Jump to content
Discap

MD 600N vs AS350B3

Recommended Posts

I have been lurking on this site for a while. I have nothing to add to the expertise here so I have not chimed in before.

 

We are looking for a helicopter for executive transport primarily in Texas. This will be Part 91 only. I am a low time heli pilot but have about 4000 hrs of Multiengine fixed wing time. I will not be the primary pilot.

 

I have noticed that the 600N seems priced very low for the class of helicopter it is. On paper it is pretty impressive. The folks that I have talked to say stay away from them. Underpowered no tail rotor authority. This sounds mostly like old wives tales to me.

 

The AS 350 B3 obviously has a much larger user base and fleet hours.

 

We are trying to stay in the $1MM range give or take. I am looking for for documentable facts one way or the other. Also I would like antidotal opinions from those who fly them.

 

Thanks in advance and let the flaming begin.

 

Bill

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After the 500 C,D, or E I would not buy 500N or 600 for myself, had a quick pole of a 900 quite liked that, Suggest you flew one for a few hours before you even thought about buying.

The Notar is a acquired taste you either love or hate them !

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After the 500 C,D, or E I would not buy 500N or 600 for myself, had a quick pole of a 900 quite liked that, Suggest you flew one for a few hours before you even thought about buying.

The Notar is a acquired taste you either love or hate them !

 

Isn't that a 600 in your avatar picture? :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably 100 hours per year. I tried to talk the boss into a 500 first but he thought it was too small. Speeed and creature comfort are his primary requirements. The acquisition price can actually go up substantially from the 1MM as it turns out.

 

I don't like the idea of 2 engines but he does. Any thoughts on the 902.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A year ago I looked extensively at updating from a 500d to a 600n. I have a little more then 3500 hrs in type. I flew the 600 3 hrs so by no means am I an expert on that helicopter. My opinion is that I opted not to move forward for several reason 1. MDHI's current production rate concerns me they have built right around 100 of the 600's over its life time. I believe that almost 20 of those aren't flying anymore. It flys great by the way. A little heavy on the controls but it's a little missle. From a transporter of VIP's it's not even close the astar wins hands down. I stayed with the 500 in the long run and this summer I have been remind why I love it nothing is more fun to fly. Since I don't chart or work mine and I only care about my fun I didn't need anything else

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably 100 hours per year. I tried to talk the boss into a 500 first but he thought it was too small. Speeed and creature comfort are his primary requirements. The acquisition price can actually go up substantially from the 1MM as it turns out.

I don't like the idea of 2 engines but he does. Any thoughts on the 902.

902 great again do your homework on product support from MDHI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agusta A109 or Sikorsky S-76...stick with 2 engines. Speed and comfort is what those are made for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

antidotal opinions

Not sure you need an antidote, so here is an anecdote:

 

A tourism operator, who specialised in carrying Japanese on a 40-min-each-way trip, found that the 600N cabin has an unpleasant wallow/yaw which caused the pax to deposit their breakfast on the floor.

 

It never seemed to want to be steady in yaw, and always needed corrections fed in....baarf...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try getting parts for a 222...there's a reason it's been for sale for like 7 years...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd stick with a common model, there are usually good reasons why they are common.

 

AS350, AS355. Nice cabin layout for pax, nobody has to sit backwards and no wall between the front and back passengers. VIP seating is available. Very common and easy to get parts and service for. Pretty drama free aircraft.

 

AS350B3 doesn't really have any advantages over a B2 in this scenario. Internal GW is the same (except for the more expensive dual hydraulic version), and it burns at least 10% more fuel per hour for not much more top speed, at a lot higher cost. If anything you want a B4, but then you will spend a LOT more money.

 

Downside to any of them is the whole 12 year overhaul thing, as well as other calendar based stuff, which will increase costs for you if you only fly 100hrs a year.

 

 

I'd also look into A109 and S76 if you want a twin. Depending on what kind of VIPs you fly around, you may have to go that way anyways. Don't know anything about them though.

Edited by lelebebbel
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have noticed that the 600N seems priced very low for the class of helicopter it is. On paper it is pretty impressive. The folks that I have talked to say stay away from them. Underpowered no tail rotor authority. This sounds mostly like old wives tales to me.

 

The AS 350 B3 obviously has a much larger user base and fleet hours.

 

I found the MD 600N, early on when they first came out, lacking in handling quality. Since that time MD has added some upgrades; however, most everyone I’ve known who have flown later models noted the same problem. Handling was especially poor at or near gross weight, were the lack of hydraulics with the same old forced trim system was disappointing.

 

To name two: The San Bernardino County Sheriff (two accidents) and Customs & Border Protection (two accidents) within a short time after acquisition were very disappointing with the MD 600N.

 

Poor flight handling characteristics of the MD 600N are key complaints of most Border Patrol pilots. According to the pilots, heavy controls, aircraft instability—particularly during wind turbulence—and generally poor ergonomics make the helicopter fatiguing to fly. An MDH official said MDH has received this feedback from several other MD 600N customers, and have proposed modifications to relieve some of the pilot’s concerns.

