Why Transport a Helicopter on the Road?

Helicopter Trucking

Trucking your helicopter may seem like a radical innovation to some, after all, helicopters are meant to fly right? Of course they are, for any helicopter company (Helicopter leasing, logging, tourism, etc.) you need your birds in the air in order to generate revenue.

However, what about when you are not generating revenue? For example:

• Regular maintenance
• Delivering a new helicopter to a customer
• Any other “empty” miles

For example, if you operate a passenger service, any time you are not carrying passengers you are paying the following costs without generating any revenue:

• Fuel
• Pilot(s) time
• Depreciation
• Component time

As you know, after a certain number of hours your helicopter will require regular maintenance in varying degrees. Not to mention any un-scheduled maintenance for breakdowns. You need to maximize the amount of profitable hours you are putting on your helicopter.

Actual operating costs vary depending on the type of helicopter, its age and where it’s being operated. According to Bell Helicopter, the direct operating cost for their fuel-efficient 206B JetRanger, is around $250 – $300 USD per hour (factory estimates). However if you take into account the indirect costs, you are more likely looking at around $500 – $600 per flight hour. This number could increase exponentially for a less efficient and older style helicopter.

So why transport a helicopter on the road and when is it appropriate? A pilot might tell you that a helicopter should always be flown, but the owner of the company who is paying for every hour of flight time, might have a different answer.

The primary purpose for shipping your helicopter on a truck is to extend the productive flying time of your aircraft. Bottom line, the less it is in the air while not generating business, the better your aircraft ROI will be. Some other benefits of helicopter shipping include:

• No pilot fees for relocation
• Maximize the productive time on high-value components
• No weather interruptions

This article is the beginning of our mini-series on maximizing your helicopter ROI. Periodically we will release articles that show exactly how much you are paying for each flight hour, and the costs associated with unproductive hours.

Helicopter shipping is a specialized service that cannot be performed by the average trucking company. It takes a specialty carrier with years of experience in the helicopter industry in order to ensure the safe transportation of your most valuable assets.

– Shaun Haagen, International Machine Transport