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R44 or... more money?


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I am interested and ready to purchase an R44. One thought is to build time in this, then trade up down the road.. possibly. Part of me wonders why Robinsons are so much cheaper than the competition...

 

For example, the EC120B, albeit much more expensive, seems to 1) be a heck of a lot sexier, 2) has a turbine, which I would prefer, 3) excellent OGE hover, cruise, etc.

 

I've also heard a lot of people swear by the Bell 206BIII. The OGE hover ceiling seems low in this, and I wondered why.

 

In regard to both, I would need to get something as much as 10-12 years older to even approach affordability.

 

I just dont want to regret my decision and I know the R44 is a decent ship, if not quite a good one... but there is a part of me, based partly on the longevity of the other companies, reviews of other pilots, pricing differential, utility use, etc that cant help but incline me to believe that there is much better quality found in something like a bell or a eurocopter.

 

How off base am I? What should I be looking at in terms of $700 or less?

 

Also, I've had a harder time finding info on TBO times and component times for the Bell/EC, etc than on the R44 or even the R66 for that matter.

 

Thoughts? Thanks! Also, I'm trying to understand the pros/cons of a fully articulated vs a teetering system, in terms of control.

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Have you considered an Enstrom 480? You can find a nicely depreciated 480B in the $700k range. There's even a nice looking straight 480 (earlier model, lower max weight and HP rating) for sale for $395K

 

http://www.controller.com/listingsdetail/aircraft-for-sale/ENSTROM-480/1997-ENSTROM-480/1342346.htm

 

Robust design, smooth flying, simple systems, very effective tail rotor, few time life limited components, and an extraordinary safety record - there's lots to love about the Enstrom. There's only been one fatality related to the 480 and it was due to an in flight medical emergency.

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Thoughts? Thanks! Also, I'm trying to understand the pros/cons of a fully articulated vs a teetering system, in terms of control.

Are you REALLY ready to buy an aircraft? Here's a quick rundown:

 

For pure control, a rigid head will win, but you are looking at a twin-engined BO 105 or bigger BK 117

 

Fully articulated gives still excellent control, lots of choices from H300, Enstrom (Barf!!) H500 and on to the EC120 and higher series of Eurocopter/Airbus models, Bell 407. Obviously more than 2 blades, so harder to store in a hangar.

 

Teetering is the cheapest to build and maintain, and also to store, being only 2 blades it takes up the least space. R22, 44 Bell series 204 205 206 212 222. But teeters have the problems of the slowest response to controls and the low-g limitations.

 

For usefulness, i.e.carrying pax, stay clear of the H500 because of that dismal back seat with the transmission tunnel running next to their ears and limited headroom. Sure, pilots love to fly it but pax aren't that easy to convince.

Edited by Eric Hunt
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I've owned two of them and I'm off the Robinson merry-go-round for the foreseeable future due to all of the MR blade issues they have had. I was fortunate not to have been burned by having to swap them out as others have had to do, aluminum to stainless and back to aluminum again, a set of blades is $50K. As far as cost to operate, unless you really need the convenience of being able to open the hangar door and go, or can't rent locally, the cost to rent is about the same to own as long as you're not hit with a surprise like the blade or bladder tank "upgrades".

 

Another consideration is the 12 year inspection/overhaul requirement which other manufacturers do not mandate. Flying purely for enjoyment, I was both times faced with running out of time before hours. Selling with five years left on the calendar helped to avoid the 12 year expensive paper weight syndrome.

 

Mike

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For example, the EC120B, albeit much more expensive, seems to 1) be a heck of a lot sexier, 2) has a turbine, which I would prefer, 3) excellent OGE hover, cruise, etc.

 

I've also heard a lot of people swear by the Bell 206BIII. The OGE hover ceiling seems low in this, and I wondered why.

 

In regard to both, I would need to get something as much as 10-12 years older to even approach affordability.

 

 

One of the reasons is cost vs. performance. True, it looks better, it’s faster, has sliding doors, and it’s definitely quieter. However, the EC120 may not be a step-up.

 

Cost:

New EC120’s are priced around $1.5M, used EC120’s price from (estimated) $750K to $900K.

 

You can find a good Bell 206B3 priced from (estimated) $500K to $700K. Performance: (using Manufactures RFM data)

 

Bell 206B3 EC120B MD500E

Gross/OGE 6,000’@30C 3,000 lbs. 3,200 lbs. 2680 lbs.

 

Basic Empty Wt. -1,715 lbs. -2,130 lbs. -1520 lbs.

Pilot & Equip -200 lbs. -200 lbs. -200 lbs.

1.5 Hrs Fuel -275 lbs. 27g/hr. -316 lbs. 31g/hr. -285 lbs. 28 g/hr.

==========================================

Totals: 810 lbs. 554 lbs. 675 lbs.

 

The EC120’s performance is a common complaint with Law Enforcement. They

commonly run their ships, equipped, at around 2,700 lbs. That in mind, with you and your observer and a ride-along onboard, you’ll want to watch your fuel load on a warm day. Max internal gross weight is 3,780 lbs.

 

Eurocopter has not released any engine upgrade plans. When asked, they recommend moving up to their B2 or B3 Astar.

Edited by iChris
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