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Should I purchase a BO105 as a private helicopter pilot?


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I am a private helicopter pilot from New Zealand. I have around 350 hours in my R44. It's a great machine but I'm looking around at options for the move to a turbine.


To me it seems to tick most of the boxes:
Safety, ability to lift plenty, can carry 5 adults, ability to fly well in our changeable weather conditions, storage space for bags, ample power, reasonable speed. The cost of purchase is far lower than a Jet Ranger, Long Ranger, R66, MD600n, 350BA, EC120b - or anything else that works well as a private machine that will mostly be used for touring. Of course, the fuel burn will be greater with the twin engines but with the big purchase price differential, that becomes less of an issue.


Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with the BO105 (any model)?


Any tips, advice or suggestions please?

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Yeah, I've got about 2,500 in the 105. Awesome machine! Probably my favorite helicopter *ever*, which pains me to say that considering my love of the Bell 206.




  • The ship just doesn't like high altitude. Those four blades are pretty skinny and short - they don't get much "bite" when the air is thin. The 105 is the only helicopter in which I've ever had the cyclic all the way to the forward stop once...and I mean ON THE STOP, trying to keep it from climbing when encountering a strong updraft at 6,500' msl. Took a reduction of collective to get the nose down. Strange.


  • The 105 is certainly maneuverable! But be aware that the power can vary a *lot* if you do rapid roll reversals in cruise. Be careful to have the power well down below the limits if you're planning on messing around.


  • And because of the so-called "rigid" rotor, there is a strong roll/pitch coupling to the cyclic. Make a banking movement in one direction, and you'll find you need to now make a pitch adjustment. You get used to it, but it's weird at first. If you watch MBB's promo video on the 105, you can see what I'm talking about as the ship jumps over treelines. It pitches *and* rolls slightly.


  • It'll do an honest 120 knots. But the cabin attitude at that speed is 10-12 degrees nose-down! Kind of uncomfortable for the pax (and you!) on long flights.


  • Shakes a bit coming back through ETL when landing. There are techniques you can (and should!) learn to minimize this


  • You'll be feeding *two* RR 250-C20B's. They're kind of on the weak side for a 5,512 pound MAUW helicopter, but at least they're bulletproof.


  • It doesn't really have much fuel. I used to figure 60 gph but that was pretty conservative. Anyway, 150 gallons in the main tank (*never* use the supply tanks!) gives you about 2.5, tops. Using the AC and the heater increase the fuel consumption. Oh yeah, and the main fuel tank is hard to get completely full. Be advised! Every gallon counts when you have a long way to go.


  • It's also got kind of a strange fuel system. But it doesn't require a degree in rocket scientry to understand.


  • Airframe parts could certainly be a problem, as Airboos wishes the 105 would just go away.


Other than that, it's a great helicopter! Dig that crazy baggage compartment! Yeah, it has a few other quirks (hydraulic system and the engine N2 trim system) but they're not deal-killers. If you can find a 105 with decent times on the components for a reasonable price, I'd snap it up.


Just try not to buy the one Chuck Aaron's been using ;)

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You must hate the people who will be riding with you. I've only ridden in'em a couple times, but... The rear seat backs are nearly vertical on the deck, when it's nose down and trucking they feel like you're over vertical. The front pax feels like you're sitting on the floor. I don't know what the secret to minimizing the SHAKING in approach, but the first time I felt it, it scared the eff out of me. (Morgan City base manager flying, Ron?)


Nobody remarked on the hydraulics, but I remember some weird stories from my PHI days. I. Would. Never. Buy. Anything. With. Two. Allison/Rolls-Royce. Engines. This from a Twinstar driver, it may not be as bad with a BO. Twins are maintenance hogs. And those engines are very old tech. And leaky.


I like the Rubber Ducky, er- the AS350. A loaded AS350B2/B3 will walk away from a loaded Twinstar. The BA does just fine until the DA gets high and you're heavy. Fast (for a 40 year old design) and comfortable. Ariels are good motors.

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Underpowered antique. Translational Lift vibrations will terrify your passengers. Only helicopter I've encountered that has separate performance charts for high humidity. Nothing on them repairable. All remove and replace. Minor hydraulic issue requires removal and replacement of entire servo pack (all three servos). Originally designed as a multi-purpose gunship for the German military and has the bad economics and bad ergonomics to go with that design philosophy.


And, two engines do not mean more safety. Sometimes less. The 105 becomes a handful on one engine. That remaining single engine may or may not get you to an airport for a running landing.


If I had a stable of helicopters as toys, I'd certainly include a stretched 105, but only as a toy.


A Bell 206 may cost more but it costs more for a reason. Safe, economical, user-friendly, comfortable, good high altitude performance.


Nothing on this planet as safe as a single-engine Bell 206. Nothing.

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I recommend you contact Jürg Fleischmann from Lions Air in Switzerland. He knows a lot about that helicopter and where to get one, including parts. A few years back he and his team were working on upgrading BO105s with more powerful C30 engines. It's a great helicopter to fly and probably the best value twin engine helicopter you can get. But don't forget to get lots of training in it from someone that really knows that machine so it won't bite you!


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That thing hasn't belonged to PHI in quite a long time.

http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/airliners/7/3/5/1177537.jpg?v=v40 guess he forgot to take off the paint :D :D PHI sold it in 2006 according to flightaware

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