timz
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Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:33 pm

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?

[Edited 2012-06-21 15:35:16]
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:51 pm

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.
Coast to Coast and Border to Border, Ozark Flies YOUR Way!
 
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seabosdca
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:58 pm

Quoting timz (Thread starter):
Presumably their biggest error was underestimating helicopter operating costs by some huge factor

There you go. There's a reason it's people like Mayor Bloomberg who like to use helicopters for personal travel.

The technology was new... with new technology, you're never sure how far you can refine it. They were too optimistic.

[Edited 2012-06-21 15:59:33]
 
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Aesma
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:26 pm

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
 
tonystan
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:40 pm

Real shame it didnt "take off", cos I would have loved to have flown in one of these....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9633v6U0wo
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
frmrCapCadet
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:18 am

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.
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2175301
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:30 am

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
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:58 am

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
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AR385
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:26 am

The Mi-8 says hi...

I´m not so sure what the OP means by "overestimating". In many roles the helicopter has been pretty successful and the only option.
 
HAL
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:04 am

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.

HAL
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ADent
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:33 am

Helicopters are expensive. Expensive to buy. Expensive to maintain. They burn more fuel.

Helicopters are slow - 150 is fast by helicopter standards.

Safety is not as good as fixed wing.

[Edited 2012-06-22 00:34:21]
 
maxpower1954
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:44 am

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
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:13 am

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.

Quoting ADent (Reply 10):
Safety is not as good as fixed wing.

Your source please ?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:00 pm

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.

Tom.
 
bueb0g
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:40 pm

Quoting foxxray (Reply 12):
Your source please ?

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.
Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
 
delta2ual
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:40 pm

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 11):
what major U.S. airline operated scheduled helicopter service in 1954-55?

Pan Am?
From the world's largest airline-to the world's largest airline. Delta2ual
 
spokemd
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:53 pm

Pan Am Helicopter Baggage Tag


Not sure if Pan Am ran the service in the 54-55 time period but they did have helicopter service. Did Pan Am run this or was it contracted out?
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WA707atMSP
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:00 pm

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 11):
Trivia question - what major U.S. airline operated scheduled helicopter service in 1954-55?

National, from West Palm Beach to Miami via intermediate stops.

Quoting HAL (Reply 9):
Unfortunately the reality is that they are complex, expensive, and require a whole lot of maintenance per flight hour

One of my friends summed this up succinctly, albiet a little overdramatically, with this quote:

"There is a reason why there are historic aircraft fly ins, but not historic helicopter fly ins".
Seaholm Maples are #1!
 
tsnamm
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:23 pm

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....
 
maxpower1954
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:21 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 17):
Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 17):
ational, from West Palm Beach to Miami via intermediate stops.

WA707atMSP gets the grand prize, as soon as I figure out what it is!

National operated a Sikorsky S-55 on the route WA707 mentioned above. Not only was it a money loser, but several communities served eventually banned the operation because of noise!

National helicopter schedules are at lower right corner of 1954 NAL timetable below:



http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/complete/na54/na54-2.jpg

[Edited 2012-06-22 09:30:16]
 
EWRandMDW
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:22 pm

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!
 
maxpower1954
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:57 pm

Quoting EWRandMDW (Reply 20):
I don't mean to be too picky, but that crash involved a Sikorsky S61

Not picky at all, I relied on my memory and was too lazy to look it up! Thanks for the correction.
 
foxxray
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:24 pm

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 !
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:14 pm

Quoting foxxray (Reply 22):
How many due to technical issue ?

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.

Tom.
 
fvtu134
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:40 pm

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.

FVTu134
who decided that a Horizon should be HORIZONtal???
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:58 am

The real reason is that helicopters do not really fly-they just beat the air into submission.    
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:17 am

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 neighbouring countries. I think it was the world's first scheduled international helicopter service.

Scroll to near the bottom of this page for more details and photos.
http://www.sabena.com/EN/Historique_FR.htm

Video footage of inauguration of Brussels-Paris service in 1957. They had a fleet of eight 12-seat Sikorsky S-58s which replaced S-55s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sC5jXQZEuA

And footage of the opening of the Brussels heliport in 1953 (S-55s then).
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/op...s-heliport/query/brussels+heliport
 
jamincan
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:09 pm

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 more dangerous scenarios (heli-logging, long-lining, offshore transport etc.).

That said, they are ridiculously expensive to operate. I forget the exact figure, but one of the pilots at a recent job mentioned a figure in the neighbourhood of $100-$200 for ten minutes of flying. Considering I've worked in exploration camps where they have had four of those things operating for as long as the pilots have hours to fly and daylight to fly in, they are an easy way to blow a budget.
 
starrymarkb
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:09 pm

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 period return) for a 20 minute flight but I am tempted to give it a try if I can afford it!  

