Author Topic: c/n 1420, N6469V  (Read 6352 times)

Doug Johnson

c/n 1420, N6469V
« on: May 13, 2015, 07:00:36 AM »
10 pictures check your albums. Please do an internet search maybe you'll come up with one I couldn't find, I need all the help I can get.

Previous posts about N6469V or anything click on  Enter ?

c/n 1420, built 01/70 as model H-295 original registry N6469V Factory installed Lycoming GO-480 G1A6 engine (Brand new Military surplus as optional or special request ?), Charles Raney Jr OH accident pilot made a hard landing and the landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. A factor was winds that were gusting to 15 knots @ Saxonburg-Cooper PA 8/70, next accident aircraft mushed during the initial climb on take-off because he was to far behind the power curve. Pilot took off with snow on the wings and the aircraft was 184lb over Gross Weight although the CG was OK @ Medina-Freedom OH 11/71 sold '80, Dr Richard Irwin KS accident aircraft stall/mushed during initial climb on take-off, with winds gusting to 30 knots, the pilot had failed to obtain or maintain flying speed @ Johnson-Stanton KS 10/80 returned to Factory (Dean Tremaine) for repair installed Precise Flight standby Vacuum sys (STC SA2683NM) sold '08, Joel Mann (Priority Farms) CA sold '12, Ted Morgan CA sold '14, Gordon Cragg TX sold 6/15, Russell Carter Chugiach AK Hilltop Airpark, placed on Airglass LW3600 wheel skis installed larger tailwheel fork using 500X5 wheel converted to H-295B with installation of Bendix fuel injection

As always any further information or pictures would be greatly appreciated.

Russ is adamant that the picture below is N6469V and not N6463V which it appears to be. The paint scheme does seems to be identical to N6469V

« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 08:36:39 PM by Doug Johnson »

Doug Johnson

« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 09:28:58 AM »

Doug Johnson

Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2016, 06:20:34 PM »
Added first photo above see

Found some more pictures here as well as an interesting blog someone enjoying their Helio

   Alaska By Helio Courier           
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 06:25:17 PM by Doug Johnson »


Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2016, 08:18:38 PM »
I am impressed by your ability to sleuth out Helio Courier information from the internet!  How did you ever find that blog post Doug?  That is my girlfriends blog and as you can tell she doesn't update it often.  I never even figured she had more than a few followers, mostly family. 

It was a great trip to the Brooks Range though.  The Helio really was a great talking point everywhere we encountered a person.  We were joking by the end of the trip that at every landing if there was a pilot within 10 miles they came out to see the Helio and ask questions.  Nation Parks service also did a blog post about the trip and there is a picture of the plane there as well.  Will try to find the link and post it.  The heavy tail of the Helio did make me worried in the softer sand of the Kobuk and on the bumpier gravel bars of the Koyakuk.

Doug Johnson

Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2016, 02:41:49 PM »
I believe I was looking in Pinterest and saw a photo I didn't recognize so I clicked on the photo and it took me to the page where the blog was.

I've found several photos of Helios at Pinterest.

Doug Johnson 1

Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 07:29:17 AM »
I thought this was an interesting and well written post and deserved a re-post here under c/n 1420. Its unlocked now since I've verified where to post it and if you have any comments to make you can make them.

Ownership Costs!

from 'Orphaned airplane edition' (self.flying)

submitted * by Helio295PPL Helio Courier

The occasional post pops up with some ownership costs, I enjoy looking through them. They remind me that others have more sense than me because they own reasonable, practical, and sensible airplanes. The object of my affection is none of the above. I felt some strange compelling force to purchase and own and impractical, expensive, finicky, orphaned, and insanely beautiful brute of a plane. As my user name suggests I own a Helio Courier, a 1970 build model H295-1400. I love my airplane. It is everything I have ever wanted a plane to be and more. The more refers to the ownership costs! For the benefit of owners, aspiring owners, and dreamers alike here is my stab at reconstructing my ownership journey and the costs of ownership for the past 6 months and approximately 100 hours of flying time. It has been a wild ride that I would not have traded for anything.