 

The heavy controls are not a new complaint, nor unique to Border Patrol pilots. This problem was identified by Border Patrol procurement test pilots in their formal evaluation of aircraft flight characteristics. FAA certification test-pilots for the MD 600N and pilots flying MD 600Ns for a local law enforcement agency also told us that controls were heavy. The Army tested a version of NOTAR technology for its uses and rejected it. One reason was due to poor handling characteristics, according to the Test and Evaluation Officer of the Army unit and the Army evaluation report. The Army official said that the aircraft the Army tested was very different from the current MD 600N—which he has flown, but he said that the handling characteristics were similar. He said it took a lot of work to get the helicopter to do what you wanted it to do.

 

Procurement of MD 600N Helicopters Should Be Reassessed

 

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/dblist.php?AcType=MD60

Edited by iChris
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AW 109. I also believe there is a place near Dallas, TX that services and works on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input. As we work through this he is liking the idea of a twin. The acquisition cost is not much different (in his world). Obviously the operating costs are much higher, but only flying 100 hrs/ yr the gross difference is really not that much.

 

Ok I know absolutely nothing about twin engine helicopters. Help. Seems from what I read that they really don't fly one one engine, unlike a plane. Old wives tale?

 

He will want me to get checked out in it so that will be fun. He will self insure on the hull so I won't have to deal with he insurance requirements.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He will be flying to retail stores with unsecured helipads. That is one of the reasons I like the idea of the Notar. Any thought on the 900 or 902.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will you only be flying him? So 2 people total?

 

Some twins can fly on 1 engine, some can't but at least it'll be "some" power at the bottom instead of NONE!

 

I had a time in a 212 where one engine rolled itself back to idle, having the 2nd engine gave enough time to figure out the issue and keep flying. If it was a 205 it would've been an auto to a sucky location and possibly a banged up helicopter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How heavy? If you're constantly carrying lots of fuel and stuff..

 

How hot (air conditioning, heat takes energy and costs maintenance)?

 

How high (Texas is a big state)?

 

How long are the trips? Poor seating, noise are considerations.

 

How unfriendly is the terrain? That's a significant consideration with twins. Having two engines doubles the chances of engine problems, but almost all twins fly OEI but no single engine will. Systems! systems! systems in multis- they cost maintenance dollars and make the pilot's job harder- even a twin will have a forced landing in some power failures, and pilots eff up the emergency with amazing frequency. Most accidents happen in spite of having two engines.

 

I like the AS350B3. Plenty performance, support and resale.

 

p.s. Unsecured pads? You're going to land without ANYBODY watching the area? I will NOT LEAVE an aircraft I'm going to fly in an unsecured area. Vandalism can be subtle and inadvertent.

Edited by Wally

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys I really appreciate the input. It is hot in South Texas but within 1000 feet of sea level in all cases. No more than pilot and two passengers at any time. By unsecured pads I mean no personnel to keep people away.

 

Help me with suggestions for twins. There are apparently many iterations on the 109. Any preferences on year/models? Who in Central Texas works on them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric found the same not a nice ride seems to porpoise.

 

Adam see below, the Notar is tail heavy at least in the 500 variety, as for the 4 blade don't like that on the 500 seems to lack authority compared to 2 blade.

The orange av was an artistic impression about 3 years ago thought it was the way to go As you may have realized not a Notar fan.

Obviously MD thought so as well.

With their latest changes including Mymd.aero I feel they are loosing sight again, + stupid pricing, Lyn needs to get in there with a big stick, it was all us small users that have kept it alive

 

MD6XX-730x480.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The early 109 A series, even with the C20R engines and Wide Body mod, were Italian show ponies. With 2 on board and full fuel, went like a startled rabbit - 145kt cruise, 168kt Vne and a smooth ride.

 

However, put a backside on every seat and you have about 45 minutes of useful flight before seeking a top-up.

 

If any of the pax are cheeseburger-fed ole boys, they won't fit in the front seat.

 

Otherwise, a nice bird to fly.

 

But look at 109E and later models to get better engines, more useful space (the retractable gear goes into pods, not into the fuselage) and more modern electrics. The instrument panel on our 109A weighed 90kg with all those gyros. Get glass screens, cheaper, lighter, more reliable, and tell you a lot more.

 

Regarding the 2-engine thing: twins generally aren't fitted with engines that will allow a hover just on one. If they did, the engines would be fine when operating at their best, around 97% N1, but in cruise flight, when loafing along with their friend, they are sucking more fuel than you want to know about. Very inefficient.

 

Find yourself a graph showing total power required for flight - look at the big dip in the middle, where the machine is between 30 and 70 kt, using least power. Draw a horizontal line through the curve about two thirds between the bottom and the intersection on the left with the vertical axis. This is the power available on one engine. Draw another line at double the height of the first line - this is 2-engine power, way above the power needed for hover.

 

But back on one engine, you will see that it allows LEVEL flight at speeds between maybe 90kt and 30kt. Will not allow hover on one, but using a descending flight path and some gentle speed, a run-on landing is normally the go.

Edited by Eric Hunt
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...