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Hughes/MD 500

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Hughes/MD 500

Old 15th Jan 2003, 13:20
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Hughes/MD 500

If you could afford your own helicopter what would you buy? What is the average cost of ownership, leaseback to operators, maintenance, etc ( turbines ) or would you just rent, on the old addage that if it flies, ***** or floats, rent it! ( I got married anyway ) What about depreciation, or do certain helicopters just stay at a certain price? How easy to resell?
What would you do? Anyone with real experience of private ownership?
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Old 15th Jan 2003, 17:42
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Helicopter ownership is an expensive proposition. This is not like owning a Piper Warrior where the purchase price is the main cost.

The helicopter purchase price is just one expense, if being financed you may have to put down 20% of the purchase price versus 5-10% for an airplane. You will need to hangar it as most helicopters are delicate machines and should not be exposed to the elements.

Insurance is a major cost, you also need hull insurance if the helicopter is financed. A B206 worth about 350,000 USD with liability and hull insurance would be in a range of 25,000 to 35,000 a year if itís used for air taxi, total private flying may be a little less expensive. An operatorís base going rate for a B206 would be $600-700/hour. Some owners who lease back their helicopters get about $500/hour. With a DOC (direct operating cost) of $300/hour this leaves about $200/hour to pay the fixed costs

Your ongoing fixed expenses would include:

Monthly payment
hangar fee
Annual inspection and routine maintenance
The total fixed expenses could easily run $5,000-6,000 per month.

Most leasebacks are set up as a business, so if you incur a loss for the year you can offset it against your income taxes.

Purchasing an R44 can reduce most of the above numbers. Some insurance programs are set up that are tailored for R22ís & R44ís and are ďreasonable.Ē I believe the R44ís DOC is about $150 hour.

Helicopters are easy to buy and hard to sell, unless you lower the price enough. I have seen helicopters listed for sale be on the market for 12-18 months.

Used helicopters do not really depreciate, their value is basically determined by the amount of life left in their life-limited components. The rule of thumb is 70% of a helicopterís value is within those components.

Good Luck and let us know your thoughts.

P.S. All numbers above are in U.S. dollars. Rental rates must be higher in the U.K.
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Old 8th Jun 2004, 12:54
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On behalf of an associate,

does anyone manufacture a fire fighting belly tank for a hughes 500 or its derivative ( 530 etc ). No listing on the simplex web site although a photo is shown for a spray rig also not listed.

I thought NSCA in their heyday had some but can't find any details

the cat
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 09:44
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I've yet to see a 500 with a fire fighting belly tank so I cannot help you there. Personally, I reckon that if you are under 1100 litres, it is of little benefit, and only begins to be really beneficial over the 2500 litre mark. IE everything less than a medium Bell (205/212/412) like B206, B407, AS350 (including B series but at a BIG stretch maybe not the B3), BK 117, A109, and H500 series, should avoid belly tanks as a waste of fuel burned for water dropped. Medium Bell range can show good use of belly tanks, but the larger machines are where they really shine (B214 and up to that great bit of kit on the erikson S64).

The bigger the machine, the harder it is to handle the bucket manually, the less of a factor the extra weight of the tank is in percentage terms, the more damage a dropped bucket would be in an urban environment, and the more likely the aircraft will be used in the critical urban fringe requiring overflight of built up areas.

So why would you put one on a H500? Or rather, what agency would actually request one?
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 10:06
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South African Police have a Simplex tank that they use for spraying and was told that they also use it for fire fighting.

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Old 9th Jun 2004, 15:10
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ned is correct, SAP do have a simplex spray system on their MD500E'S, was there last week with them training. personally have installed a number of tanks for simplex. they do not have a fire system for the 500 series. also agree with helmet fire the smallest machine that can effectively do tank work would be the AS-350B3, simplex has available a very good ( bugs worked out) system for that airframe. have many good jpegs of the systems, email me if you would like me to send a few
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Old 2nd Aug 2004, 12:31
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Hughes/MD500 questions

Im pretty excited, this weekend Im finally going to get a flight in a 500, probably the helo that got me into flying helos. As well as being my first flight in a 500, it will also be my first in a turbine.
Its a 500C, (369HS Kawasaki), with a C-18.
Ive been making my way through the POH, however some tips on flying the beast would be much appreciated.
So how about it 500 drivers, any advice for my first foray out of the 22.
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Old 2nd Aug 2004, 13:13
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Wellll ... if its a 500C then its got a C20 or C20B engine ... they go like "stink" and the "C" can be driven to the edge of retreating blade stall in level flight ...great little sports car ... enjoy it

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Old 2nd Aug 2004, 15:26
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We had a 500 earlier this year with the c-18 engine , thing only burnt about seventeen gallons an hour and would sit at the 130kt vne all day

good heli , very stable , easy to fly but keep an eye on the auto's, once you hit the ground dont be tempted to pull back the stick as you will chop your tail off!

also watch out for landing on long grass especially on low skids or it will BBQ time,

fun heli

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Old 2nd Aug 2004, 17:26
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Lead with your thumb....trim the stick for big movements...move it for small small movements....and if you run out of top cyclic when making a tight turn near the ground....stomp that uphill pedal....while reducing your collective pull a bit.....might save your bacon!
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 01:11
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500c ops


are you doing a conversion or just going for a jolly. Didn't know of anyone doing training on 500's as there are not many around for low hours pilots etc.

