying to 1000hrs, and getting hired in the Grand Canyon flying Tours.

 

I've also read a story about someone buying a helicycle, flying to 1000hrs and finding a job.

 

And yes, I understand that those stories aren't the "norm", but neither is getting all your ratings and immediately finding a job!

 

In my own experience, trying to get a job as even a back-up pilot flying at night. I couldn't even get an interview, even though I have close to 300 night hours. Which leads me to believe that experience doesn't mean sh*t, and all they care about is that damn number! <_<

 

For everything one person says isn't going to happen, another comes along and says, "well, I did it".

 

As for not being equal to an employed pilot. Speaking as someone who has been the "sole manipulator of the controls" for almost all of his hours; I would bet anyone a thousand bucks that I could get through Tempsco or Papillion's 135 training in as much, or fewer hours than any 1000hr CFI!

:)

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^ Don't get cocky butters. That sort of thing will get you into an accident or get your butt fired from a job someday. What hazardous flight attitude is that called again? Macho? :P

Edited by RagMan
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Of course I have to disagree with that,...bet you didn't see that coming! :rolleyes:

 

I actually read a story a few years ago about someone buying a helicopter, flying to 1000hrs, and getting hired in the Grand Canyon flying Tours.

 

I've also read a story about someone buying a helicycle, flying to 1000hrs and finding a job.

 

And yes, I understand that those stories aren't the "norm", but neither is getting all your ratings and immediately finding a job!

 

In my own experience, trying to get a job as even a back-up pilot flying at night. I couldn't even get an interview, even though I have close to 300 night hours. Which leads me to believe that experience doesn't mean sh*t, and all they care about is that damn number! <_<

 

For everything one person says isn't going to happen, another comes along and says, "well, I did it".

 

As for not being equal to an employed pilot. Speaking as someone who has been the "sole manipulator of the controls" for almost all of his hours; I would bet anyone a thousand bucks that I could get through Tempsco or Papillion's 135 training in as much, or fewer hours than any 1000hr CFI!

:)

 

I said it’s not impossible, just not probable….

 

Let’s rationally think about this. You said:

 

“actually read a story a few years ago about someone buying a helicopter, flying to 1000hrs, and getting hired in the Grand Canyon flying Tours.”

 

One guy eh?

 

“I've also read a story about someone buying a helicycle, flying to 1000hrs and finding a job.”

 

One guy eh?

 

I can say from my experience, trying to achieve success in this business by following what “one guy” did, is not by any means, the best path to take. The fact is, I know a couple guys who found jobs after building time in a homebuilt. However, that was when the industry bubble was expanding which is far from the truth today. Personally, I’d rather follow the path of the many, as this is (was) the sensible thing to do. Or better said, it’s better to posture yourself for the 25 out of 100 opportunities rather then the 1 out of 100. I followed the 25 and have been gainfully employed for many years.

 

You can believe what you want to believe. Life is about choices. When you choose a path, you either reap the rewards, or suffer the consequences….

 

Rest assured, right at this moment, there’s a CFI somewhere who is being hired that has less time then you…

 

Respectfully, if you are so steadfast with this philosophy, please enlighten us where it has taken you?

Edited by Spike
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Employed pilot is not the "end goal" of everyone who wants to fly! Don't sell us "fly for fun" guys short! :)

 

A pilot with a cocky attitude?,...imagine that! :lol: :lol: :lol: :P

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Respectfully, if you are so steadfast with this philosophy, please enlighten us where it has taken you?

 

You are under the misconception that being an employed pilot is my dream.

B)

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You are under the misconception that being an employed pilot is my dream.

B)

 

What is your end goal then? Because alot of your posts seem to stem from a frustration about not being able to find work. I actually find myself rooting for you but its getting a bit confusing here.

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You are under the misconception that being an employed pilot is my dream.

B)

 

Then why do you continually respond to posts and threads regarding employment? Why do you offer the negative opinions (which you are free to do) regarding the state of this industry? Misconception, no. Misinformed, absolutely…..

 

Quite a number of folks here actually try to give back and provide the new folks with information based upon their own personal experiences. Simply put, we try to help others when we can. People are free to heed the advice, or ignore it, it’s up to them. Confusing the topic(s) never helps.

 

I also believe its fair to assume, most of the new participants here at VR are interested in becoming professional helicopter pilots. While it may not be your dream, it may be theirs. These are the people I’m interested in helping simply because at one time or another, I was in their shoes…

 

Besides, people who want to just fly for fun don’t need any help anyway…. From me, or you……..

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I would like to spend my remaining days flying tourists around the Grand Canyon, but flying "for a living" was just never the dream, which is probably why I'm not willing to do what it takes to get in, i.e. Teach (my nightmare job).

 

At one time I was willing to move anywhere in the world, no matter how crappy the pay, just to build time, and for a long time I was frustrated at how impossible it was to even get an interview as a non-CFI.

 

However, its been too long, and I just don't care anymore about flying for hire, so now I just give advice, and argue with those of differing opinions.

;)

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