timz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 7061 posts, RR: 7 Posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 14627 times:
Back in the 1950s, I mean. Here's Aviation Week for 24 August 1953:
[Headline on the article is "Big Copters May Replace DC-3s by '59"]
"Only six years away is the prospect of fleets of 30- to 50-passenger helicopter buses competing directly with surface carriers for shorthaul inter-city public transportation.
"That is the outlook projected last week by the Air Transport Assn.'s helicopter committee in a significant report, which fits together today's known copter factors with tomorrow's probabilities."
Presumably their biggest error was underestimating helicopter operating costs by some huge factor-- the report hoped a helicopter would have a "direct flight cost" per mile not exceeding "present twin-engine aircraft" on a 200-mile flight. Article doesn't say what "direct" means. How would a large helicopter compare with a twin-prop aircraft of the same capacity now?
So if they did get costs wrong, why did they have so little idea what they actually cost, in 1953?
OzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5454 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 14536 times:
There was a high profile crash in NYC (don't remember the date) that certainly didn't help. 'Copter service seems to go in and out of vogue at times, and these days would rarely be an option for except the most well-heeled travelers. I liked some of the VTOL concepts from the past, and sometimes wonder if such a design would be economical with today's technological advances.
Aesma From Reunion, joined Nov 2009, 8123 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 14351 times:
I'm no expert in helicopters but I would guess they suck far more fuel (maybe not a concern at the time), and need far more maintenance since you really want to avoid any mechanical difficulty, when a twin engined plane can lose an engine or a propeller or a gearbox without much trouble.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
frmrCapCadet From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1884 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 14155 times:
When I was off the coast of Vietnam in the late 60s I got lectured about not flying about for the fun of it in helicopters, and that most deaths in the fleet likely would be helicopter related. This is no longer true, helicopters are much safer, but I suspect that it came at a cost. Bettter engineering, materials, engines, transmissions. Helicopters are far more complicated and difficult to keep safely in the air.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1301 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 14123 times:
Helicopters also are a lot noisier - and it would add a lot of weight to shield the sound. The two times I have been on helicopters a muff style headset (either plain sound reduction ear muffs or communication set) was required. Talking with your seatmate in a normal conversation was all but impossible. I do not see that most passengers would be interested in that experience.
cal764 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 382 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 14022 times:
Remember the partnership CO and DL had with US Helicopter? Flights from EWR & JFK to Bridgeport CT, Wall Street, Manhattan and a few others..partnership ended prior to their merger with UA but it seemed valuable while it lasted, USH now defunct. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Helicopter
1. Fly to Win 2. Fund Future 3. Reliability 4. Work Together CO: Work Hard, Fly Right...
HAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2606 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 13552 times:
The basic problem comes from a clash between the human desire for something 'cool', and the costly reality. In concept, helicopters can do some amazing things, and if the cost was low & safety/reliability high, the sky would be filled with them. Unfortunately the reality is that they are complex, expensive, and require a whole lot of maintenance per flight hour. The safety factor has improved greatly over the years, but it'd done so at the expense of... expense. A 7-seat helicopter is several times the cost to buy, operate, and service than an equivalent sized airplane. It can do amazing things that planes can't do, but only if the owners really, really need that job done at the given cost.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
maxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1394 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13392 times:
Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 1): There was a high profile crash in NYC (don't remember the date) that certainly didn't help
That would be the New York Airways Boeing-Vertol crash on top of the Pan Am building in 1977.
The original helicopter airlines of the 1950s - New York Airways, Chicago Helicopter Airlines and Los Angeles Airways - all suffered horrific accidents due to catastrophic mechanical failures. But it was the imposible operating economics that did them all in.
Trivia question - what major U.S. airline operated scheduled helicopter service in 1954-55?
foxxray From France, joined May 2005, 447 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 12785 times:
Helicopters have their own market, SAR/Medevac, police, military, ENG... and they are complementary to business jets/prop.
But it is true that it is almost impossible to operate on scheduled commercial flights due to its high operating cost.
tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12710 posts, RR: 80
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 12287 times:
Quoting foxxray (Reply 12): Quoting ADent (Reply 10):
Safety is not as good as fixed wing.
Your source please ?
Pick the regulatory accident DB of your choice...helicopter frame crashes are far more likely (something like a factor of 10) than airliner crashes. It gets worse if you normalize by RPK because helicopters tend to fly less distance with less people.
As Tom as said, look at practically any database; accident rate (as in accident per flying hours) for GA helicopters is around 10 times worse than for GA fixed wing. Not sure about the commercial figures, guess it's similar.
tsnamm From United States of America, joined May 2005, 646 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9947 times:
This has always been a dream of aviation enthusiasts...large passenger helicopters, tilt wings or vtol aircraft operating from downtown to downtown...considering all the arguments about which airport is "more convenient" to this or that city or area, it seems that if it could ever be worked out properly, someone could make a lot of money with the idea. I would think business travellers would consider paying a premium for downtown to downtown city center service, that would save time and offer convenience. I was hoping there might be a commercial version of the V-22 that could carry passengers say from Manhattan to downtown BOS, PHL etc....however the noise issue is an environmental impact many of the futurists failed to take into account.One of many hurdles before such service could be considered....
EWRandMDW From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8600 times:
Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 11): That would be the New York Airways Boeing-Vertol crash on top of the Pan Am building in 1977.
I don't mean to be too picky, but that crash involved a Sikorsky S61. Another NY S61 suffered a tail rotor failure shortly after lifting off from EWR and crashed between 22L and 22R killing at least 3 people on board. That was ~ 1980.
