Author Topic: Helio Courier MK II  (Read 920 times)


Helio Courier MK II
« on: January 07, 2019, 10:45:42 AM »
When Helio Aircraft Corp. made the move to Hanscom Field in late 1964, Robert Kimnach Jr. moved from VP of Sales to President. Lynn Bollinger was Chairman of the Board followed by Harry A. Wheeler Asst. to President. Hunter "Blackie" Blackwell was production test pilot, Lou Droste, factory demo pilot, Lawrence J. Montgomery is Director of Technical Services and demo pilot. Also at Bedford, MA was Wayne Herrick, Ed Sampson, and R.L Devine as production design and engineering. A new model was introduced to replace the Helio H-395A as a low cost alternative that promised a financial influx and marketing tool known as The World's Safest Airplane. The Helio Courier MK II was the first commercial model to introduce a direct-drive Lycoming O-540-A1A5 (250HP). N5444E was the "demo" brochure airplane for 1965 and it quickly gained notoriety for its lightweight and stellar performance in the STOL category. However, only 41 were built. The glowing promises approach to the new Helio evaporated when it was an under-performer with any payload and above 7500 feet AGL. Some have been upgraded to the IO-540-K1A5 (300HP) under an STC, N67DD is one such example.

The STOL weight was 3000 pounds and gross weight was 3400 pounds. A 120 gallon long range fuel option was offered, but maybe but 2 were ever configured in that option. While the O-540 had a 2000 hour TBO it did not measure up to the performance offered on the newly introduced Super Courier H-295 with GO-480-G1A6 295 HP. Intended for use by missionary groups operating in 3rd World countries, that idea was "shelved" because it could not carry high payload into and at high altitude back-country fields. The airplane@3000 pounds was short on cruise speed, even at 24" squared it barely got 115 knots. The airplane was 6 inches longer because Lycoming used the dyna-focal engine mount. The 2-blade Hartzell was 88-inches in diameter, but did not provide the torque and thrust of the "geared" alternative.

My time spent with Bruce Taylor (Great Lakes Helio) and in N5460E was memorable experience that offered me my introduction into the world of airplanes that fly like helicopters, and trust me the airplane could be flown under control@ 21 knots, when real light. The demo performed at Berz Airport in July 1965 stopped traffic both directions on Maple Rd. for the 15 minute routine that had the airplane in "hover" and take-off roll of 75 feet, didn't know airplanes could do this.

Louis praises the H-250 and for good reason, but they do have shortcomings, if you are in the market for the 250 as a first Helio, you may want to look further into their appeal.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 11:40:33 AM by tailhook »

Doug Johnson 1

Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 07:42:55 PM »
If anyone is truly interested at one time I had a copy of a Helio factory advertisement brochure showing N5444E with a H-395 style cowling (no landing lts). It was also labeled as a Mark II Caballero H-250A Model other pictures show that the first 5 H-250s had the same H-395 style cowling. I have not found any other reference to an H-250A model.

It also appears that the Caballero was dropped. I asked Bob about this but he didn't remember anything about it.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 07:46:33 PM by Doug Johnson 1 »


Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 11:35:33 AM »
This promo shot clearly illustrates the 395 style cowling, however I don't think that was used, it is similar to the 395 but the engine mount was longer for the Lycoming O-540 so a re-design may have taken place. The radius of the intake is of a different shape. Nose mounted landing lights were an option for the MK II, as was X-wind gear, 120 gallon fuel.

In the background is H-395 N272PM note how the take-off sequence is properly done, she's still on the tail-wheel.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 12:15:38 PM by tailhook »


Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 11:39:27 AM »
Helio N272PM later in life. 1975.

Doug Johnson 1

Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 08:18:30 PM »
I was mostly looking for information on the first 5 H-250s with a cowling without landing lts similar to the H-395 and the 'A' suffix used in the H-250 promotional flyer and as pictures show the cowling without landing lts on 3 of the first 5 wondered if there was there some connection between A suffix (H-250A) used in promotional literature since I find this 'A' no where else.

previous post c/n 2501
previous post c/n 2502
previous post c/n 2503
previous post c/n 2504
previous post c/n 2505

I have no picture of 2502 earlier than 1976 so not sure whether landing ls were installed in cowling as factory option or at later time.

I have no picture of c/n 2504 at all
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 08:37:00 PM by Doug Johnson 1 »


Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 02:26:47 PM »

I'm fairly certain the "A" suffix was meant to be a follow on model for export to Latin American countries for use by missionary groups, the name "Caballero" in Spanish is gentleman, or Horseman is the Southwest. In any event the first 5 MK II's were bare bones airplanes from the factory which may indeed explain the lack of cowling landing lights. If you look closely, the Lycoming O-540 has additional length compared to GO-480 applications.

The nose bowl radius and circumference are flatter for the 395, also note in 2 top mounted fresh air vents just in front of the windshield. The spinner also has a different shape to it. The fly away price in early 1965 was $31,980.00. Attached is a photo reference for N4120D which has the 395 cowling on the 391B #44. Dunbar Bostwick did that retrofit, many, many years ago after he ground looped it.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:32:24 PM by tailhook »

Doug Johnson 1

Re: Helio Courier MK II
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 04:44:30 PM »
I am not saying that the first 5 H-250's had H-395 Fiberglas nose bowls, but it is actually quite possible that available or excess parts from the H-395 production run which ended 08/64 were used since it is relatively easy to modify the Fiberglas. Or since the nose bowls were outsourced they may not have became available yet.

A bit of trivia N registry N5445E was not used on c/n 2502 because it was exported and instead was used on the last H-395 c/n 639.

The H-250 production run begins 05/64 (3 months before the H-395 production ends) and the first 4 were build ending 10/64. I also found a note from a South African sources that c/n 2503 was believed to have been upgraded with cowl landing lts some time after of 05/87 with the nose bowl from the salvage from c/n 1705 again relatively easy to reshape the fibeglas nose bowl.

As far as c/n 044, FAA records indicate Bostwick returned the a/c to the factory for repairs which resulted in c/n 044 becoming the prototype for the Factory H-395A air induction & cowling reconfiguration (removed augmenter tube and installed cowl flaps) developing Helio mod #48 in the process, If I remember correctly c/n 044 (N4120D) is actually listed 1st on the type certificate of the H-395A, resulting in c/n 1001 not being built.

click on link to see earlier post on c/n 044
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 05:21:22 PM by Doug Johnson 1 »