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New to helicopters just a couple questions


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First off I'd like to say hello to everyone here. I'm usually hanging around the www.clear-and-a-million.com forum but lately have been looking into helicopters. A little about me. I'm 23yrs old, almost 24, with about 512.3hrs of flight time. I have my commercial single/multi along with my instrument and my CFI awaiting my CFII checkride.

 

I've wanted to look into going into business on my own with helicopters. There is work around this area where I know a man is about to retire within the next couple years and is looking for someone to take over. Nothing special but keeps him flying. I'm trying to research everything about it as much as possible. I know my questions might be many. And I'm very sorry for this as I know what it's like to get a complete newb on your board. So i'm going to do my best to hit it all up on one post. If you only want to answer one then just have at that one. If you want to tell me i type too much then hop on over to clear-and-a-million and yell at me in the chat room lol. Anything and everything will be helpful so thank you guys!

 

So first off I'd like to ask about the hr requirements. Reading through the FAR's I've seen that you need a minimal of 50hrs of rotorcraft to be a commercial pilot. What are the real requirements when it comes to insurance? Just liability for starters?

 

What are good 2 seater helicopters to fly. I hear the R22's are deathtraps and I've been reading in the SFAR where they require additional hours. Why is this?

 

What is the operating cost of a small heli per hour? (I know it's based on how much it flies in that given year but if I owned a S-300 what would a good cost per hour be to base my decisions on? Also how many hours was this figured for?)

 

If I receive my commercial at 50hrs, possibly give a few, would i just need to be able to perform the proper maneuvers and pass a checkride to then have my CFI for helicopters?

 

Does anyone know where I could also find a cost spreadsheet where I can plug in all the numbers to estimate how much it would cost me per year to have the aircraft? I've saw one some time back for a cessna 310. It has been a few years though. I remember it took everything into account from aircraft cost and payments to fuel burn, oil burn, 100hr inspections, annuals, hanger fee's, insurance, and general maintenance funds. Anyone have anything like this they could lend a young buck?

 

Also what requirements are there as far as helicopters for commercial use. I see some for sale that look like nice little machines that I had never heard of before so I'm guessing they are homebuilt kits you order from factories. If no passangers are carried can you use any helo you want?

 

 

Well that's it for now. The rest I'll do my damn best to learn on my own. I've been reading when I can but this month I managed for fly 202.3hrs doing "radio relay" for some heli companies and have not had much time off to investigate. I think we just lost the contracts though so i'm out of a job for now I guess. Now i can take that CFII checkride i meant to take early december. Anyway gentlemen/ladies I'd like to thank you all for your help in answering these questions. I value any contributions you have very much.

 

Thank you,

Duck

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Toilet Duck,

 

My best advice would be to slow down.

 

Concentrate on your fixed wing stuff now! Do that the very best you can. If you strive to be the best instructor you can, then your own research and learning will lead you to the answers to your questions regarding regulations, required equipment, licencing requirements. If you are going to be a good fixed-wing CFI (or helicopter CFI) then you should be able to answer your own questions through your CFI-level knowledge of the FAR. (Go ahead, put your own instructor on the spot and ask him / her all your FAR questions. He should be able to answer them!) There's not that much difference between fixed and rotor.

 

Then, go and take a demo flight with a helicopter school. Decide whether you actaully like to fly helicopters...rather than it just being 'something' cool to do, or that you think there might be a market for another helicopter pilot in your area.

 

Then, after your demo flight get your private licence (or commercial add-on). By that time you will be able to make your own mind up, whether helicopters is for you. You will have had the opportunity to talk to instructors about the different types of helicopters, costs, insurance etc...etc.. You then be able to ask the right questions to get the information you want.

 

You didn't say what line of helicopter operation you are thinking of. If it's sling-loading, then of course an R22 is not going to work. If you're looking to do photo flights, then I wouldn't get a Super Puma!

 

You need to go into helicopters for the right reasons. You're 23 (and 3/4s), so have plenty of time. Get your fixed wing stuff out the way. Consolidate your experience, and then move on.

 

That'd be my best advice. Maybe someone else can address your questions more specifically.

 

Joker

 

P.S. What is this 'radio relay' stuff? It sounds interesting. What sort of airplane?

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Toilet Duck,

 

My best advice would be to slow down.