My very first commercial flight was on a NY B-V 107 from EWR to JFK back in 1966. I have to say, 14 minutes flight time between airports sure beat 1 1/2+ hrs drive time between them, even 46 years ago!
foxxray From France, joined May 2005, 447 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7924 times:
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 13): Pick the regulatory accident DB of your choice...helicopter frame crashes are far more likely (something like a factor of 10) than airliner crashes. It gets worse if you normalize by RPK because helicopters tend to fly less distance with less people.
How many due to technical issue ?
Most of the accidents are due to pilot errors like on airplane... And i quoted " safety not as good as fixed wing" not as good as airliners... Fixed wing can be a PA18 or an A380 and the factor souldn't be of 10 !
I haven't run the numbers but, based on past reviews, I'd guess it's about 1/3 mechanical, 2/3 pilot error for helicopters...which is way more mechanical than for fixed wing.
Quoting foxxray (Reply 22): Most of the accidents are due to pilot errors like on airplane... And i quoted " safety not as good as fixed wing" not as good as airliners... Fixed wing can be a PA18 or an A380 and the factor souldn't be of 10 !
I agree that most are pilot error in either case but that's not helping you...helicopters crash more often in absolute terms and they have more mechanical failures (in both relative and absolute terms), all once your normalize for flight hours. That's still true even if you expand from "airliners" to "fixed wings". It may not be a factor of 10 for all accidents but the record is very clear that the helicopter safety record is not as good as fixed wing by pretty much any metric you can think of.
FVTu134 From Russia, joined Aug 2005, 176 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6430 times:
the cost part is simple. In an twin engine airplane, you have two engines, two propellers and maybe a bit of hydraulics for the gear etc.. Simple. Now count the moving parts on a helicopter, gearboxes, axles, blades, rotorheads, etc etc... all those parts are lifed to a certain number of hours (sometimes not even high). That brings parts replacement cost as well as maintenance hours to replace those parts.
As one who flies both fixed and rotary wing, I still think that helicopter pilots are probably more "aware". My grandmother could fly a C172, but she couldn't fly an R22 even though with a bit of training it is absolute fun to fly. I'm also one of those who would for most of the times chose an engine out landing in a helicopter over an engine out landing in an airplane.
who decided that a Horizon should be HORIZONtal???
: The real reason is that helicopters do not really fly-they just beat the air into submission.
: Sabena operated scheduled helicopter services for several years in the 1950s and 60s. At the peak they served a dozen destinations in Belgium and 4 ne
: Could the missions that helicopters are involved in also be a factor in the accident rate? Generally speaking it seems that helicopters are used in mo
: There is a scheduled Helicopter Service from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, run by British International. It isn't cheap (£110 day return, £190 pe
: Copter services are operating on some routes. For a long time, there has been a scheduled helicopter service between Helsinki and Tallinn: http://fi.w
: Yes, that's absolutely a factor. However, you can't really normalize for it because helicopters are doing those missions because of what helicopters
: Helijet (JB) has been operating scheduled helicopter service between Vancouver and Victoria, the British Columbia provincial capital on Vancouver Isl
: How many futurist visions arising in the 50's actually came into being, at least within the 20 - 30 yr time-frame projected? We now have things like w
: Another example is Sky Shuttle, which serves Macau - Hong Kong and Macau - Shenzhen. The real high rollers go by Sky Shuttle, while the hoi polloi ga
: exactly! lol...with the 120mph speed limits,and everyone dressed in silver Lost in Space clothing, and metal highways...the future's not what it used
: I was promised flying cars! Where are the flying cars?
: we have at least some of this in Germany already.....
: When I was a little kid in the 1950's I had a Golden Book about helicopters. The last page had a picture of a family pulling the family copter out of
: A helo mechanic explained the difference between maintenance costs of helicopters vs. airplanes. On helos, you are required to replace parts based on
: Considering half the drivers on the LIE? I'd go find a cave to live in!
: In regards to safety, most passenger planes have more that one engine, the helicopter has one rotor (most of the time and for the ones that have more
: Sigh Can you imagine what we missed out on. Insults- "Where did you learn to hover!, Clown school??" ads Aim the skids at the arches for a Big Mac. C
: Airplanes have life-limited parts too, and helicopters have on-condition parts. The balance is just skewed...helicopters have a lot more heavily load
: Isn't auto-rotation basically akin to gliding? You won't get as far, but it's not like the helicopter just falls out of the air in the case of engine
: I don't think accident rates are the problem - remember, back in those days airplane crashes were pretty common too. Today helicopters are much safer
: There are many multi-engined helicopters - they just use a transmission to power the rotor* from all the engines. An engine failure just leaves the o
: Only if the rotor, transmission and blades are still intact ... not always the case! Air Canada too operated a helicopter service, from YYZ to downto
: Ah, that makes more sense. I think I'm thinking of war-time failures... bullets/RPGs will often disable some important parts very easily...
: Like this? http://www.metro.co.uk/news/143793-row-over-william-helicopter-landing At the time, I recall one of the tab's referring to the Prince land
: In the early 70's there was helicopter service from BWI-IAD-DCA. I used it once to go from BWI-IAD to catch AF to Paris. Sat next to the captain and i
: AC didn't operate it themselves. If memory correct the helicopter was owned and operated by Canadian Helicopters Ltd.
: No, being just an experiment, AC would not have operated it. Canadian Helicopters didn't own the aircraft until 1990, I think it was run by Toronto H