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Those of you operating service facilities and/or commercial flight operations, what do you see as the most profitable component in those businesses?


What part of establishing your operation was the most costly and most difficult?


I want to understand what the best options are, based on the opinions of my peers here, to build an income generating operation around my ship and the rotorcraft business in general.


I've recently completed my private, and moving up towards 100 hours total time and will move on to commercial and ifr ratings in my own ship in a few months, for my own uses. I am an established business person and understand that hiring other people to work in this proposed operation are requirements, not training myself to be all things to all people.

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Don't think of the question as limited to any specific ship. It's broad. I am in a rural area where photo flights and aerial survey work is a possible service, tours and such are less likely but something that could possibly be in there also.


While I have an R44 now, I am not opposed to other ships being added to meet a specific set of goals in the long run.


There are a great deal of operators on this forum, I'm just seeking to see what you guys do that works out the best for you profitability wise. Obviously certain areas can turn great money on things I may not be able to, like tours, I do understand that :).

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Let me say it again, RIDES!!!!!


The ride circuit is by far the most profitable! With the enstrom or R44, you can generate $900 + per hour doing rides....That's only if you:

1. Know how to do rides, (easier said than done!)

2. Can stand being on the road towing your birds and crew around,

3. Have tons of money in your bank account, (weather days, brakedowns - both birds and trucks)

4. Deal with the FAA every day,

5. Have great computer skills to find the events and air shows,

6. Great personal skills to get permission to do rides at air shows (Air bosses don't like helicopter operators if they haven't dealt with you before).

7. Have tons of money in your bank account...yep said it already, but you will need it. You'll spend a fortune driving from event to event, hotels, meals, insurance requirements, etc.


If you're lucky enough to be in a location where you can do rides nearly every day without travel, you've got it made!


Rides are a ton of fun to do though! Most of your guests have never even been near a helicopter, let alone been in one. The expression on their face when you pull collective if life changing. The hi-fives with your ground crew when you land is beyond words!



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Do you use the aircraft in a existing business? Are you just looking for a method to make the helicopter a profit center? What other aviation experience do you have?


If you have the financial ability to start a new aviation business, perhaps it would be wise to look for an established business that has already met the 135 requirements, appears to have a lot of potential, but needs additional financial backing.


Considering the amount of dollars, cash or credit to get started with one R44 and one B206, you might want to consider investing the money in Berkshire-Hathaway and get what ever kind of flying job is available to satisfy the "love of flying" pangs and gain experience in the industry.

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