Many factors must be considered when analyzing an investment as important as the acquisition of a helicopter. The following characteristics must not be overlooked when considering such an important purchase.
The first thing we have to think about is the primary use, whether it will be corporate, business transportation, air taxi, for filming, geological studies or construction. Wemustmake a list of all the characteristics we are looking for from this type of aircraft.
The main characteristics are:
Power: the power of the turbine with full safety; we must not confuse power with speed. Power is performance, safety and potency on all types of mission required at the operation sites and in the flight conditions.
Speed: a mission study is required that involves studying a series of variables to really know the speed that canbe reached by ourhelicopter, aswell as the sea level, number of passengers, type of climate, equipment and baggage.
Availability: ease ofmaintenance, quality of the aircraft, access to spare parts and repairs in the shortest time possible. Helicopters aremade for flying; they are notmuch use on the ground.
Safety: there are three types of safety: operating safety, air and ground passenger safety and flying safety.
Flying: the helicopter must be designed so that the pilot has everything at hand and visible to be able to successfully complete hismission. Respect for the environment: the helicoptermust be quiet, clean and have a lowinterior noise level.
Ergonomic: the design of the helicopter must be pleasant and comfortable, easy and safe, with a large cabin to create the largest interior space in the smallest exterior space.
Comfort: the craft must have good cabin space, visibility with no vibrations. The luggage compartmentmust be as large aspossible andhelicoptermust have thewidest range of optional equipment.
Versatility: thehelicoptermust be able to operate on all flying conditions on differentmissions.
Cost: an awareness study must be conducted in order to establish the cost per flight time hour and maintenance in order to avoid surprises.
Once we have gathered together all this information, we must mix together the above 10 points in order to reach the most suitable configuration for eachuser. For example, in the case of a corporate helicopter for use in Mexico City, we need power due to the height of the city, where as speed is not so important because flights are short, as well as including a little optional equipment such as screens, fax, etc. We must have a lot of availability because it will be a very used helicopter and will be useless on the ground and therefore must be very safe because of its high flying time, with a reasonable level of comfort but without too much luxury.
Text: Enrique Rosas ± Photo: Eurocopter.