Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

Why does it cost so much to run helicopters?

I saw a guy on tv today, and he was talking about how much it costs to run helicopters when they are searching for people in the ocean. He said that it costs $3,000Au. per hour to run each helicopter.

To anyone who knows anything about helicopters, do you think that's true? The people who do the searching do it free of charge, so the cost is literally only the running of the helicopters. I just can't understand what could possibly cost $3,000 per hour.

Anyone know? Thank you.

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Firsly, helicopters are very expensive to buy. They are also very mechanically complex and extremely thirsty. A large helicopter may require 4-6 hours maintenance for every hour of flight. Insurance for these machines has gone through the roof in recent years. Even the manufacturer has to calculate in Liability insurance. Replacement parts are prohibitively priced. Pilots are expensive. Pilot training is costly and is being upgraded constantly. Then you have storage and airport administration fees. As you can see there is a lot more involved here that just starting 'er up and taking it out for a spin.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Expensive Helicopters

  • 1 decade ago

    To answer your question why helicopter cost so much to operate is very simple. Helicopter has all kinds of moving parts the produce vibrations at different rates know as IPS (wave length). Because of the vibration it shakes parts and they ware out sooner than on a fixed wing aircraft this is why they are required to be changes at a certain time. We call these parts "time limited" or "Life limited" and most part have a time life on helicopter like rotor blades, gear boxes, bearing, pumps and etc.

    Because life limited parts have to be tracked by flying hours it takes lots of man-hours to track all of the parts, which adds to the cost of doing business. These parts are changed out and overhauled again adding to the cost.

    Helicopters are a special flying machine and require pilots and mechanics to have a lot more training than on fixed wing aircraft. All of these factors add up to make the cost of operation hour’s cost more than fixed wing aircraft. This is the short answer of course fuel burn is a lot more on helicopter because of the design, but they are used for a different purpose.

    Source(s): A&P/IA Senior Parachute Rigger Aviation Author
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Helicopters require a lot of fuel, and they are mechanically complex, so purchase and maintenance isn't cheap. A small helicopter can be run for considerably less than $3000 per hour -- but won't be big enough to pick up survivors of a disaster.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    helicopters exist because of rotation. rotation ALWAYS produces vibration. Vibration produces atrition. atrition is the key element in the costeffectiveness of helicopters.

    there are more parts rotating and exposed to vibrations which need to be checked and replaced. while the plane typically flies its entire career with ONE set of wings, the helicopter needs to replace the rotor blades periodically. and the examples could go on.

  • 1 decade ago

    Maintenance, cost of the machine, fuel, etc...

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