5 Critical Decision Factors When You Consider Buying a Helicopter

By Andrew Myers

July 1, 2020 Educational

When it comes to buying a helicopter, people often focus on issues such as price. However, although the price is a factor when purchasing a helicopter, there are plenty of other things to consider as well.

Make sure you have thought and read about all the necessary information you may need. In this article, we will tell you the five critical decisions you will need to factor in when buying a helicopter.

Read on to find out more about what exactly you need to decide before taking to the skies.

1. How Often Will You Be Using The Helicopter?

Utilization is essential to think about when purchasing a helicopter and integrating it into your schedule and daily life.

The amount you use it will determine what type of helicopter you need for your overall purpose. Is it something you will be using for business daily? Or is it something you will be using for the weekends? Or perhaps short trips away to the beach or from your yacht?

Once you have decided how often you will be using it, you can start looking at models that reflect the type of aircraft you will be needing.

If you have found a few potential candidates that you are interested in, it is always helpful to have a second opinion on the helicopter you end up buying.

Using an appraisal service can help you significantly with knowing the overall condition of the aircraft, the market value and provides a full inspection of the aircraft flight logs.

2. Will You Be Flying The Helicopter Yourself or Hiring a Pilot?

The crew is also an essential thing to consider when buying a helicopter. The vast majority of helicopter owners are also trained pilots as well. However, that doesn't mean that people who don't have a helicopter license can't buy a helicopter.

Depending on whether you will be flying it or whether someone else will be flying with, you will also help you decide what kind of helicopter will be right for your needs.

Private pilots usually choose smaller aircraft that require far less maintenance. It is also worth bearing in mind that the bigger helicopter you have, the more experience you will need. Resources will come in handy if you plan on operating turbine-powered equipment.

If you are hoping to get qualified for your pilot license, the costs of acquiring one are usually around $26,000. You will need to have a minimal of 45 hours of flying time over 12 months.

Once you have qualified, you also need to make sure that you have annual reviews to check your performance and that you are up to date with any technology or flying changes.

If you aren't planning on getting your license, think about who you are going to use for piloting your helicopter. Are you going to use a company with a range of pilots? Or source one pilot and pay them a salary with benefits?

Once you sort out your mission profile and your use of the helicopter, you can see when you would need to employ someone to fly you and how often you would need their services.

3. What is Your Annual Budget for Flying?

The initial cost of a helicopter will set you back a considerable amount; however, you also need to think about your overall costs for flying and maintenance.

Things such as fuel can quickly add up if you are using your helicopter to fly regularly.

Another thing to consider is how much you will pay for the storage of the helicopter itself. Unless you have a helipad at your residence, you will have to pay a place to store your aircraft when you aren't using it.

Also, maintenance fees and updating any old systems can run into the thousands of dollars every year as technology progresses.

Make sure you are continuing to keep abreast of the changes in rules and regulations to ensure your helicopter is meeting all the safety requirements.

It's all these hidden costs that can spiral into spending a lot of extra cash, so make sure you weigh up all these costs and set a budget you can afford.

If you buy a Robinson makes sure you are aware of the 12 years and 2400 hour inspections, these can cost upwards of $200,000 and surprise many first time buyers.

4. Going it alone?

Is this helicopter one you will be flying solo in, or will you have friends or colleagues joining you?

Knowing who will be traveling with you can be essential to know in terms of deciding what type of helicopter to get.

If you know that your flying will be predominately solo, then a smaller helicopter with a single-engine will be more than enough.

5. Do I Need a Bank Loan?

Financing is something to consider when deciding on your purchase. Think about which payment method is best for you and whether you can afford to put a large downpayment on a helicopter.

Also, consider your annual operating expenses too. Can you comfortably factor them into your budget and current debt load?

If you do take out a bank loan, you will need to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and documentation required for the loan. Most lenders will require getting an appraisal done on the aircraft for its overall fair market value. Contact Jason Zilberbrand, ASA, for help with your helicopter appraisals.

Buying A Helicopter: Where Can I Find Out More?

We hope you have enjoyed this article on the five critical decisions you need to factor in a while buying a helicopter.

It is essential to consider all of the different parameters of cost, time, and use when thinking about the right helicopter model for your needs.

If you have any further questions or queries about helicopter ownership or any of our services, why not contact us directly?