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Old 14-01-2014, 16:27   #16
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Re: Missing Sailboat

ERA Helicopters, LLC, maintains a large fleet of helicopters in Alaska with their smallest platform being the Eurocopter AS 350B2, a single engine turbine helicopter that leases out for $1950 per hour of flight time, including pilot plus fuel. The typical fuel consumption for this helicopter is 48 gallons per hour at an Alaskan average cost of $6.69 per gallon. That equates to approximately $2,271 per hour.
Maritime Helicopters, Inc., from Homer, Alaska, which has been in operation since 1973, operates three Bell Helicopters, a 206B-3 Jet Ranger, a 206L-3 Long Ranger, and Bell 407. These three platforms are the mainstay of their fleet. These conventional helicopters lease out for $995 to $1,875 per hour of flight time, including pilot, plus fuel cost. The fuel consumption for these helicopters is 32 gallons per hour for the 206B2 and 206B3 and 47 gallons per hour for the Bell 407 with the same average fuel cost as mentioned above. This adds $214 and $314 per hour respectively.

This is some market research I have been doing, hopefully can put things into a real world perspective. Now these are much smaller than what they use in SAR business. And they are not nearly as well equipped.
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Old 14-01-2014, 16:57   #17
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Re: Missing Sailboat

I can tell you that at the date of my retirement in 2002, the US Army's AH-64 units were budgeted approx $30,000 per hour to fly an AH-64A, and a little over $50,000 per hour for the Longbow (D) model Apache. These were operational costs that did not include acquisition or anyone's salary, operating costs per hour in parts.
Have you ever seen an antique helicopter?
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Old 14-01-2014, 17:16   #18
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Re: Missing Sailboat

I didn't read exactly what made their boat unseaworthy. I understand they had a "bad engine", and what exactly does that mean. Was the engine functional or not. Were they out of fuel? Was the boat taking on water? Had the crew run short of food and/or water? Were the sails in tatters? It would be nice if KHOU touched on these matters.
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Old 14-01-2014, 18:18   #19
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I was a bit curious about the fuel costs, and did some really rough math..

According to Wikipedia, the fuel capacity is 6450lbs. At 6.7 lbs pr gallon of jet fuel (not sure if this is even what they burn) that is roughly 1000 gallons of fuel. At somewhere around $5-10 gallon retail, a full tank costs no more than 10k, closer to 6-7k)

Wikipedia also says they can stay up somewhere around 6-7 hrs max@140kn. Typical operating range seems to be somewhere less than 5 hrs, presumably to allow for a margin on fuel. Regardless, assuming they are paying retail at the pump for grade a jet fuel, it's going to be something like $1000/hr.

Conclusion? Amortization, and the ongoing upgrades (including machine guns and armor!! ), salaries, maintenance, ground facilities, etc, etc appear to be 90% of the hourly cost quoted, whereas fuel is probably less than 10%.

Feel free to flame me on incorrect math/numbers/facts as they are very much napkin math without the benefit of a napkin. .
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Old 14-01-2014, 19:51   #20
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Re: Missing Sailboat

FWIW

I was evacuated from Fitzroy Island to Cairns Base in Queensland, Australia. Eventually there was a bill. It was for about $4,000 US. It included the pilot and a paramedic, and probably the total time involved would have been about an hour, but they had to get the crew to the helicopter, then the helicopter to the island (maybe 10 min. flight time, maybe 15, at most). The insurance we had at the time paid for it. This price compares very favorably with the cost of a land based ambulance trip of 30 min. in California.

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