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Old 08-20-2001, 01:23 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I'm on holiday so I may not be able to check for an answer for a while.

I've been watching coverage of the fires in the Pacific Northwest and the news said that the Chinook and Skycrane helicopters are costing the state of Oregon $9,000 per hour each. Now the helis I fly are considerably smaller and cost $180 per hour. How much does it actually cost to operate a Chinook or a Skycrane? Are the people of Oregon being reemed; or is $9,000/hr. a fair price for such a complex helicopter and the extremely experienced crews that fly them?

(Hm. Sounds like a Great Debate. But the GQ is "How much does it cost to operate a large helicopter?")
'Never say "no" to adventure. Always say "yes". Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.' -- Commander Caractacus Pott, R.N. (Retired)

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Old 08-20-2001, 01:37 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Virtually all the civilian Chinooks and Sea Knights now in service are operated by Columbia Helicopters. Most Sky Cranes belong to [url=]Erickson Air Crane[url]. As prospering private companies, they aren't likely to tell us much about their costs, just their prices (which are their customers' costs, and maybe that's what you see). As virtual monopolies, with customers who are generally willing to pay for their unique capabilities, they can charge pretty high rates anyway.

These are more complicated machines by far than your Robertson, they take much more maintenance, they've been out of production for a long time so parts volume is low, and the overall acquisition cost for each was pretty high to start with. Spare parts markups from the manufacturers are pretty steep (I work for one). Few civilian pilots are type-rated in them, few mechanics are qualified on them, and they don't work for free.

Old 08-20-2001, 01:37 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I can't give you an authoritative answer, but at I site I worked on in 1997-8 in Peru, a natural gas field being developed by Shell, they used Chinooks to ferry big equipment to the test wells. We were told the Chinook cost "$10,000 every time it left the ground." People and supplies were sent in by smaller choppers.
Old 08-20-2001, 01:37 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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More people, more maintenance, and such, sure.

But, I think one of the other factors is that you just don't get as many "paid hours" per capital investment dollar, over the lifetime of the craft. That would multiply the effective cost of all the other differences.

"No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris ... [because] no known motor can run at the requisite speed for four days without stopping." ~ Orville Wright ~
Old 08-20-2001, 01:39 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Fixed link:
Most Sky Cranes belong to Erickson Air Crane

Also, you fly a Robinson, not a Robertson, right? Different firm. Sorry.
Old 08-20-2001, 01:41 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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Well, I found a CH54D Skycrane operating out of Cougar, Washington available for $7,400/hr.
Old 08-20-2001, 03:38 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Actually, I would have thought that $9,000 per hour for a Chinook was a low estimate. Those things are huge maintenance hogs, and burn an ungodly amount of fuel. A Hercules which burns much less gas and is way easier on maintenance costs about $6,000 per hour. Of course, that's military money, so you can figure that private operation would be somewhat cheaper.


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