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Thread: Whats up with helicopters?

  1. #1

    Default Whats up with helicopters?

    Hey guys, I was just wondering, and this maybe a dumb question but with all of the private pilots up here, why isn't there more helicopters? Do they just not work as well for this kind of country? Maybe don't have the range that a prop plane does?
    Just curious and don't know a whole hell of a lot about flying.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I think flight time vs maintenance time is a big factor. I have heard that rotor wings are a bit more maintenance intensive per flight hour. Also, you can't use a helo for ANY aspect of hunting... You can go fishing with them, but no hunting or even transporting gear/meat.
    AKmud
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  3. #3
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Mud is right. The operating cost of a helo is much higher than a fixed wing aircraft. Also the limitations placed on them regarding hunting substantially limits their appeal.

    Just my nickel
    Drew
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    Most all of the Helicopter flying done in Alaska its either Tours or Government Contracts with Forrest Service and mineral and wild life surveys. To give you an example, Take the Bell 206 B III helicopter, It has a Gross Weight of 3200 lbs and an empty weight of it varies some but 2100lbs is a good number, that leaves you with about 1100 lbs to play with give or take a few lbs. Most 206's will have a range extender mod, so you top out with 96 gallons of Jet A. Jet A runs 6.8 lbs per gallon, that would be 652.8 lbs so with a full tank, you now have 447.2 lbs for Pilot and pax and what ever else you want to carry. Fuel burn most plan for 26 gallons an hour, more if you are working the machine doing long line etc. That gives you about 3.5 hours endurance, and at true Air Speed of 110 Kts if you are light to around 95 kts if heavy, means that how far you can fly its limited to were you can get jet a or store some barrels near were you are going to be. Bottom line Short legs, now for operating costs The DOC or Direct Operating Costs on a 206 B 3 Jet Ranger would be about 800 dollars a hour in the lower 48 you could add another 200 and be close to what you would need in Alaska. Now for the final thing, Bell dose not make the 206 B3 anymore production of that one ended a couple of years ago. A good clean Mid time machine will set you back almost 1 million dollars. They are real money pits, I know I owned four at one time. Unless you have work for them, its a very expensive way to fly, but if you have to fly on the Vertical, then its the only game in town. The R-22's and 44's that Robinson make are popular because they are cheap as helicopters to buy and operate. The legs will be about the same, but you will end up being able to carry a lot less. Now you take an Airplane that would allow you to carry the same amount as the 206, The Piper PA-32-300 comes to mind, that is the Cherokee Six. Full fuel and you have about 900 lbs to play with and you can fly a lot farther with a lot less cost, around 250 per hour and you can buy one in pretty good shape for around 100K . The hunting thing aside, Alaska has some rules on that and also you can hunt for 24 hours after a flight anyway. How many go by that to begin with well I would not know. The thing is with helicopters most all of the parts that move have a time limit on them. on the 206, the Main Rotor Blades have a 5000 hour limit and then they have to be replaces. A pair of new ones will set you back, the last pair I bought was over 50K. Now I would guess its a bit more. This is one of the things, you can find machines that have a good price on them, I know were there is a 206 right now and they are asking 399K for it. My guess that a whole bunch of things are going to come due and soon, Like Main Rotors, Gear Boxes Transmissions etc. Then again it could be a pretty good buy. Don't know, till you do an inspection. Hope this answers your question a little better. I fly both airplanes and helicopters and you think airplanes are a money pit, just wait till you go rotorwing.

  5. #5
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    From the moment a helicopter comes off the line, it's entire being is trying to kill you. Piloting a helicopter is a constant battle against the machine to stay alive. Helicopter pilots are a special breed.
    Winter is Coming...

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    I know 4 different private guys who own and fly R-44s. Each is a meticulous pilot and has the discipline and resources to be successful in private helicopters. What does that mean? Helicopters are expensive to house, maintain, insure, and operate. They also require pilot skill, training, and proficiency beyond what most fixed wing guys are willing or able to commit to. The utility is fantastic for some missions and isn't applicable for others. To each their own.

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    I don't know about that JOAT, I been flying Helicopters since 1982 and airplanes since 1974. In many ways I would rather fly a Bell 206, Its just a good machine with few or any real bad habits. I never thought it took any more or less skill to fly than an airplane. Both require skill to fly in a safe manner. Where you get into trouble with a helicopter is when things break, they do break. Not often but the they do. Now Mr. Pid mentioned the R-44 that is a whole different animal all together. Robinsons are a funny machine. They break a lot of them. I flown some a bit. compared to a Bell 47 or the 206 the R-22 and 44's are a bit of a handful to fly, there is an SFAR-73 that address the problems. Its the only helicopter that has such a rule. I don't like them much I understand why they are popular in the market place. I just don't like the lay out in the cockpit. For example putting the Carb Heat next to fuel mixture control and the only difference is one is red the other black. and the fix a plastic washer over the read one. Bad place for the Carb heat you have to look down on the floor for it. I will not get into the carb Icing problem. An R-44 is a fun machine to fly no doubt about it, its just a lot of money for what you really get.

  8. #8
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Helicopter pilots are a special breed.
    Joat,
    Is that Good special, Bad special or Short Buss special?

    <------- Drives a 212 for a living.
    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

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