How much does a cheap helicopter cost

FAQ generalHow does a pilot control a helicopter?For this you need both hands and both feet. Non-stop. A helicopter is aerodynamically largely unstable and therefore you can practically never let go of the controls without a Stability Augmentation System (SAS), autopilot or a second pilot. This makes handling cards extremely difficult or even impossible. Small helicopters (including training helicopters such as the Robinson R22 or Schweizer 300) usually have neither a SAS nor an autopilot. How expensive is helicopter flying?Unfortunately, flying is generally not cheap. Flying a helicopter is even more expensive than flying with a fixed-wing aircraft. A "cheap" turbine helicopter like the Bell Jet Ranger costs around USD 500 in the USA and around CHF 1000 in Switzerland per flight hour. There is also the flight instructor: USD 30 to 40 in the USA and CHF 60 to CHF 100 in Switzerland. Significantly cheaper are helicopters with piston engines (such as the Robinson R22 or Schweizer 300). Here you can get away with around USD 130 and 170 per flight hour in the USA or around CHF 400 in Switzerland (plus the cost of a flight instructor).What happens in the event of an engine failure? Does the helicopter crash?No. Like a glider, a helicopter can fly without a drive. Not too long, of course. But it is enough to land the helicopter safely (so-called autorotation). Are helicopters safer than "normal" planes? Although a helicopter has considerably more "vital" parts than a fixed-wing aircraft, it is technically hardly less safe. Statistically speaking, however, helicopter flying is much more risky. The reason for this, however, is not due to the more vulnerable technology, but mainly in the way in which helicopters are used: Close to the ground, in difficult terrain and often in bad weather - all risk factors. Is it more difficult to fly a helicopter or "normal" aircraft?One can argue about it. However, it is undisputed that the initial difficulties with helicopters are significantly greater. While with fixed-wing aircraft one has the impression of making progress after a short time, a similar impression with helicopters usually arises much later. The first 10 hours of helicopter flight are usually experienced as rather frustrating. How does a helicopter fly compared to a fixed wing aircraft?To cut a long story short: the greater the forward speed of a helicopter, the more similar the fixed wing aircraft and helicopter become. The flight behavior of a helicopter in slow flight or even while hovering has little to do with that of a fixed-wing aircraft. Probably the most piquant difference from an aeronautical point of view lies in the fact that a fixed-wing aircraft always reacts immediately to a control input (no dead time). A helicopter, on the other hand, has a clearly perceptible dead time (delay) (at least in roll and pitch). This fact makes flying a helicopter considerably more difficult. In addition, in contrast to normal civil aircraft, helicopters are aerodynamically unstable: In a trimmed-out fixed-wing aircraft, the flight position never gets out of control even if there is no control input - with helicopters, on the other hand, control inputs are required nonstop, otherwise the helicopter gets into an undesirable or even dangerous flight position relatively quickly. Where is the boss sitting?In contrast to fixed-wing aircraft, where the commander (and also the student pilot!) Almost always sits on the left, the pilot in the helicopter usually sits on the right. The student pilot is also sitting in the helicopter on the right. However, the helicopter pilot often sits on the left side (especially when flying with external loads).Is flight experience with a fixed-wing aircraft an advantage when learning to fly a helicopter?In any case. Although a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft have clear differences, they have a lot in common. In contrast to non-pilots, pilots of fixed-wing aircraft already have certain skills that are also required for helicopter flying (e.g. flight attitude assessment, mastery of the "man-machine control loop", familiarity with the flight environment, basic aerodynamic principles, etc.)Can you touch the ground with the main rotor or the tail of the helicopter when maneuvering?You can! Very easily. Reason enough for the flight instructor not to "park" his hand more than a few centimeters away from the controls near the ground as long as the student is flying!FAQ trainingHow expensive is helicopter flying compared to "normal airplanes"?"Beginner" helicopters like the R22 or Schweizer 300 cost between USD 130 and 170 per flight hour in the USA or around CHF 400 in Switzerland. "Entry-level" aircraft such as the Cessna 152, 172 or Piper PA-28 cost between USD 50 and 70 per hour in the USA or CHF 200 to 250 in Switzerland. How much does training to become a private helicopter pilot cost compared to a private airplane pilot?Until you are the proud owner of a private pilot's license for helicopters, you put around 2 to 3 times more money on the table than for a private pilot's license for fixed-wing aircraft.What does the training cost until you acquire a private pilot license for helicopters?In the USA around USD 10,000 to USD 20,000.What does a student pilot learn to fly with?The most common are the Robinson R22 ( and the Swiss 300C / CB ( helicopters.