 

Concentrate on your fixed wing stuff now! Do that the very best you can. If you strive to be the best instructor you can, then your own research and learning will lead you to the answers to your questions regarding regulations, required equipment, licencing requirements. If you are going to be a good fixed-wing CFI (or helicopter CFI) then you should be able to answer your own questions through your CFI-level knowledge of the FAR. (Go ahead, put your own instructor on the spot and ask him / her all your FAR questions. He should be able to answer them!) There's not that much difference between fixed and rotor.

 

Then, go and take a demo flight with a helicopter school. Decide whether you actaully like to fly helicopters...rather than it just being 'something' cool to do, or that you think there might be a market for another helicopter pilot in your area.

 

Then, after your demo flight get your private licence (or commercial add-on). By that time you will be able to make your own mind up, whether helicopters is for you. You will have had the opportunity to talk to instructors about the different types of helicopters, costs, insurance etc...etc.. You then be able to ask the right questions to get the information you want.

 

You didn't say what line of helicopter operation you are thinking of. If it's sling-loading, then of course an R22 is not going to work. If you're looking to do photo flights, then I wouldn't get a Super Puma!

 

You need to go into helicopters for the right reasons. You're 23 (and 3/4s), so have plenty of time. Get your fixed wing stuff out the way. Consolidate your experience, and then move on.

 

That'd be my best advice. Maybe someone else can address your questions more specifically.

 

Joker

 

P.S. What is this 'radio relay' stuff? It sounds interesting. What sort of airplane?

 

 

Well for starters Radio Relay is me flying at about 12-14k feet and I take flight plans for the helicopters that are out at sea. Because of the hurricanes that came through they lost their communication systems. Because of line of sight their radios can't reach their base when they are 150miles away at 500ft. So they send me their flight plans: Where they are coming from, where they are going to, ETE, souls on board, and fuel. I then keep track and relay that flight plan to their main base. The aircraft are nothing special for this, cessna's and warriors.

 

As far as getting my fixed wing stuff out of the way it's pretty much taken care of. Only thing to do there is just build my time. As you know heli's aren't exactly free when it comes to the training so I need to have a gameplan established before I jump in. I need to know what to expect ect. My uncle runs about 800k acre's in Mexico for hunting(doesn't own them though lol). They hire this older man to survey their ranches. I know what he charges them an hour to do it and they told me if I got my chopper license and a chopper they would give me all their business. They have many friends in the area that run the other ranches so hopefully things would catch on. I'm just asking these questions because I need to sit down and do a cost estimate of what it would run me to own a heli for a year then how much it would cost me per hour to operate, so that I could then figure how much I need to charge customers. If everything looks good and after taking a few trips to the area I find that it's still worth doing I plan on jumping in with both feet.

 

As far as the fixed wing thing goes I'm not really working towards anything after my CFII. I don't know what a heli instructor makes per hour but a CFI for airplanes isn't really a career maker. So any additional information would be welcomed!

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welcom and just let me say that if i were you i would become a cfi and fly someone elses aircraft for the time being. i am 22 and had a recent opportunity to be partners with an individual and let me tell you, there is very little profit for individuals doing partnerships with helicopters. there are things that i had to put into the business plan that i never imagined, of course you think of insurance, maintenence, office and hangar space etc but then you get deeper into where the money goes and needing money set aside for the unscheduled stuff, your fixed and fluxuating costs how much will YOU be making and the other indivudual if need be. now if you were to be able to do this yourself its a different story but it will be very hard to be young have little hours and try to get the capitol to do this. i dont mean to be a bringer downer but just to let you know what is involved. just say that in my quest for business ownership it came down to after everything was said and done i would be making about 20 dollars an hour and that aircraft needed to be flying AT LEAST 75 hrs a month.. if i can help in any other way please pm me. like i said not to be negative but it is alot harder than people think.

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welcom and just let me say that if i were you i would become a cfi and fly someone elses aircraft for the time being. i am 22 and had a recent opportunity to be partners with an individual and let me tell you, there is very little profit for individuals doing partnerships with helicopters. there are things that i had to put into the business plan that i never imagined, of course you think of insurance, maintenence, office and hangar space etc but then you get deeper into where the money goes and needing money set aside for the unscheduled stuff, your fixed and fluxuating costs how much will YOU be making and the other indivudual if need be. now if you were to be able to do this yourself its a different story but it will be very hard to be young have little hours and try to get the capitol to do this. i dont mean to be a bringer downer but just to let you know what is involved. just say that in my quest for business ownership it came down to after everything was said and done i would be making about 20 dollars an hour and that aircraft needed to be flying AT LEAST 75 hrs a month.. if i can help in any other way please pm me. like i said not to be negative but it is alot harder than people think.

