Should You Purchase A Robinson R-22 For Helicopter Flight Training?

Jan 31, 2024

Exploring Helicopter Ownership: Insights from a Private Pilot's Journey

The Dream of Flight: Chris Nelson's Path to the Pilot's Seat
For many aviation enthusiasts, the dream of flying is often matched by the cost and commitment it entails. Helicopter Online Ground School (H.O.G.S) recent episode with special guest Chris Nelson sheds light on this subject through his personal journey. He dives deep into his decision to purchase a 2006 Robinson R-22 for helicopter training, weighing the purchase price against the expected maintenance for the hours he intends to log.



Understanding the True Cost of Ownership
Chris knew that alongside the purchase price, an equal amount would likely be necessary for maintenance. This consideration is crucial for any prospective aircraft owner. The conversation highlighted the importance of planning for the long haul and ensuring a robust budget to cover all operating costs, including storage, fuel, insurance, and maintenance.

Kenny Keller, the show's host, reiterates this perspective, sharing his own experience with underestimating maintenance costs. Keller stresses the necessity of having a significant financial safety net.


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Training and Logistics: A Stepping Stone to Success
Nelson's training journey began with an introductory flight at Summer Skies and extended to Jerry Trimble Helicopters, where he obtained his private pilot's license. He spoke of the 'two steps forward, three steps back' nature of his initial training schedule. His solution? A full commitment to flying, supported by a family that understands and shares his passion.

Purchasing the Aircraft: An Exercise in Meticulous Research
The Robinson R-22, equipped with an instrument package, became Nelson's choice. This helicopter not only facilitates his IFR training with dual Garmin G5s and integrated GPS but also represents his commitment to his future in aviation.


The Road from Private to Commercial Pilot
After successfully passing his private pilot check ride, Nelson plans to meet his hour requirements, complete a commercial check ride, and work on obtaining an instrument rating. His strategy encompasses rigorous training and an acknowledgement that obtaining a private license is merely the start of real-world learning.

Prioritizing Safety and Thoroughness
Both Nelson and Keller emphasize the necessity of patience and attention to detail in flight training. From meticulously following a pre-flight checklist to understanding the dynamics of cockpit management, there's a clear consensus that rushing can compromise safety.

A Sustainable Approach to Helicopter Operation
It's evident that Nelson's choice to own an aircraft goes beyond mere convenience; it revolves around a far-sighted approach to cost management, safety, and proficiency. Keller advocates for the merits of leasing over ownership for many, but acknowledges that Nelson's diligent planning and execution set a model example.

The podcast episode ends by touching on the comfort and reliability of the Robinson helicopter when properly maintained. Moreover, it promotes and emphasizes the wealth of resources available to aspiring pilots.

Key Takeaways for Aspiring Aircraft Owners
- Scrutinize the cost of ownership and establish a generous maintenance budget.
- Realize that the acquisition of a pilot's license marks the beginning of a deeper educational journey.
- Prioritize safety, patience, and precision in all aspects of flight training.
- Have an exit strategy for aircraft ownership to manage long-term costs effectively.

By sharing Nelson's story on 'H.O.G.S.,' the episode provides listeners with a realistic yet inspiring account of helicopter training and ownership, paving the way for informed decisions in the skies ahead.