New turbine helicopters for sale #TurbineHelicopter

New turbine helicopters for sale; We explore the available aircraft that are currently marketed for civil activities by OEM’s in the light utility segment of the turbine helicopter market

With 50+ new turbine helicopters currently available for sale by the OEM’s it may seem like a crowded market, although with greatly varying mission capabilities, performance specifications, cabin configurations, there does seem to be a niche to be fulfilled by many.

The light utility helicopter is applied to almost all civil segments including tourism, site seeing, heli-ski, aerial survey, VIP / corporate transport, SAR, EMS, agriculture, offshore oil and gas, aerial surveillance, law enforcement, news gathering and aerial firefighting. With wide variety of uses, budgets and requirements this perhaps justifies the 25+ light utility turbine helicopters for sale by the OEM’s.

With aircraft ranging from 4-9 seats, 1-2 turbine engines, power output from 300-1500shp (shaft horsepower), purchase price from $695k-$6.9m and cruise speed of 110-154kts (127-177mph). The most common factor that they all seem to share is the maximum range of just over 300nm (350 miles), with few exceptions being the Leonardo (previously Agusta Westland) AW109, AW119 and the Bell 429 GlobalRanger. With so many types and variants, we will focus on 10 aircraft separated into the single engine and twin-engine segments.

Single-Turbine Helicopters; Part 1

Single-Turbine Helicopters; Part 2

  • Bell 407GXi
  • Airbus H125
  • Airbus H130
  • Leonardo AW119Kx

Twin-Turbine Helicopters; Part 3

  • Airbus H135
  • Bell 429
  • Leonardo AW109 Grand New

#1 Robinson Helicopters R66 - Turbine helicopter for sale.

The newest and largest of the Robinson Helicopters fleet also coincides with the introduction of turbine engines for the OEM, creating a 5 seat general utility aircraft incorporating the Rolls-Royce RR300 engine producing 300shp.

The RR300 is rebranded version of the famed Allison 250 which has amassed 250m+ flight hours from the 31,000+ engines entering service since 1958. The reliability and utilisation are perhaps only matched by the P&WC PT6. The engine does however lack FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control) which is a challenge in marketing the aircraft in a modern environment whereby all competing types with the exception of the MD500 series offer FADEC engines. FADEC offers great advantage in start-up, shut-down and in-flight performance monitoring considerably reducing the pilot workload.

The R66 has been criticised for maintaining the distinctive Robinson design, light construction, teetering rotor-head and polarizing T-bar flight controls, although it is impossible to ignore the price tag with the basic aircraft configuration starting at just $695,000.

The early success of the type has been derived from existing Robinson operators appreciating the favorable economics, visibility and common cockpit making the transition from an R44 seamless.

#2 MD Helicopters 500E – Turbine helicopter for sale.

The unmistakable design of the MD500 (developed from the Hughes 500) has often appeared in films depicting the villains helicopter gunship. The upgraded small diameter 5-blade fully-articulated main rotor gives the aircraft a highly agile control system. The MD500 series is often referred to as the ‘pilots aircraft’ a favorite among all who have operated the type.

The aircraft is offered with a choice of either the Rolls-Royce 250-C20B (420shp) or the 250-C20R (450shp), which results in better hot and high performance. The engine is mounted on a 45-degree angle at the rear of fuselage, largely eliminating any cargo capacity, although this aircraft is designed for speed and agility rather than touring. Multiple engine choices offered by the OEM may help market the aircraft, this is detrimental to in the secondary market affecting residual values which subsequently affect the long-term ability of the OEM to increase new aircraft prices.

The secondary market for the MD500E is actually an anomaly among turbine helicopters at present, with the price of a new aircraft being forced up dramatically due to low sales / production volumes, used aircraft are in high demand due the lack of genuine alternative. Despite being a 5-seat turbine theoretically competing against the R66, Enstrom 480 and Bell 206 and 505, MD operators (ranging from agriculture in New Zealand, longlining Christmas trees to powerline maintenance) are fiercely loyal to the unique performance characteristics.

#3 Bell 505 JetRanger X – Turbine helicopter for sale.

New to the market, the Bell 505 is positioned as the replacement to the highly successful Bell 206B III JetRanger. After producing just short of 5,000 civil 206’s, the company decided to cease production in 2009 as sales dried up in part due to the introduction of the R44 & R66, but certainly the economic environment of the time. Not wanting to retreat for the market, a clean sheet design was put into action to produce an affordable light utility turbine helicopter with modern avionics, FADEC engine and full composite fuselage. The incorporation of the Garmin G1000H full-glass cockpit is the most notable difference to the cockpit experience of the 505.

Bell moved away from the Rolls-Royce Allison 250 in a controversial decision to the Safran Arrius 2R engine as it was the only engine with the required power output than was offered with FADEC. The Safran engines are broadly considered to be more expensive to operate lacking the reliability of the Allison 250. The Safran engine produces 504shp however has a shorter TBO (time-between-overhaul) of 3,000 hours.

Despite this and the fact the base aircraft is approximately $200k more expensive than the similar equipped R66, it has sold strongly due to its proven and common componentry to the Bell 206L4 and superior performance relating to speed and range.