 

I thank you for the reply. I understand that it is harder than what people think. That is why i'm researching it so much. I'm trying to find total cost I should expect to endure a year to operate this aircraft. I've found a couple excel spreadsheets that allow you to figure it up. I'm just hunting down all the numbers ect to plug them in. This aircrafts primary purpose would not be flight training. It would be for game surveying on ranches along with photography and possible dusting crops during off time. Most of it's flight time would be during the months of july-novermber. They also use them for hunting/game management(tranquilizing deer and predators ect.). And yes they pay quite a bit so that the price of the heli is offset for the rest of the year. Anything on top of that would be additional funds to pay expenses.

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pm me and ill give you my pricing for a 22 and 44 along with the insurance but from what it sounds like ( tranquing and hunting ) your going to need a 206 because of the room it has.. this will significantly increase your costs. almost if not double from a 44 to a 206.

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.......and any "reasonable" B206 insurance is going to require at least 250 hrs of turbine time. With 0 turbine time, combined with low total helicopter time, 206 insurance is going to be crazy expense--especially if you're insuring it for any aerial application or mustering operations. I'm guessing a minimum of $40-50K a year with all of those variables (if it was even offered to you.)

 

On R22/R44s, insurance through Pathfinder (Robinson's insurance company) will be 30-40% cheaper than other companies on a hull & liability coverage plan. It's been a few years since I've been quoted, but on a $70,000 R22 for a low time student of mine, it was about $5,000/yr for hull and liability. With another company it was going to cost him $6,000 just for liability. Now that was for private use only. The R44 I flew on 135 charter, was worth around $200,000 and was around $17,000/yr. This was all several years ago so I'm sure all of those number have gone up 10% a year.

 

The old adage, "How do you make a small fortune in aviation, start out with a BIG one."

 

I would really suggest working at a flight school for a few years before you go out and buy or start one. One: you'll probably talk yourself out of buying/starting one really quick, and Two: you can learn from other mistakes.

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No not a B206. They use S-300's with camera's mounted for the surveying and to tranq a deer the guy just hops in the other side. I forgot the name of those old bell vietnam helicopters but they went out to a rice farm here and killed 68 hogs out of one the other day using a sawed off 12 guage pump.

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It's probably a Bell 47--which is more of a Korean War era helicopter (TV show MASH?)

 

If not, maybe a Hughes 369 / OH-6 Loach, now known as a MD-500. 4 seats, 4-5 bladed, high skids, short tail?

 

I definately wouldn't want to fly a Bell 47 doing mustering ops. Not maneuverable enough, not enough power, and too easy to get into loss of tail rotor effectiveness. The maintenance would eat you alive. But besides that, what an awesome helicopter to fly....I'd love to be able to rent one again.

 

The 500 is an extremely maneuverable helicopter with lots of power. I've never flown one, but they use them a lot for police ops, DEA stuff, lifting, etc. Just like the 206, unless you wanna pay lot of $$$$, you will not get insurance on one.

 

If you're going to be doing a lot of low level, "seat of the pants" flying, I would go with a Robinson R22 or R44. Both, like the 500, are extremely maneuverable and have very powerful tail rotors. R22s are widely used for the ops you described in Texas, the SW US, and Australia.

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commercially your lookint at 150 hrs to be eligible for a commercial ticket. the only restriction for robinsons is you need 200 hrs to instruct in them. remember that helicopters arent cheap and you need the right aircraft for what you will be doing. you wouldnt want a honda civic to haul lumber or a ford f350 to deliver pizza right? so if the 22 is what you need than focus on that. if a 300 is what you need than focus on that one etc etc..

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commercially your lookint at 150 hrs to be eligible for a commercial ticket. the only restriction for robinsons is you need 200 hrs to instruct in them. remember that helicopters arent cheap and you need the right aircraft for what you will be doing. you wouldnt want a honda civic to haul lumber or a ford f350 to deliver pizza right? so if the 22 is what you need than focus on that. if a 300 is what you need than focus on that one etc etc..

 

 

I'm still reading the FAR's but I believe the 150hrs is TT and I have about 520 at the moment. You only need 50hrs in a heli to be commercial I believe. So the 150hrs in a R22 is just for instruction purposes only? I"m gonna have to read more.

