There are many type of helicopters and finding the one to fit your needs can be very challenging. At Touch & Go Aeroworks we have the expertize to sell you the perfect model for you. If we don’t have the one you want, we will find the Year and model your looking for.
The first step in buying your first helicopter is to set yourself a budget. If you don’t you’ll be forever chasing your tail, vacillating between this one and that one. You’ll waste a lot of time, and possibly a lot of money.
Having set your budget, it will be easy to discount not just lots of a particular type of helicopter, but also whole categories of helicopters.
The second step is to be decisive. Once you’ve found the one you think you want, make an offer and if it is accepted, put a deposit down. There are an awful lot of “tyre kickers” in this industry and both owners and brokers alike will work a lot harder for you if you are prepared to leave a deposit. It can be left subject to, for example, a satisfactory engineer’s report.
On the subject of engineer’s reports, my view is that if the records are complete, the aircraft is NOT a turbine helicopter and the aircraft is less than (say) 12 years old, the benefit of getting a report is questionable. On the other hand, if you are buying (for example) a 30 year old Jet-Ranger, then an engineer’s report is essential. Again, I ‘d be happy to elaborate on this topic too – it is important.
If you’ve already made the decision that you are going to have your own helicopter, but you’ve only just started to learn, you should buy sooner rather than later. First, to rent a machine to learn to fly is expensive. Second, you’ll get best value, better flexibility in training and more fun if you learn on your own machine. Third, you really should learn on the type that you are going to buy.
This last point is not just about money, although it is a factor (you’ll have to do at least 5 hours extra instruction and more exams to convert from the from one type to another). The main reason is that the more you fly on one particular machine, the more comfortable you will feel in it. You’ll get to know its characteristics and its limitations.
As an early houred pilot, the less you have to consciously think about, the safer and better pilot you will be. I’m reasonably sure that as long as you do the majority of your course on a particular type, you will take your test and be rated on this machine. So to do, for example, 20 hours in a 269 and 30 hours in a R44 will give you a R44 rating, but not a 269 rating. Your instructor should be able to give you the exact details about this.
Another factor in choosing a machine is the convenience for maintenance. It’s always a hassle, so you should choose a type that can be maintained by people you like and people you trust who are located relatively close to you.
Deciding on how many years or hours you want to have is entirely dependent on budget, so I’m pretty much unable to suggest what you should be looking at without more information. However – and as a general rule – for a private pilot, years remaining are more valuable than hours remaining. The opposite is true for a commercial operation.
We hope you find this useful, and if you would like to talk to us further about buying your first helicopter, please contact us for more information.