In early June I found the Helio I wanted. It had been a rather long search as Helios do not liberally grace the pages of trade-a-plane. I waited and waited for what I considered the right plane to appear. As I waited I used the time to my best advantage by researching insurance and financing. I came to some very interesting and unfortunate conclusions. Banks wont finance a Helio. The reason given is that they are just too rare and their GO-480 motors are too misunderstood. Insurance providers won't insure a Helio, same reason banks wont finance them, but also because they have a nasty tendency to eat inattentive pilots for lunch! I think every Helio flying today (there are between 100 and 150 flying world wide) has been through at least one ground loop, usually two! Insurance and financing aside, in June I found the plane I wanted. Asking price was 115k! Luck was with me as the plane was located a scant 3 hour drive away from where I lived at the time. I even knew a reputable mechanic in the area who knew what a Helio was and who had worked on them before. Finding a mechanic for a prebuy on an airplane most people have never heard of is a tricky. The standard rhetoric on this site an others that I hear is get a mechanic experienced with the type to perform a prebuy. I only know of a handful of mechanics across the US and Canada that have any, much less lots of, experience with Helios. Finding someone local who at least had worked one in the past was good enough for me. The prebuy went smoothly and was a well spent afternoon and $480. The prebuy showed the airplane to have a clean bill of health so there was little to negotiate the price downwards. Sale price ended up being asking price, 115k. Naturally, the plane was on one side of the country and I was moving to the other side of the country. So of course load it with all my belongings and fly it to our new home! Easier said than done. I did finally find an insurance provider who agreed to take on the Helio for a modest $4573 per year. Insurance required 5 hours of dual from a competent Helio instructor. Not only was 5 hours of dual laughable (took me closer to 40 before I considered myself safe in the plane and was willing to solo) but finding the instructor proved nearly impossible.

I flurry of phone calls later and I found an instructor who was willing to teach me and fly with me across the country to my new home. Cost, $900 plus expenses per day. Now $900 a day might seem like a lot for an instructor, but given the scarcity of Helio instructors and the pilot eating nature of the airplane, $900 a day seemed entirely reasonable and even a bargain! Let the cross country adventure being! First day of ownership and day one of the cross country to our new home, the vacuum pump failed just outside of Amarillo Texas. Almost made it out of the state before the first mechanical failure! $220 for the pump and $200 to a local mechanic for the install got us back in the air early the next morning. Next mechanical was solved while waiting for weather with a borrowed nitrogen bottle used to refill the tail strut. The X/C went off with out a hitch, other than weather delays, for a few more days till landing in Northway Alaska when my left brake failed. Thankfully the failure was at the end of the landing roll and not the start! This is when the joy of an orphaned airplane really started to show. I needed a brake pad for a Goodyear Crosswind wheel and brake system. Wow, talk about a hard part to source! Thankfully a few hours on the phone later and a healthy helping of luck found me a used brake pad only 8 hours away. To really sweeten the deal I wasn't even charged for the used replacement brake pad! When the pad finally arrived my CFI, who also happened to be an A&P, and I installed the part and were on our way for the last leg of our journey. When all was said and done, it was 10 days with the CFI at $900 a day and nearly 40 hours of flight time. After those 40 hours I felt I was barely ready to solo my new plane but my instructor had confidence in me. First solo was a riot, only 20 gallons in the tanks, just me and an empty plane. What a rocket! I was off the ground in under 300 feet, climbing at 1400fpm, and nearly blew through pattern altitude! I love my new plane.

First solo in my bird was on the 18th of June, by the 20th of June my brakes had failed again. Some borrowed hydraulic fluid and borrowed tools at was enough to get least get me home. This time the problem as traced to a bad seal in the master cylinder. I found a local mechanic, no experience on Helios but some GO-480 experience. Not a lot but better than nothing. He also has an owner assist policy so I was able to remove the brake cylinder, clean the spark plugs, and change the oil myself under his watchful eye. All for a meager $527. A few more enjoyable hours of exploring the flight characteristics of my toy before tragedy stuck again! On the July 4th while practicing stop-and-gos at a semi remote strip I had a wheel bearing failure caused by loose lug nuts on the outboard wheel half. Thanks again to the quirky crosswind gear system the outboard half of the wheel separated from the airplane on landing causing the main wheel bearing to grind itself up and the rest of the wheel to nearly fall of with it. Now I carry some tools in the airplane, but not all the ones needed to fix this problem. Once again, luck was with me. There was a small lodge near by that was willing to loan me enough tools to try field repair my airplane or at least attempt to field repair my airplane. Fours hours of work later I had managed to collect enough parts of the wheel bearing from the gravel runway that I was able to put my airplane together enough to taxi off of the runway. I had intended to fly the plane to the nearest attended field with road access, but just as I was packing up for departure a fellow with a C180 offered me a ride home. $180 dollars, a case of beer, and 5 days later I had ordered the new wheel bearing and coerced a friend to fly me back to retrieve my plane. Knowing how to install the wheel bearing this time round, having the right tools, and the right parts it was just an hour to get my plane back in the air. Direct from the semi-remote bush strip to Airframes Alaska for a whole new set of wheels, breaks, tires, and axles. I fly an orphaned plane with limited parts availability. After the wheel bearing issue I decided I didn't need my wheels and brakes to have limited parts availability also. $4900 bought me brand new double puck brakes, and a fancy set of 29x11x10 tires on 10" wheels and new axles. Hopefully that will solve all my wheel and brake issues for a while!

