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EC130 Operating COsts


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As the title suggests, I am wondering where I can find information regarding annual operating costs of an EC130. An on-line source or any other type of reference is appreciated - I thought of calling Eurocopter themselves to see if I can get some information....


I've searched on-line extensively but can't find what I'm looking for....

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There is a website owned by Conklin and De Decker that gives "reliable" variable operating costs for just about every aircraft out there. They say variable operating costs for the EC130 is $746 per hour. From my understanding and per Conklin and de Decker, variable costs include fuel, maintenance, overhaul, landing / parking fee's, and some flight crew costs (hold over pay, or extended flight hours). Fixed costs include your hangar, insurance, salary for the pilot, and either your lease or monthly payment on the aircraft (if you do not own the helicopter).


Something very important to remember is that the above number ($746) is based on at least 500 hours of flight time per year. The fewer hours you fly per year, the higher your hourly operating costs because the fixed costs stay the same whether you fly the helicopter or not. Here is an example of hourly operating costs if you own an EC130 and fly 125 hours per year or 500 hours per year. These numbers presented are for example purposes only and should not be assumed to be actual numbers, as they are general in nature but comparative to actual costs. This is also assuming that you OWN the helicopter and that you are the pilot and do not need to pay for a pilot.


FIXED COSTS PER YEAR: 125 hours per year: 500 hours per year:

Insurance: $50,000 $400 $100

Hangar: $6,000 $48 $12

Total: $56,000 $448 $112



Fuel: $204 ($5.50 per gallon @ 37 gallon burn rate per hour)

Maintenance (scheduled and unscheduled): $226

Overhaul: $316

(Both maintenance and overhaul figures are exaggerated to meet Conklin's estimated operating costs of $746).


Based on the above numbers, if you OWN an EC130 and fly 125 hours per year, you should plan on paying $1,194 per hour / $149,250 per year. If you fly 500 hours per hour, plan on paying $858 per hour / $429,000 per year. These number do not include local taxes you will have to pay on an aircraft that if new, is worth around $2,475,585


I have not been able to find operating costs released by Eurocopter, but I have been told that it is good practice to take whatever operating cost the manufacture publishes and multiply that number by at least 50% and in some cases up to 100%. For example, if Robinson releases numbers that an R22 Beta II cost $100 per hour, you should multiply that by 50% and really plan on paying at least $150 per hour (this should include your variable and fixed costs).


I am a small business owner and am about to start operations with an R22 Beta II and it has been my experience that to responsibly operate a helicopter, you cannot rely on manufacturer's published numbers. It takes a lot of work, planning, crunching numbers, and a little bit of math, but if you can sit down and determine what your goals are and how many hours you plan to fly, you can come up with a very specific number. It would be wise to exaggerate your numbers somewhat so that you are always left with green (positive) numbers instead of red (negative) numbers at the end of your fiscal year. This positive flow at the end of the year is hopefully enough to cover at least some of, if not all of the taxes you will owe that year. Talk with a tax advisor who can inform you of ways that your time, money, and aircraft can be used so that you are not stuck with a huge tax burden at the end of the year.


I hope this helps and I really hope if there are other's out there that have more information on the EC130 specifically, that they can pitch in. Some of the numbers presented above are extremely accurate (Fuel), while others are general but comparative to industry figures (Insurance). These numbers can be found on Conklin and De Deckers website, and although some of the information presented is my opinion (exaggerating your numbers), the majority is based on factual information.




Conklin and De Decker.

Robinson Helicopters.

Utah Valley University.

Interviews and conversations with owners and operators of Bell 206 BIII, MD500E, AStar 350 B3, Bell 407 helicopters.

My own experience starting my business that will be operating a helicopter.

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Thanks for the info. I came up with the 37 gallon burn rate per hour based on what Eurocopter has published on their website. It states that the 130 holds 143 gallons of fuel and has an endurance of 3.8 hours, so I took 143 and divided it by 3.8 which equals 37.6 gallons. I figured that by doing this it would represent an accurate burn rate...obviously it doesn't based on your real life experience.


JCM5 - With the facts set straight on the fuel burn rate, your operating cost per hour will increase in your fuel category...FYI...hope that helps.

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It states that the 130 holds 143 gallons of fuel and has an endurance of 3.8 hours, so I took 143 and divided it by 3.8 which equals 37.6 gallons. I figured that by doing this it would represent an accurate burn rate...obviously it doesn't based on your real life experience.


Endurance numbers are found at lowest burn rates so they are accurate in that regard.



That’s correct. Most fuel-flow rates are calculated at cruise flight at max continuous power (MCP). Calculations made using endurance time will be low-end numbers representing extended flight at low power settings. The EC-130 fuel-flow rate at MCP is, as stated above, around 52gals/hr.


Endurance (maximum endurance) occurs at the airspeed where the fuel flow is minimum. As you know, that’s the lowest point on the horsepower required vs. airspeed curve. That point also represents best rate of climb speed and minimum rate of descent speed in autorotation. That airspeed is normally around 60-80 knots; however the majority of our operations are above that speed range at or above MCP.

Edited by iChris
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