Is it really a C18 powered machine ??

Aaah the old VH-BAD Mk 2.

Great machine for low level recce and far better than a deathranger when it has the aux tank.

The eye
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 02:45
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Arrrr what a giveaway .......

VH- BAG wasn't a bad (excuse the pun!) ship either .... nor was VH- PMY ........

(Does that date me or WHAT!)
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 03:09
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Interested in why the 500 would be your first choice of a turbine endorsement, unless of course you have a specific need.

Enjoy the shake rattle and roll of the 500, let all the pilots tell you what great fun it is to fly and let all the engineers tell you what a dog of a thing to work on. After all that hop into the old 206 and realise why they are more versatile and less fatiguing.

As far as advice, make sure you spend a good deal of time inspecting the rotor head and are familiar with the damage limitations on the strap pack.
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 07:05
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Would this specific one have a blue eagle painted on the side?
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 08:03
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Firstly thanx for the relplies.

Im sure that its a C, its 4 bladed main, 2 bladed tail, and its a C-18. Dont know if it makes any difference but its a Kawasaki manufactured machine.

Shes low skid so Ill definately keep that in mind.

I get what your saying, but does that include transitionin, lead with the thumb?

A little of both. Im probably a little low time to do the endorsment now, but would definately be my choice to do it in. I know that flying the 500 will ruin me, and it will be all I want to fly. It will sure be tough squeezing back into the 22.

that chinese fella
Like I said in my original post, the 500 is probably the helo that really got me interested in helos. The shape, the noise of the rotor, I just love them. I had resigned my self to doing my endorsement on the 206, as I had only ever seen one at our airport, and even that didnt stay long. When this one showed up, and I could take a flight in it I couldnt hold back.

For me this is a treat, with the exception of a blat in an Apachie or Cobra, I cant think of another helo I would really go out of my way to atleast fly once. My flying career is only just begining, and while I know intelectually that the 206 may be a better initial choice, in Aus anyway, love is blind, so the 500 wins!

Dynamic Component
No she doesnt, however she has been to WA.
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 09:21
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Thumbs up

If you dont have a job flying the 500 after the endorsement and you are a low time pilot (less than 400 TT in my opinion) Dont waste your money. If you are just wanting to fly it for a bit of fun then Go for it. I 'm sure you'll have a great time.

If someone is trying to sell you an endorsement on it with the line that you might get a job with low hours on one then dont believe them but I am sure you know that already, This is just friendly advice. I recently bumped into a bloke who spent 8K on a turbine endorsement because he was told he might need one, He had 107 hours when he got the endorsement and has got NO chance of getting a job flying one. The 8K would have been better spent on a 44 with ten hours P1 to consolidate the endorsement. This is just my opinion after spending a few years in the industry, I am be no means an expert and hope I am proven wrong .

Good luck with your Jolly in the Hughes!!

Last edited by fatter bloke; 5th Aug 2004 at 03:27.
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 09:49
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Kwakka 500C, low skids, C18 in Australia.

Not VH-KFZ is it?

Go for a R44 or B206 endorsement, there's a much better chance of the investment paying off.
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Old 3rd Aug 2004, 13:47
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Is it a shiney black one or a fire engine red one?
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Old 4th Aug 2004, 00:01
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After all that hop into the old 206 and realise why they are more versatile and less fatiguing.
"The slave that thinks he is free is the best slave."
The OH-6A got me started in helicopters so I understand what you are feeling. Enjoy your flight in the 500! There are those of us who still fly for the love of flying and not because the proper endorsement will lead to a position of great wealth and high esteem. Fly whatever you want whenever you can and don't listen to the girly-men about their iron lung like B-206A's with boosted controls and slug like performance.
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Old 4th Aug 2004, 01:45
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Rich Lee, looking at Spaced posts, it would appear that he may be a student looking to make his mark on an already crowded industry. I would suggest that those with low hours get an endorsement on a type that is commonly used in the low hour areas of employment, usually tourism, ie R44, or B206. In Australia I don't know of any 500's used in such ops.

I'm with fatter bloke, your money could be better spent, although the 500 is great to fly.
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