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MD530F or Bell 505 for personal use

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MD530F or Bell 505 for personal use

Old 28th Nov 2023, 15:33
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MD530F or Bell 505 for personal use

Hi,

I am retiring and living full time in a ranch in Montana. Thinking about buying a helicopter for
personal use and mostly flying with my wife and 2 kids. Which one would you buy and why?
I am not much concerned about small differences in price and/or operating costs, more about
enjoyment and safety. I already have and fly a Carbon Cub bush plane and have plenty of
space to take off, land, and hangar.

MD530F x Bell 505 (buy new)

Thank you
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 20:15
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530F hands down for fun.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 20:46
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
530F hands down for fun.
Second what Ned says! The 530 is the most fun helicopter I've got time in. The team down in Mesa is great and the new ownership seem to have gripped things as well.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 21:05
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
530F hands down for fun.
Hearty agreement.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 21:17
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Flew the 500 E today, lot's of fun. I guess the 530 with even more oooomph is even better. But after 10 minutes I realized again how freakin noisy it is inside and there's not much space in the back so anything bigger than on overnight bag, forget about it. Also you'll be able to buy 2 505s for the price of one new 530 I think. Also one really good used 350 B3/B3e or a 407, wich is my personal favourite.

But for a fun hooligan machine that's fast and agile? Go for the 530
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 21:24
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IF you dont need the altitude or lifting performance of the 530 the 500E may be just as practical (more so from a fuel burn perspective). The 505 is designed as a private helicopter where as the 500 is was designed to go to war. My thoughts as someone that has operated both:

500/530
+ Coolest helicopter on earth
+ A true pilots machine
+ Robust airframe, very easy to fly even if you are un-current
- No baggage space (unless you add a pod)
-Limited fuel range (especially the 530 with the C30)
-Old technology engine and avionics, Engine is easier to hot start
-Really a 4 seat helicopter, 5 is tight.
- Great view and visibility in the front, passenger experience in the back is not very nice.

505
+Modern engine with FADEC
+Modern avionics
+5 proper seats
+Good fuel range
+good baggage locker
+2 blades makes easy hangaring
-Not as nice to fly as the 500, although he hydraulics are good
-Ugly
-C of G issues if you are doing lots of people movements (i.e. flying empty one leg and full the other)

In my opinion I would buy the 500 if you want to look and sound cool, otherwise its hard to go past the 505 as a private operator. There are a few calendar issues with the engine and TT straps, so if your utilisation is super low the 500 may end up cheaper to run. But depending on the age of the machine, most 500's seem to cost similar to a squirrel to operate from what I can tell.

From a safety perspective the 500 is a really crashworthy airframe, and you cant mast bump it. But it lacks the crashworthy seats of the 505 and if the engine goes quiet the 505 glides a lot better.

Try both and see what you like. I wouldn't discount the EC120 as that is probably the nicest 5 seat to operate as a private owner if you ignore the running costs.. I used to operate a 505 along side an EC120 on charter and I would take the 120 every time.

Just my 2c



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Old 28th Nov 2023, 21:48
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Well, you mentioned safety and flying the family. The Bell 505 meets all the current safety requirements, including crash resistant fuel systems (27.952) and dynamic seats. (27.562). Don't believe the 530 has either of those, and is based on a 50 year old design.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 22:27
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With the 505 you get Bell’s excellent product support. Is there any for the 530?
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 22:46
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Won't everyone have their own opinion?? do a test flight in both... which ever YOU like best is the machine for you... regardless, if it has rotors, it's the most fun with clothes on!!
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 22:51
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seen too many 505 's with electrical issues, also has a French engine which basically means when needs overhauling drop your trousers , get severely rogered while filling in your cheque with lots of zero's.
500 is a bit old but still outflies everything else, 160th uses guess what a 500 (well MELB) they dont use 505 's
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 23:11
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Originally Posted by CertGuy
Well, you mentioned safety and flying the family. The Bell 505 meets all the current safety requirements, including crash resistant fuel systems (27.952) and dynamic seats. (27.562). Don't believe the 530 has either of those, and is based on a 50 year old design.
Never flew a 505. I took my ATP in a 206 at Bell. I LOVE the 206 series, they're pickup truck helicopters. The 500 series, on the other hand, no hydraulics, was much, much more fun to fly. Except on long trips.

