PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - "Why Robinson helicopters seem to have a bad habit of crashing"
Old 11th Mar 2019, 16:45
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 529
Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
Freshly rebuilt aircraft, or those with fewer hours remaining, are far less than that and quite affordable, relatively speaking.
As an R44 owner I can tell you this really isn't entirely correct. True, you can buy a used ship that is halfway through the Big Overhaul cycle for half the money. Indeed, I found a very good deal on a Clipper II with A/C like that. But unless it is your intent to basically throw it away as a run-out on controller.com when it times or calendars out you will, eventually, put $400K into it, just not all up front, which is definitely an improvement on your cash flow situation.

Fractional ownership is also fairly common.
I have not found this to be true either, at least not in my neck of the woods. The R44 owner demographic around here is driven by the R44 pilot demographic, which divides itself into two distinct groups. The first group is comprised of young pilots who want to fly helicopters and are willing to live in some shithole or their parent's basement, work three jobs, and put every cent towards the dream. These folks fly the ships owned by the schools. The schools can keep them moving 500+ hours a year, which is good enough to pay for MX and the loan, plus a small profit. The second group tends to be wealthy folks who can afford the training without breaking a financial sweat. Folks who can do that also tend to be wealthy enough to simply buy a new machine, not share it with anyone, and fly it 80 hours a year. I tried for two years to find a partner or two and found that the guys who were renting and not buying were forever going to be "dabblers". The "dabblers" are a distinct group, but a very TINY group. Those who were buying were buying brand new ships as sole owners. The jump from one level to the other is significant. I'm not saying partnerships don't happen, but they are more rare than I would have liked. In fact I know of a three-owner partnership in a beautiful EC120B. But that is exceedingly rare.

You can pick up an older Jetbanger for a bit of a premium relative to a fresh out of rebuild 44, but the gap isn't huge.
Absolutely agree, from a capital cost perspective. But the leap in operating cost is a factor of 2, mostly insurance driven. This becomes a huge turn-off for the wealthy, "gentleman owner", since they are only flying a few hours a year. They don't want to pay $20K a year or worse for something that gathers dust most of the time. And a lot of venues they want to fly to (casinos, racetracks, etc.) often require $2M or even $3M in liability coverage for turbine helicopters.

In any case, no one is disputing that a Robinson can't be flown or operated safely but like any safety discussion the whole landscape must be considered. They are a victim of their own success, becoming popular with people and operations that will be more prone to accidents.
Absolutely agree. Hell, I'm a case in point, totally cost driven. It's fly the 44 or don't fly. And, as an owner, I need a ship I can put to work at least part time. The 44 is the only easy way to do that.

The robbie faithful don't seem to share the philosophy that the aircraft is what it is, they seem to hold it in very high regard, blaming problems on those that fly them and never at what the factory could have done better.
In some respects discussing the merits of a Robinson with a robbie driver is like discussing US politics with a Republican from the deep south - amusing but futile
Ah, but you must look in the mirror when you say that! Right back at you, others, and big-city, northeastern shiny-eyed social justice warriors And don't forget that I agreed with your last point above, so not everyone is living in a "Robinson dream world". More seriously, we should all hold the design in high regard. No, really. Forget private owners. The economics of Robinson helicopters have made it possible for nearly anyone with the skills and the desire to become a professional helicopter pilot (I suppose some ex-MIL types might not like that!) And the economics of Robinson helicopters have allowed many people to experience the joys of rotary wing flight who otherwise could not afford it. And they are not at all "flimsy" machines. Just spend a week instructing hover autos at a school, or a weekend at a fairground flying a dozen loads an hour for eight hours straight each day. These things are reasonably rugged workhorses and survive such conditions with aplomb. But, no, I would not fly one when it is gusting 40KN out. From that perspective they are "flimsy", if you must use that word. However, everything is relative. You don't see the USCG headed out into a gale with a Jetranger or a Squirrel. Does that make them "flimsy". Of course not!

Originally Posted by SASless View Post
If all one has flown is a Robbie of some sort....how does one begin to understand the difference between a Robbie and a Helicopter?
That's a little disingenuous, isn't it? Anything in approx. the same performance class is going to be nearly identical in all ways. Form follows function. For example, R22 vs. G2. Is the G2 a "real helicopter"? I did not find them to be all that different. Compared to the 22 I found the G2 be plusher, less sporty handling-wise, a little under-powered, and much easier to auto. Oh, and half again more expensive to rent. There is nothing comparable in the niche the 44 lives in. You can compare the 66, 505 and 206 more easily. Sadly I have no turbine time to speak of so can't legitimately make that comparison.

"Hi, my name is aa777888 and I have a Robinson helicopter problem. That is to say, I have a wallet problem that forces me to fly a Robinson helicopter if I want to fly." So, helicopter twelve-steppers, what's the next step? Quit flying?
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