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Advice on high time r22 with accident history


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Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum but have appreciated reading other's posts for a little while now.

I have some questions that I'd appreciate advice on from all of you with a wealth of experience :-)

To make a long story short, I'm a new Cfi with the ultimate goal of wanting to serve in volunteer Christian overseas helicopter missions.

In the meantime, I also see value in gaining as much time and experience until doors open up for me to get overseas.

I've tossed around the idea of leasing an r22, and from as near as I can guess, it'll cost over 100k to get around 1000 hr not even including insurance and fuel.

Recently I saw an r22 beta for sale for 115 k. Maybe it's a crazy dream, but I thought for around the same price I could buy an r22, teach and build time, then have a core I could sell afterwards for close to the same price!

The only downfall is this particular r22 beta has both high time and an accident history!

Here's what I know: it's a 1989 beta with 11000 plus ttaf. It was overhauled by the factory in 2004. It used to be operated by the flight school Twin Air in southern Ca. Sometime in 2006 it was involved in an accident where winds shifted in an autorotation. Apparently it hit aft skids first in a field, then rolled on its right side.


The flight school sold it, and it passed several owners, finally being put back together by a service center with an overhaul kit. In addition to the overhaul kit, it got a new right skid, new tailboom, and the right side glass was replaced. It is currently owned by a flight school in Texas who has flown it approximately 840 smoh and reassembly in 2010.


So far it's the best deal I've seen on an r22 with 1300 hr left and 9 or 10 yr left on the 12 yr calender.


My biggest questions are:

Is there anything to look out for with 11000 plus hr since it has had the 2200 and 4400 hr interval overhauls?

Does the accident history make it a bad idea all around? (The owner says it flies great)

Does anybody know more about this particular helicopter? It's n-number is N994hv.

In my research I found out a member here works or worked for Twin Air and from a picture in 2007 of this very helicopter: http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/000105052.

I don't want to put so much resources toward something if I could go straight into missions, but also realize there is no substitute for experience!


I'm also currently in A&p school and hope to take the Robinson maintenance course in September.

Of course I may end up just getting a job after I finish A&p school to gain experience, but just thought I'd throw this (crazy) idea out there and see what input I got.


Any input or advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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I'll just go ahead and chime in and I'm sure someone will follow up with more experience on used and abused R22s. :P


I think a big question to ask yourself is if you are in a position, where if something were to go wrong, if you are able to repair the helicopter and bring it back to service. Most newly minted CFI's are strapped for cash having just spent their nest egg on the training. If you are overextending yourself (read: taking out loans), to purchase an R22 that you probably shouldn't be buying in hopes of building hours in it as an independent CFI, my gut is saying that it's a bad idea.


I don't want to ask too many personal questions, but what is your current financial situation. There might be better avenues to take with less risk involved (both financially and physically :ph34r: )

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Your cost per hour to fly will almost certainly be higher if you buy the helicopter than lease it. You will also have a lot of money tied up with a lot of personal and financial risk. I reccommed to do the lease, you don't have to put out all that money up front. I leased an R22 for 6 months and did the independent CFI thing. It flew over 600 hours and I was able to find students to cover 95% of the costs. I found that airplane to helicopter conversions were my biggest source of students. I also enjoyed abinitio students, it was awsome seeing those first hovers. The scariest people to fly with were low timers with ratings who wanted to build more hours. I started networking and managed to have most of the hours spoken for before I started the lease. The cost per hour to lease with fuel, oil, insurance and hangarage came out around $170. My biggest expense was ferrying the helicopter. Scheduled maintenance was included if I brought the helicopter to the owner.


I can tell you that the risk of this endeavor weighed heavily on me and I was very relieved when it was successfully over. The hours gained got me my first 135 job so it was worth the effort.

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Thanks for the input, guys! @rotortramp I certainly see your point of view! I have been incredibly blessed by God to have my CFII without debt...As far as financial situation...no, I probably couldn't afford to replace the r22 if it was in a major accident. Recently our family lost everything due to a forest fire. As a(n) unfortunate (or fortunate, however you decide to look at it) result, and to make a long story short, we might be able to afford to buy an r22 that we never could have before...


