I would be interested to know peoples' opinions relating to civilian gazelle operations/operating costs. It seems after reading some of the previous published flight tests, the operating / purchase costs are not much higher than the Jetranger. So, why are there so few? Is it due purely to availability or does it involve certification problems to Public cat? Any opinions or ideas would be much appreciated.
A friend who operates a Gazelle confirms that the operating costs are little more than a JetRanger. However, if you are thinking of buying, do some research before buying an ex-military Gazelle. The cost of converting an ex-military machine to Public Transport spec is apparently quite considerable and ultimately means that the ex-military price is not such a bargain as it first appears. (Not so expensive if a Permit to Fly is sufficient for your purposes.) This is all second-hand so no guarantee as to accuracy. There's a firm at Stapleford airfield which specialises in maintaining the Gazelle. They have a very good reputation, might be worth speaking to them. (Sorry, don't know the name but shouldn't be too difficult for you to find out - Stapleford's not very big.)
The Gazelle is more sensitive on the controls than the JetRanger (Gazelle has a fully articulated head) but it's more fun to throw around. It's also significantly faster in the cruise. The JetRanger is an excellent limo - the Gazelle is more of a "Porsche". Unlike the Hughes 500,which is also "sporty", the Gazelle gives all passengers (front and back) excellent visibility. The Gazelle comes in standard and "stretched" versions. Only a few inches more but significantly improves comfort in the back. (I think all/most ex-military machines are standard not stretched.) It also comes in two engine versions. The more powerful version is not much faster, is less economical (which reduces range) and, in my opinion, is not worth the extra costs involved. The smaller version carries 5 and bags with no problem. Different considerations might apply if you intend to make regular trips with a full load to high altitude ski resorts!
The operation at Stapleford is run by a chap called Martin Wood and they do wonders with the machines, just read the articals in the flyer magazine. They have an ex AAC instructor. Al Gwilt doing the conversions and looking after the airtesting. Give them a ring they might help.(01708-688115) PS. stay clear of the ex military machines they will not get even a permit to fly!
Hi Larry, I have a relatively low 1500hrs in the 341 and I think it's a great little helicopter. There are plenty of military pilots with more time than me who will be able to offer you the advice you are after.
There was a thread on here not so long ago with reference to fenestron stall which is well worth reading - the long and the short of it is that it does not exist.. Buy one and enjoy it!
<I think that most commercial operators in North America dumped them once an engine overhaul was required.>
I don`t think any USA commercial operators fly the Gazelle any longer. The last one i knew of was operated by CH-2 news in Los Angeles till 1992.It flew everyday so must of been reliable.
Im looking for a Gazelle for personal use only.
<The cost of a major repair or overhaul, would fund the purchase of a replacement helicopter.>
About $200,000 for a overhauled Turbomeca engine is what they told me. The two cleanest Gazelles in the USA are worth about $400,000 with mid-time parts.Both are unavalible at this time. Ive heard the overhaul and parts prices have jumped in the last 5 years.
<For this reason, there were a number of "cheap" Gazelle's for sale in North America, requiring motors>.
There are very few Gazelles in any condition avalible in the USA.And yes the "cheaper" ones are very rough and potential money pits.
Im under the impression the Gazelle is no more to operate than a AS-350B. Its not like the military Gazelles will retire for another 15-20 years so Eurocpter will continue to support them.
And Eurocopter USA told me they can get any part within a week or two (they will come from france). Prices didnt seem outrageous compared to a AS-350.(and its not cheap !!) Main blade avalibility are no problem and the fenstron is unlimited life so it shouldnt be a big problem.
Question: If Eurocopter is making parts for the Military Gazelles , can these be bought for Civil versions or do those parts need to be cetified on their own ?
From my info there were 170 Civil SA-341Gs built....a low number compared to the AS-350B but including the Military versions over 1300 Gazelles were produced. The last was delivered during the late 1980s.
Hi Larry I have just left the british army after flying them for 8 years without a problem. I believe the MOD are selling some off at the momment. If you need someone one with an FAA commercial to fly them mail me.
I have no very little exp. on the gazelle( 500hrs) but it seems to me that the general crew room banter is that it is extremely reliable; and I have heard quotes of: "its never had an eng. failure in 20 years" The British Mil be be flogging off a load soon I'm sure. Good luck
Phillips, the auctioneers, are selling off 10 Gazelles, 2 wessex and an assortment of 24 Buldogs plus allsorts of nice bits such as engines and spare, this is happening on the 24th May 2001.All the flying things are on show at RAF Shawbury, Just thought some of you chaps with deep pockets may like to know that!, I would be happy to go halfs at a Gazelle! ** 28th April, I now have the official list of A/c and Helio's that are available, if any one wishes to know any more, E mail me, and I'll try to help!, By the way Thank you all for you reply's , esp the picture site.
**After permission from She who shall be obeyed !EK:
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What is SAS( no, not the big hairy type) Stick Augmentation System, app the RAF Gaz have it the Army ones don't, Why, anybody?
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RE: Converting Gazelle (Mil) to CAA Public Transport-Passenger. Excuse the vagueness of this but I believe there is an operation in the UK which buys up Gazelles and refits and certifies them for public transport. Also then supplying the buyer with service history and POH/Flight Manuals. I was told this by an ex-mil pilot flying said type Gazelle out of Battersea last year and I think from memory the operator was located northeast of London. Try contacting Battersea to see who operates the Gazelle (Maroon colour-sorry no reg') Or contact Gatwick for registration and refits of Gazelles. I was also led to believe that the operation will purchase on behalf of a client-so if interested you should track this guy down...hope that helps
I believe that due to mil using engines of a different mark to the civy ones you will NOT get your Gaz on a C of A unless you obtain a civil certified Astazou (3N?). Mil engines are not certificated, and there are either no civvy Astazous left, or if available cost more than the machine is worth (£100K or so!!!)
Last I heard ex Mil Gazelles are destined for Permit to Fly only. Hope I'm wrong!
Anyway, the Gaz is a lousy commercial or charter machine, noisy, cramped & crude inside and desperately expensive to run, DOC said to be same as Twin Squirrel - 'nuff said?