To compare Skybus (Fixed Wing) charges £95 for a day or £120 for a period return to the Islands.
 
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AirlineCritic
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:41 pm

Copter services are operating on some routes. For a long time, there has been a scheduled helicopter service between Helsinki and Tallinn:

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copterline (sorry for the Finnish, but there is no other good description)
http://www.copterline.com

The copter takes 18 minutes to cross the sea. The fastest competing boat services take an hour and half, and cheaper boats take three hours. I've done this route once, it is very nice service but it does make your ears ring the whole day afterwards, even with earplugs during the trip. One way discount ticket costs start from somewhere above 100 €, regular tickets seem to be about 250 €.

Competing airline services take maybe half an hour, but then I have to travel to the airport which is further away and spend at least an hour there waiting. The Copterline service is easy; just a taxi to their base and if you are right on time, pretty much step right away to the aircraft. On the Tallinn side you can walk to the city center, in Helsinki you are a couple of kilometers away.

In 2005, fourteen people died when their copter crashed in the sea. But the flights have now been continued, apparently not quite with the same frequency and scale as before, however.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:56 pm

Quoting jamincan (Reply 27):
Could the missions that helicopters are involved in also be a factor in the accident rate?

Yes, that's absolutely a factor. However, you can't really normalize for it because helicopters are doing those missions because of what helicopters can do...having airplanes do those missions isn't an option. Helicopters are inherently more dangerous because of their mechanical and aerodynamic complexity, which is the price you pay for being able to do those missions at all.

Tom.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:07 am

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 29):
Copter services are operating on some routes. For a long time, there has been a scheduled helicopter service between Helsinki and Tallinn:

Helijet (JB) has been operating scheduled helicopter service between Vancouver and Victoria, the British Columbia provincial capital on Vancouver Island, for 26 years, using 12-seat Sikorsky S-76s. Current schedule has 6 to 7 daily flights Monday-Friday and 4 on weekends. I think it's more frequent in the winter when there's more business traffic. It's popular with business travellers with the Vancouver terminal adjacent to the city center and the Victoria terminal a 5 minute drive (compared to a half-hour drive in both cases to/from the airports...Victoria's airport is about 16 miles from the city center.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b5yZHiRXSHI
http://www.helijet.com/scheduled-services

Helijet's service competes with frequent float-plane service, in addition to the regular air service beween the airports, and of course the ferries.
 
robsaw
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:20 pm

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 wrist-watch and camera phones, but what ever happened to those cool, atomic-powered cars?
 
dfambro
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:47 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 31):
Helijet (JB) has been operating scheduled helicopter service between Vancouver and Victoria

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 gamblers take the ferry.

http://www.skyshuttlehk.com/
 
tsnamm
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:00 am

Quoting robsaw (Reply 32):
We now have things like wrist-watch and camera phones, but what ever happened to those cool, atomic-powered cars?

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 to be....
 
vatveng
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:51 am

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 34):
the future's not what it used to be....

I was promised flying cars! Where are the flying cars?
 
bwvilla
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:54 am

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 34):
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 to be....

we have at least some of this in Germany already.....
lhr-utc-lhr-sin-bru-cgn-sin
 
n5014k
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:51 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 2):
They were too optimistic.

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 the garage getting ready to tool around town. Imagine if all the cars on the Long Island Expressway were to be replaced by individual helicopters. Literally the sky was the limit in those days. The main thing missing in the book was the speculation that someday helicopters would be powered by nuclear energy.

Quoting ADent (Reply 10):
Trivia question - what major U.S. airline operated scheduled helicopter service in 1954-55?

There are some photos of the National helicopter service in the George Cearley book about National. I also recall Mohawk ran a scheduled helicopter service from the NYC area (I forget which airport) to the Catskills. It didn't last long.

I also flew on an Atlanta-based helicopter airline called The Time Machine. I used to take it between ATL and the Perimeter Mall area. This would have been in the early 1980's, I think. Great service, but I always was the only passenger on board (seated 4). It landed in the GA area of ATL and a shuttle ran you over to the terminal. I figured the light loads meant I had better use it as often as possible before it went under, which was pretty soon, as it turned out.
 
tp1040
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:07 pm

A helo mechanic explained the difference between maintenance costs of helicopters vs. airplanes. On helos, you are required to replace parts based on hours, on airplanes you inspect parts and replace if necessary.