About 15 hours of flight time later, after many glorious evenings flying into and off of river banks, bush strips, grassy fields with 3 foot tall grass, and beaches my GO-480 started to earn it's reputation for being a maintenance hog. An exhaust stud started to come loose and needed to be helicoiled into place. For a normal motor these exhaust studs are simple and easy to find. For a GO-480 the studs are different from every other Lycoming product. Again, thanks to kind people, good mechanics, and better customer service, I was able to source a local exhaust stud for a whopping $7.99! What a steal, only cost me $400 to get it installed. By now it was getting to be mid September and I was getting frantic to find a covered place for my precious girl to winter over. My search for a hangar with in and out privileges proved to be asking too much, what I did find though was a non-heated hangar only 2 hour drive from my home field where I could store my plane from first snow till the runways cleared enough for wheels. I wouldn't be able to fly for the winter, but I also would not be fretting high winds, heavy snow loads, and ice. $1800 for 5 or so months of hangar seemed like a solid deal to me so I took it. September and October were spent enjoying the fall colors and looking for Moose from the pilots seat. Strangely enough they were maintenance free months for me! I put about 20-25 hours on the plane with out even a hiccup. I flew into and out of short strips in the mountains, into friends cabins and into a personal favorite strip my friend cut into the trees at his cabin. It is a 1000x50 foot clearing with 70-80 foot tall trees on three sides and a 300 foot drop into a lake on the fourth. Not a place too many different types of planes can go, but my Helio and I managed to get in and out with a heavy load of hunting equipment and 500 feet of runway to spare!

Near the end of October there was a $400 bill for an oil change to anti-rust oil and another 200 for moisture absorbing cylinder plugs and a few cans of corrosion-x to wipe down the plane for winter storage. It was a sad day when I saw the hangar door close on my girl for the winter months, and I cant wait for spring time! But I will use this time to save my pennies for what I fear will by a five figure annual come April.

So lets do some basic adding. Six months and approximately 100 flying hours of aircraft ownership. $5212 for fuel, $6956 for mechanical and repairs, $4573 for insurance, $9000 for instruction, and $2730 for winter storage, prebuy, charts, and other odds and ends. Total cost $28482 and change plus the $115k for the airplane.

Might seem like a lot, but I get the joy of flying what I have always wanted. Sure a Cessna 185 would do 99% of what I use my Helio for and it would do it cheaper and faster. But I didn't want a Cessna 185. I wanted a Helio and I am more than happy to pay the price premium to fly the plane I have dreamed about for the past 20 years. Nothing turns heads on a ramp the way my airplane does. I have carried 60 gallons of fuel, 4 full sized adults, and fishing gear into 600 feet of grass on the bank of a river. I have carried myself my girlfriend and our bicycles to remote villages for the afternoon, and in only one summer I have had more adventure than I ever thought possible! I say, money well spent!

For those who are curious, I tend to see cruise speeds of 140-150mph on 12 gallons an hour. I have a 1400 pound usefull load, 120 gallons of fuel capacity, and 6 seats. I usually only have the two front seats in the plane as it means I can carry bicycles without taking them apart, or lawn chairs (not the folding type). It also means I have a 8' long bed to sleep in so I don't need to take a tent with me on camping trips. Minimum air speed is listed as 28mph in some books but I have never flown below 35mph indicated and am not sure I believe 28 is possible. Take off and landing to 50 feet of altitude are listed at full gross as being about 550-650 feet. I believe it, but I haven't gotten the technique down yet to do it on my own. I certainly have managed ground rolls of 200-300 light and 500-600 when heavy for both takeoff and landing. I love my plane. It has a lot of secrets it hasn't revealed to me yet, and I am excited to learn them. Sure parts are hard to find and expensive, mechanics who know the plane are nearly impossible to find (I did finally find a expert who is local), and should I need recurring training it will cost a fortune. But ohh well. I fly what I want to fly, even if there are other more economically reasonable options out there!

Hope you all have enjoyed reading about my experiences. May they inspire some, scare others, and if nothing else cause a fellow aviator who adopted an orphan to nod knowingly.

Doug Johnson

Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 08:25:56 PM »
Ran across a picture of N6469V which I have plenty of, but it was a picture with an interesting background.

It was probably taken by Laura. But where and when?

Probably should check at

and see if it shows up there. Maybe later.

I opened the picture above at the bottom of the queue.

Also updated the "History paragraph".
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 08:39:44 PM by Doug Johnson »


Re: c/n 1420, N6469V
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2020, 10:09:48 AM »
Most recent photo was take at Latouche Island in Prince William Sound.  Date was either summer of 2017 or 2018 I can't remember.

A friend owns a cabin on the island and I was dropping him off for a weekend. He is most certainly the one who took the photo.

A rather cool island to explore for an afternoon.  Once was home to a large copper mine, now fully abandoned.  Lots of ruins to explore and great hiking.