r44 vs jetranger vs eurocopter

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As I am taking my instruction for a rotocraft rating, I enjoy flying the R44. Some of my
earlier preconceptions may be less valid about the safety of the lower inertia rotor and the
piston vs turbine engines.

For the criteria of safety and reliability and operator ease (hence more safety), would you
rather have a r44, a jet ranger, or a smaller eurocopter?

I am thinking a used 206 vs a new(er) R44.

-- david p, February 7, 2008


The JetRanger and the R44 have very similar rotor inertia. The power failure rate in the 206 is not as low as you would think. Small turbine engines are not that reliable and the transmission is pretty exotic and therefore failure-prone.

That said, I think there is no question that the 206 is more rugged (the military ones get shot at all the time). If it has been very well-maintained it is probably a nicer ship than tan R44 but maybe at 3X the operating cost.

The EC120 would be the nicest of all, probably, but expect some downtime due to airworthiness directives, waiting for parts, complex systems, etc. Eurocopter does not do well in customer satisfaction surveys, except in the category of "innovation".

Is the price difference for the 206 over the R44 worth it? Apparently the market didn't think so, since Bell recently announced that they were discontinuing the 206.

-- Philip Greenspun, February 11, 2008

I only have R22 time no R44. I owned a 206b for 3 years and an Enstrom for 5 years. I put 500 hours on the 206 and 300 on the Enstrom. The Jet Ranger is the safest single engine flying machine ever built. However I did have an engine failure in it. I am an A&P so do all my own work but still had to take the engine to a shop. The jet turns very fast and gets vary hot. They do quit. Remember TT straps every 2 years and I think the yoke is still 10 years. The Enstrom is FAT (overweight) and needs a mechanic owner to do well. The great thing about the Enstrom is that they glide like a plane. Autos to the ground are a no brainer.

-- Len Schmader, August 13, 2008

What a great dilema to be in, I have flown R22s H300s H500s Hiller Bell47 and Bell 206s on a varity of tasks, I have never owned my own aircraft but out of all the machines I have flown the Jetrangers IMHO probably is the most suitable for private ownership if you can afford it, I have only done a couple of hours in the R44 so really can not say too much about it. I used to spend nearly 7 hrs flight time a day doing power lines in the Hughes 500 and the 206 and the 206 was definatly the most relaxing. Always away from base the 206 just seemed to be the most consistant for me as a pilot and passenger comfort. Hey good luck with your flying hope this helps

-- Steve Coombes, August 22, 2008