The 530 is based on the OH 6. That was designed to survive crashes, the flight crew sat against the forward plane of a structural pyramid that enclosed the back seat, had the engine mounted on the aft plane. The main rotor gearbox in a fixed mount almost directly overhead. If you didn't go inverted on impact, the airframe would protect you. I remember two Vietnam loach guys reminiscing about their tour, both had been shot down/crashed a couple times. One vividly described the other Loach, taking fire on a nap of the Earth scout, saw the aircraft hit the ground at speed as it exited the target area, tumbling several times and being amazed when the crew jumped out and ran to cover.

Did it have a crash resistant fuel cell? Not that I recall. I think the fuel cell ran under the rear seats...

On the other hand, I've seen more than a few Bell crew decapitated by the main rotor. The main gear box is flexibly mounted to isolate vibration...
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 01:10
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Neither, in my opinion. Since a new 530F comes in at 3 mil or more, I would cross it off the list. It's a very expensive flying work truck and I never developed a liking for it in the 400 hours I flew it. If I had 3 mil to spend on a helicopter, it would be hard to beat a 407. The 500 makes for a lousy personal helicopter, IMO. No baggage, super cramped back seat and it's not very comfortable. They get top dollar because they are in high demand for electrical and other utility operators. Spend the 3 mil on the best 407 you can find.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 10:10
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The 505 is has few safety advantages. The G1000 cockpit. Autopilot option and with comes the level flight trigger on the cyclic that will probably save some lives in the future, it will enter autorotation for you if you do not respond fast enough and it glides like an fixed wing during auto, easy and forgiving to fly. The baggage compartment on the 505 is rather small but cabin is nice and good veiw from all seats.
MD530 is probably more fun to fly if the goal is aerobatics or tactical flying and looks better I agree.
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Old 29th Nov 2023, 14:05
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I have never flown a 530 or 505 or even the 350.

I did fly the 500D/E models and the 206B long enough to compare those two.

Thus far there has been a pretty good discussion of the various merits and demerits of several different choices.

I would imagine the 530 would still be the same re pilot happiness but would require some maintenance in excess to that of the Bell Models.

Bell models have more room in the back seat and of course baggage room....and unless there has been a real change in the TT Straps time life that can add a lot of expense for a low annual time operator.

Being a penny pincher I find myself leaning towards a Bell L-4 or better a good used 407.

The final analysis is up to the buyer.....doing his research on purchase price, cost per flight hour (operating costs) and Fixed Costs, available of local maintenance and distance from a Factory Authorized Service Center.

The 530 is a hot rod no doubt but it is not much for going somewhere with family and baggage....ski's as it is short legged. That can be improved by adding a baggage pod and Internal Fuel Tank but that adds weight and of course cost.

The mention of Auto Pilots etc as found in the 505 is an important issue if you are a new helicopter pilot and you are going to have your family join you.

A 407 with the same level of avionics (or nearly) and maintaining proficiency in using all of the features to the maximum extent possible would also work towards being the insurance policy "rotor rookie" is describing.

I did a wander through a Trade Paper advertising Helicopters that are for sale currently led me to focus upon the 407 due to the various. prices of all of the suggested models of helicopters being discussed.

For you hot rod drivers....think about an MBB-BO-105LS....only about 58 of them built if my source is correct but that gives you two engines rigid rotor, German engineering, and LOTS of power.

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Old 29th Nov 2023, 16:58
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thank you all for the kind answers!
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 12:22
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I have time in all of the types being discussed with the exception of the 505.