I know that is it a simplistic explanation, but I understood the meaning.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:18 pm

Quoting n5014k (Reply 37):
Imagine if all the cars on the Long Island Expressway were to be replaced by individual helicopters.

Considering half the drivers on the LIE? I'd go find a cave to live in! 
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:29 pm

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 than one, it needs the other(s) to operate.) Even if a plane loses all its engines, it can still glide. In a helicopter, you can do some things to make the crash less painful, but you're pretty much screwed.

I know in the US military most of the accidents involving aircraft are rotary wing. I know that may be apples to oranges due to the mission and vulnerability, but I'm trying to get fixed wing myself... helicopters just have too many moving parts for my tastes
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
flyingcat
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:19 pm

Quoting moose135 (Reply 39):
Considering half the drivers on the LIE? I'd go find a cave to live in!

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.

Can you imagine teenagers trying to one up everyone by landing on everything from their principal's house to a houseboat during spring break.

Better yet imagine the show Jackass with helicopters.

Yup somewhere in some alternate universe Helicopters.net is booming.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:32 pm

Quoting tp1040 (Reply 38):
A helo mechanic explained the difference between maintenance costs of helicopters vs. airplanes. On helos, you are required to replace parts based on hours, on airplanes you inspect parts and replace if necessary.

Airplanes have life-limited parts too, and helicopters have on-condition parts. The balance is just skewed...helicopters have a lot more heavily loaded fatigue critical parts (tend to be life-limited).

"The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by it's nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter. This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to." by Harry Reasoner Feb 16, 1971

Tom.
 
jamincan
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:09 am

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 failure.
 
r2rho
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:23 pm

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 than back then, they still crash more among other things because of the type of missions the perform - typically risky places where no other vehicle can get to. But regular, safe, reliable helicopter passenger transport does exist - ask anyone who works on an oil rig.

The reasons helicopters haven't made it past niche applications into the mass air passenger market is mainly their operating costs and performance limitations. The ability to hover and VTOL is useful and very nice to have, but comes at a high price in terms of aircraft performance and operating costs. Where you don't need the hover & VTOL capability, a turboprop for instance can do the same or better mission, faster and cheaper. Just to give you an idea:

- Two GE CT7's at 1750shp power the CN-235, a tactical transport with up to 6t payload / 51 pax / 35 paratroops / 18 stretchers, 245kts speed, 390-1200nm range depending on payload (2700nm ferry).

- Two GE CT7's (T700 military designation) also power the UH-60, AW101 or NH90, among others. The UH60 can carry 1.2t internal cargo / 14 troops / 6 stretchers or 4t of external cargo, fly at 150kts, 320nm combat / 1200nm ferry range.

That's a hell of a performance price to pay for the ability to VTOL (operating costs aside) so you better have a good need for it!
 
rwessel
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:48 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 40):
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 than one, it needs the other(s) to operate.) Even if a plane loses all its engines, it can still glide. In a helicopter, you can do some things to make the crash less painful, but you're pretty much screwed.

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 other engine(s) driving the rotor. Actual rotor failures are rare.


*On multi-rotor helicopters, it's approximately universal that all rotors are driven from the same transmission (usually there's some drive shafts interconnecting things), so again a single engine failure leaves the other engine(s) connected to, and driving, all the rotors.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:00 pm

Quoting jamincan (Reply 43):
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 failure.

Only if the rotor, transmission and blades are still intact ... not always the case!

Air Canada too operated a helicopter service, from YYZ to downtown Toronto.

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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 45):
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 other engine(s) driving the rotor. Actual rotor failures are rare.

Ah, that makes more sense. I think I'm thinking of war-time failures... bullets/RPGs will often disable some important parts very easily...
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:35 pm

Quoting flyingcaT (Reply 41):
Can you imagine teenagers trying to one up everyone by landing on everything from their principal's house to a houseboat during spring break.

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 landing in Kate's 'garden' - lucky guy  
Quoting r2rho (Reply 44):
But regular, safe, reliable helicopter passenger transport does exist - ask anyone who works on an oil rig.

Considering the small number of people moved vs the frequency of fatalities, the numbers (and a lot of people in Scotland, Newfoundland, and Louisiana) challenge the safe and reliable aspect. When compared to the bad old says, it is certainly a lot safer. Also, when compared to just the 'regular' jobs the oil workers have, it is also fairly safe.
But as mentioned, a comparison to 'regular' shows quite a gap. It could well be that helo's in scheduled pax travel are indeed as safe as the airlines were 10 or 20 years ago, but that is not comparable to today's industry.
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RE: Why Did Everyone Overestimate Helicopters?

Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:22 pm

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 it was really exciting.

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