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The FH1100 was a good helicopter in its day. Trouble is, its day has passed. Only 234 of them were ever made, starting in the late 1960's and going through 1973. The line was revived briefly in the 1980's and *four* more were made.


If you look on the FAA registry it might seem that there are a lot of FH1100's still in existence. But if you pull up the individual registrations you'll see that many of them are already listed as "Expired." Many more of them expire either at the end of this month (September) or at the end of the 2013. This means that they're not being re-registered as required. A ton of these "surviving" FH1100s are going to drop off the list soon, leaving only a handful of actual, flyable airframes.


The FH1100 Manufacturing Company packed up and moved out of the U.S. some time ago. What this means for you, Mr. Prospective FH1100 owner is that there is ZERO support. But okay, the airframe is pretty stout and reliable - what could you need that couldn't be sourced from somewhere else? Good question.

How's about rotor blades? Right now there are ZERO new main rotor blades around. None. Ding a blade, hit something or roll the ship over and you have ZERO chance of replacing the rotating components. Same for new tail rotor blades. None. Oh wait- what about that Bendix driveshaft with the 1200-hour life limit? Bendix doesn't make the things anymore. I would be very, VERY suspicious of anyone who claims to have parts on the shelf that still have life left on them. The stuff I've seen...I could tell you stories.


It might be tempting to buy an old, cheap FH1100 that's been "sitting around" in somebody's hangar or barn. But I guarantee you that you'll have a hard time getting it through a proper Annual Inspection. Price a bubble for the thing recently from Tech-Tool Plastics? Or better yet, price the *shipping* of a bubble?


Unless you have a direct line to the owner of the TC, I wouldn't even consider buying an FH1100 at this point.


When I was with the FH1100 factory, I used to get calls all the time from people who'd find these old, run-out FH1100's advertised for $90k or so. They'd ask if they should buy the ship and if we could support it. I would tell them to buy an R-44. I know the lure of a turbine helicopter is strong, but THERE IS NO SUCH THING as a "cheap" turbine helicopter. There is no such thing as a $90,000 turbine helicopter. Trust me on this. Not if you want one that's legal and safe.

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Thanks for the reply, I haven't had a chance to call you back yet! This machine does need blades too, the owner is suppose to be getting a set but who knows...


I'm thinking I'll pass unless he gets a good set of blades and sells the whole package to me for about 10 grand...not worth the trouble to me for much more then that.

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