If you are looking to go somewhere with passengers the 530 isn’t really a practical choice without adding external provisions for baggage (rec. gear etc) which will in turn just slow you down and with the 530’s thirst and limited range will cost you time with either additional fuel stops or limit you in distance. A 206 L (3 or 4) would be a good choice but 4’s are thirsty as well. They are smooth with reasonable performance and in Montana during the summer would probably stack up reasonably well.

No one has mentioned the AS350B2 which is a bit of a surprise to me because they are a good performer with a huge fuel tank and pretty decent hot/high performance, comfortable, quiet, tough as nails, and reliable if looked after. There are quite a few AD’s on the Astar but the 407 has lots too. (You have maintenance in mind…?) One draw back of the 407 is that it has the same basic airframe luggage provision as the 206 series, so if your not going to add a basket (slows you down too) your stuck with traveling light. An Astar (with cheeks especially) can carry lots of stuff. I’m not very well versed in prices of aircraft because I fly for a living and therefore cannot afford one but I suspect that the 350B2 is pretty “reasonable” because they’re no longer in production and everyone wants B3’s now. If passenger comfort is a consideration too, you can’t beat an Astar with their great views from all seats, no one faces aft, heating and demisting that works, and seats that one can argue are designed for human beings to sit in rather than anything Bell has to offer (again I don’t know what the 505 is equipped with).

Good luck in your search! It’s always fun to spend other people’s money!

fp

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Old 30th Nov 2023, 15:13
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Not sure why you want a 530 a good D model will be almost the same performance ( with a C20 R ) due to it being around 200 lbs lighter
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 17:26
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Originally Posted by Fun_police
I have time in all of the types being discussed with the exception of the 505.

If you are looking to go somewhere with passengers the 530 isnít really a practical choice without adding external provisions for baggage (rec. gear etc) which will in turn just slow you down and with the 530ís thirst and limited range will cost you time with either additional fuel stops or limit you in distance. A 206 L (3 or 4) would be a good choice but 4ís are thirsty as well. They are smooth with reasonable performance and in Montana during the summer would probably stack up reasonably well.

No one has mentioned the AS350B2 which is a bit of a surprise to me because they are a good performer with a huge fuel tank and pretty decent hot/high performance, comfortable, quiet, tough as nails, and reliable if looked after. There are quite a few ADís on the Astar but the 407 has lots too. (You have maintenance in mindÖ?) One draw back of the 407 is that it has the same basic airframe luggage provision as the 206 series, so if your not going to add a basket (slows you down too) your stuck with traveling light. An Astar (with cheeks especially) can carry lots of stuff. Iím not very well versed in prices of aircraft because I fly for a living and therefore cannot afford one but I suspect that the 350B2 is pretty ďreasonableĒ because theyíre no longer in production and everyone wants B3ís now. If passenger comfort is a consideration too, you canít beat an Astar with their great views from all seats, no one faces aft, heating and demisting that works, and seats that one can argue are designed for human beings to sit in rather than anything Bell has to offer (again I donít know what the 505 is equipped with).

Good luck in your search! Itís always fun to spend other peopleís money!

fp
You sure you flew a 407?
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 17:43
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Originally Posted by helichris
You sure you flew a 407?
1200+ hrs of seismic, skiing, moving diamond drills. You know, real workÖ
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Old 30th Nov 2023, 18:50
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Originally Posted by helichris
You sure you flew a 407?
Flew AStars, TwinStars for 6000 hours, 206s for about the same. The AStar/TwinStars with "squirrel cheeks"/extended side holds have it all over the the little Bells for storage/cargo. If you anticipate more than hand luggage aboard, I recommend them. C/G is a non issue, Two small issues- they add a little drag, especially the rectangular boxes versus the rounded ones and will cost a knot or two in cruise... and they 'waddle', slow hunting in yaw as they interfere a little with the clean air at the vertical fin.

I love me an Aerospatiale, except at recurrent- Bells just auto easier and better. The Eurocopters is is strong, roomy and comfortable. And the doors, especially the latches are more "critter" friendly.
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