Author Topic: Helios a niche market  (Read 3407 times)

Doug Johnson

Helios a niche market
« on: July 28, 2011, 01:54:36 PM »
I'ts too hot to work so here I am. I was just reading the AvWeb news and saw the article below which made me think of numerouse things particularly Niche markets.

I thought I would share my thoughts. I think there's a market for a small number of Helio type aircraft in several areas, insertion of people and small amounts of freight into remote areas world wide. The next is Short haul freight which brings to mind the GafHawk flying truck of course with a Helio wing, and the Ag Rat'ler.

A lot of the Ag planes are built one at a time on order with a large enough deposit that barring the purchaser going bankrupt they take delivery. My understanding is that the Helio Agplane was set aside to concentrate on the Helio Stallion it also had some problems with ground clearance problems with the spray booms, which probably could have been cured by getting rid of the composite gearlegs and going back to the old style landing gear with the gas shocks. Ag pilots get killed every year making their turns aroud at the ends of fields or trying to spray small fields where slow flight is required.

As far as short Haul freight goes Particularly in areas like Alaska or other areas of the world where there is a shortage of roads a flying truck could probably compete the Porter or Caravan in small numbers.

The H-295 works just fine for extremely rough short fields except it just needs a geared engine that burns jet fuel. I've flown the Trigear we flew it to from Laramont aviation to Jaars. They have little short strip. The  trigear is easier to land if all you need to do is get into a short strip and its not rough.

I flew into a narrow short one way strip East of Squentna, Ak with the Helio. Every time after that I carried a much smaller load and went in with my Cessna. A 1958 straight tail 172, with sportsmen stol, Big tires and 180hp eng. Because you had to turn around by hand or take a chance of putting a wing in the trees. It was just soft enough that the helio about killed you getting it turned around even with two people. I could turn the 172 by myself.
 
Anyway I think its all about niches, and small numbers, as far as the long term survival of Helios go, it appears that the Helios have become cannibals  and they don't produce offspring.

Gippsland Picks Rolls Royce For New Model
Mahindra Aerospace/Gippsland Aeronautics has announced that it has chosen Rolls Royce M250 450hp turboprop for its new GA10 Airvan. The GA10 is a 10-passenger version of the eight-passenger GA8 utility aircraft, which is in service around the world. Gippsland was an Australian company that was bought by Indian conglomerate Mahindra in 2009 and the Indian company has begun production there. The prototype of the GA10 is expected to fly this year and first deliveries are expected in 2013. Mahindra/Gippsland projects manager Gerhard Jordann said the new aircraft will fill a niche in the market.

Jordann said the aircraft fits neatly between large piston single utility aircraft, like the GA8, and the smallest turboprop aircraft in that class. The result, said Jordann, will be an aircraft that can use short, rough fields and deliver economical dollar-per-passenger-mile figures. The deal signed with Rolls-Royce also allows Rolls to look at the potential of using its RR500 engine, which is still under development, in future Mahindra aircraft.

Which brings to mind;
 
N400HE   1983  HT-800/420T   H-22   AZ      
N392H Maytag completed as Radial exp, N666X Jergins M-601 turbine, Pima co. AZ sheriffs dept Rolls Royce M250-B17 they call it an HT-420T        

That in turn brings up the Stallion Fast Commutator;
 
N550HE   1968  HST-550A   (1st)  c/n 001   Flagstaff , AZ      
N9550A, N550HE, RP-C1550 Phillipines, owner David Maytag ?,  Xprd Reg
         
John Seibold mostly retired owner operator of Grand Canyon Valley Airport and Grand Canyon Airlines; on Helio Stallion N500HE the first c/n 001 Helio Stallion http://www.valleairport.com/

I don't think it ever made it for more than 100 hours without incident prior
to my purchasing it. It had 1100 hours then.  I had some interior work done
in Phoenix which ultimately led to meeting Bob Donaldson who became our
director of operations at Grand Canyon Airlines.  He also loved the machine
and had flown them in Cambodia or one of those countries.  We actually got
it on our airline certificate and flew it with passengers for some 600 hours
without incident. 


This from Ken Berger;

When I last talked to Stephen Ruby, I suggested that since David Maytag is so seriously injured with that motorbike accident now, that maybe this would be an ideal time for individual Helio owners to band together and buy the type certificate from him.  I wonder if anything has been done to further that?

This from myself;

I have to agree with you that Helio owners should band together and pursue the aqusition of the Helio type certificate, but I believe its going to be a hard sell. I also believe that Maytag will be reluctant to part with the type certificate if for no other reason than spite, If He couldn't do it why should he let someone else try, plus I don't think he really needs the money, just my opinion. Also I think he's another of the independent Helio people you spoke of earlier.

Addendum;

 I haven't spoken with David Maytag in years so maybe I'm misrepresenting Him.
 Stephen Ruby says that he's seen with his own eyes that there are no jigs presses or tooling, just drawings. If the drawings are available for the jigs, it's just difficult to get started, not impossibly difficult.

I beleive that the Helio restart might work if an established aircraft shop took it on as part time  project to fill in slack time starting with parts production for the existing fleet and working their way up from there. And this would only work withn the support of a bunch of people willing to work together. The majority of the helios are in Alaska thats probably the place to start.
 
This thing could get so convoluted that parts would be built in china and assymbled here. Since the 5 Stallions were probably sent to China maybe they already have a head start.

It would probably be an exciting but frustrating opportunity to spend a lot of money. I've found that after real expenses when dealing with airplanes It just looked like I made money. I didn't loose money but I didn't make any either.

 Just rambling, Doug
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 07:28:51 AM by Doug Johnson »
Doug