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It's 150 TT, 100 PIC, all with at least 35 hrs PIC in a helicopter (so without a private rating in the helicopter, that would all have to be solo.) There's also several dual, x/c dual, x/c solo, and night req's. It all adds up to about 53 hrs TT helicopter time. Plan on about 100 hrs of total helicopter time to get your commercial.

 

I'd really recommend getting your Private rating first. Like I said, you could only log PIC by yourself, so you won't be able to log all the x/c and checkride prep hrs. And, PIC time is what you need! It doesn't matter if you get your CFI and commercial in the minimums because no one is going to insure you. While your working toward those minimums, get your instrument and CFII add-on's (15 hrs for you.)

 

Robinson R22 rules: 20 hrs of R22 time to solo, 200 minimum total helicopter time with at least 50 in the R22 to instruct. With Pathfinder insurance you'll need at least 75 hours to take a passenger, 300 hrs to instruct, and the factory safety course to go along with both of those req's.

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Sounds like you want to do everything, with a bare minimum of 50 hours helos. You will be seriously dangerous.

 

Low level work, particularly mustering and spraying, is a specialised job, requiring lots of extra training and practice. Too many newbies are still out there, under the wreckage of a chopper, because they reckoned they knew more than the old heads.

 

The rules specify a minimum number of hours, but that is for the Ace From Space. Regular humans take a bit longer.

 

Five hundred fixed-wing hours is a reasonable start in aviation, but you will need a thousand chopper hours before you can call yourself a pilot. As the old adage says, an airplane will fly, but a helicopter must be flown.

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I'm not wanting to do everything under the world at 50hrs but once I have my commercial I would be starting my own business with it in addition to flying airplanes still. How ever many hours it takes is based on my abilities. In order to receive the ratings I will be required to fly that thing to PTS standards. Once there you're there. I'm not really that ashamed to say that I flew better at 300hrs than I do now at 500+. Reason being because every hour was pure training in maneuvers. Flying a 6hr x-c strait with nothing to do but twiddle thumbs only lets you lose your edge. I'm not a firm believer in the whole "a lot of hours makes you better" bit. I think they give you more confidence and better at working in instrument and ATC conditions. But I doubt right now I could hop in the mooney and do a lazy 8 or chandelle to the perfection I could before my CFI checkride.

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I'm not really that ashamed to say that I flew better at 300hrs than I do now at 500+. Reason being because every hour was pure training in maneuvers. Flying a 6hr x-c strait with nothing to do but twiddle thumbs only lets you lose your edge. I'm not a firm believer in the whole "a lot of hours makes you better" bit. I think they give you more confidence and better at working in instrument and ATC conditions. But I doubt right now I could hop in the mooney and do a lazy 8 or chandelle to the perfection I could before my CFI checkride.

 

Yes, I can see how you'd see it from that point of view...

 

Of course, you have 500 hours and it doesn't seem like you've actually used that CFI rating of yours to take someone from zero hour to private rating. I have 2,000 hours between airplanes and helicopters, and I will be the first to admit I need to learn more. You don't even know how little it is that you know.

 

In any case, no insurance company is going to cover you doing most of the things you describe with 50 hours of helo time, regardless of how good at flying a 180 auto you might be. Good luck with even a few hundred hours of helo time.

 

A prior poster was correct, you can call yourself a pilot when you've got a thousand hours of helo time, not before. You also really should get that time by instructing, it'll make you a MUCH better pilot.

 

Best of luck to you in any case...

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Yes, I can see how you'd see it from that point of view...

 

Of course, you have 500 hours and it doesn't seem like you've actually used that CFI rating of yours to take someone from zero hour to private rating. I have 2,000 hours between airplanes and helicopters, and I will be the first to admit I need to learn more. You don't even know how little it is that you know.

 

In any case, no insurance company is going to cover you doing most of the things you describe with 50 hours of helo time, regardless of how good at flying a 180 auto you might be. Good luck with even a few hundred hours of helo time.

 

A prior poster was correct, you can call yourself a pilot when you've got a thousand hours of helo time, not before. You also really should get that time by instructing, it'll make you a MUCH better pilot.

 

Best of luck to you in any case...

 

Oh I plan on instructing and all as well. Found a guy that is supposed to be great to work with in Houston.

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