@ whistlerpilot:

Thanks for the input as well! It is great to get input from someone who has been there. Just curious: why would owning a helicopter be that much more than leasing? So far all the leasing places I've seen require you to pay for maintenance, insurance, fuel, hanger, damages, etc. The only thing covered is the overhaul and cost of mandatory AD parts.

I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm just asking for more explanation. Thanks in advance!

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The advantage to owning your own helicopter is that you can fly whenever and wherever you want. My point is that you will sink over 100 K into it before you turn a blade. It cost's a lot of money to fly even after you own the machine. Insurance alone is going to be 8 to 12 K per year. If you don't have the time to fly many hundreds of hours your per hour insurance cost could be really high. If something breaks you are going to have to fix it, and with an old ship like that things will need repair. The lease I had included maintenance if I brought the helicopter to the owner.


You might get $30 K for the core when it's run out, look into it and find out exactly what it's worth. My guess is that after all that money is spent your per hour cost is going to be around $150, after you sell the core. Could be more if it's a lemon. So do you have nearly double the purchase price so you can pay to actually fly the thing ?


Owning your own helicopter would be amazing but it will cost a lot of money. Leasing doesn't require putting all that cash up front. My advice is get yourself organized, have students committed and ready to go then slam out 1000 hours in a year. You don't have to pay for those hours, if you're up to the challenge others will pay you. Use your money to buy food and gas. Either option can work but my point is owning the helicopter is a bigger financial risk and marginally cheaper in the long run.


No doubt it would be amazing to have your own helicopter though.


PM me if you want my phone number I'm happy to share my experience with you.

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@ Whistlerpilot: Yeah, those are good points. Pretty much the cons of buying are as follows: Greater financial risk because of having to put all the money up front, whereas a lease could be short term if things didn't work out...

Also an older ship would potentially have more maintenance issues.


Advantages are having your own helicopter :), potentially saving money, and also having the option of selling it afterwards for close to the same price if I didn't put too many hours on it.

I agree the lease would be awesome if maintenance was included! Unfortunately those types of leases are harder to find...(where did you find yours btw?)


I figured most leases I've found have been dry at $110/hr plus some even have a monthly charge on top!

@ 110/hr that's 110k for 1000 hr just for the use of the helicopter, and not including any additional monthly fees, maintenance, insurance, etc

If I could get the helicopter for 110k-115k, fly it for 1000 hr,then sell it, I still might get 30k of the core on top of the deal.

In either of the situations, I'd still have to pay insurance, maintenance, fuel, repair if something got damaged, etc.

The only difference is I'd have to put it all up front (which is significant) and I'm stuck with the chopper if I don't get enough students.

I'm hoping to lower maintenance costs some since ill have my a&p and I'm planning on taking the Robinson course...


I can certainly see both sides and I'm not brushing off your points, so thanks again!

Oh and I might take up your offer of talking to you later as well. Thanks!

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As far as buying this (or any) used helicopter goes, there is only one answer, and that is a thorough pre-purchase inspection conducted by an independent, experienced engineer, including a full logbook audit.


Yes, this will cost you a few thousand dollars. It will be worth it, 100% guaranteed.


With any used machine, but especially with a higher timed one such as this, there could be a million things that will -or will not- make ownership incredibly expensive that you can't possibly work out for yourself without engineering experience.


Aside from possibly damaged parts - with this history, this machine (and most other older machines!) will have components timing out at random points during its overhaul life. Parts were renewed, or repaired, or replaced with used parts, outside of their normal overhaul schedule. Parts affected by ADs. Parts like the upper frame, normally renewed during overhaul, that require the helicopter to be stripped bare if they need work.


Only an engineer can give you an idea of what you are in for. This can't be done over the internet.

Edited by lelebebbel
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Wow, I put a lot of time in on that bird!.....4HV...


I can also speak to some of your assumptions since I own Robbies.


PM me.




PS the link on the photo is mine....


Just remembered something.....my avitar under my name? Yepp, that's the same helicopter!

Edited by Goldy
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