How many built6? How many operating?

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How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:28 am

Might anyoen have an estimate how many Brantlys were built?

How many are estimated to be operating today?

How many have crashed with fatalities?

Thanks in advance for infor or links.

Scrap
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby N2285U » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:15 am

Scrapper,

From your posts I will assume that you are new to helicopters in general. I would suggest if you do not have a rotorcraft rating yet that you get one in an R-22, Brantly, etc and then decide what is right for you.

The Brantly is a great little helicopter, but most of them are 40+ years old and most of them have questionable maintenance at best. They do require some unique knowledge to keep them maintained properly and most owners do not seek out proper maintenance since the helicopter is relatively "cheap" compared to others out there. To give you some examples... Most people do not grease the Formsprag enough and that can be a problem. Also, many ships are signed off illegally since the formsprag clutch is over the 600 hour time limit and a new one is $5k. Outer baldes tend to crack around the inboard rivits and the skin on the triling edge can be damaged by ham-fisted mechanics installing the blades. The dampner attach points can be oblong as well if the dampners are bad or not torqued properly. The bearings in the main blades need to be installed corectly and properly greased every 25 hours. Tracking the main rotor is not a problem for someone that knows what they are doing; however, many people are unfamilier with the Brantly and will tab blades instead of fixing the real problem which could be bad bearings in the blades or something else.

The clutches are often neglected as well and if the engine is started with the clutch stuck engaged you will be more than likely buying a new set of 404 blades for $30k or so or will have to buy used and questionable 202 blades. These engines also run pretty hot and have a 1000 hour TBO with most helicopter needing a top overhaul well before that.

The helicopter is slightly underpowered if you are running hot and heavy and it is the loudest piston helicopter on the planet - period. The low slung blades take some getting used to also. With 2 180 LB people and fuel fuel on a 90 degree day you will struggle to get off the ground.

With all of that said, a properly rigged and maintained Brantly is a joy to fly when flown with care. It will not forgive you if you push it past it's limits like a Bell 47 or Enstrom.

Get the rating and fly some different models and buy the helicopter that fits your needs. Don't let price be the only factor.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:20 pm

N2285U- I thank you very much for your generous and extensive input. I am extra very new, not hiding that, and exploring. I grew up a few miles from a neighbour who had one and have romantic bias. Your themes strike cords and reinforce some my evolving thoughts. I can imagine the aficionado owned crafts are well used, needing big work & for sale as those folks want to move to another, and crafts not used much not being properly maintained, low budget. I have owned a ‘73 BMW Bavaria, use a 1959 JD tractor, like old fixable machines but don’t want to play those games in helicopters.

I have the Brantly bug and my criteria is not so much to spend less to start, but maybe less over time. R22s seem so high rebuild, etc. It maybe hard to find but I am thinking a later model, under 10-12 yrs old and will gladly pay for thorough review. Did you say rotors only go 1000 hours? I was already thinking $35-40k / 2200 hrs for rebuild, would rotors be in addition? To laugh or cry!! I understand the frame isn’t rebuilt?

I will be sure to get some rides on various 1st and I will consider your advice re getting a rating prior to purchasing. New might be feasible, but would hate to wreck it.

Open to all advice and commenst from anyone.

Much thanks,
Scrapper
* I may give you a call if that is ok.
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby N2285U » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:34 pm

Scrapper,

Actually, the engine is 1000 hours, but it probably will not make it that far. The blades are 2500 hours and they make make it that far if they do not crack or get too much play at the dampner attach points. You mentioned wanting to haul a wife and a small child. I would suggest an Enstrom 280F or Enstrom 28F since they have 3 seats and a 225 HP turbocharged engine that will hover IGE at 12k and OGE at 8k. If you don't need 3 seats and are flying in relatively low density altitude locations then a B2B might be the right machine.

If you take an honest look at what it costs to run any fully articulated helicopter you can figure on $60-$100 per hour not including AVGAS. This includes scheduled and unscheduled maintenance along with parts reserve. Go to Enstrom's website and look at their price break down for direct operating costs. It works out to roughly $160/hour which is probably correct. What they don't include is insurance which is extremely expensive for a helicopter - probably around $7-$10k per year for a $100,000 machine. Fly it without insurance and screw up once on a dynamic rollover or strike a rotor balde, lose a tail rotor, etc and you are out your entire investment.

Also, I think I read where you would fly 15-20 hours per week. At that rate you would be flying 10x more than anyone else flying a Brantly or just about any piston powered helicopter. You would be rebuilding the engine every year and would be replacing the $5k formsprag every 7 months or so. You would need new outer blades every 2 years or so for $30k and would have to find new inner blades somewhere in 3-4 years.

I think if you really think about it you will probably fly 100 hours or less per year.

You have to remember that these machines were $20k back in 1960 when a new Chevy was $1500. You could have owned a new Ferrari for $10k back then. A 1960 Ferrari requires special maintenance and parts that are hard to find such as spark plug wires that cost $3k. A Brantly is no different. It is a $200k machine now and just because it is only worth $40-$50k it still requires the expensive maintenance.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby N2285U » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:39 pm

Had to make another post so I could read what I was typing. I have a 1972 Beechcraft Baron B55. A new Baron is $1.2 Million and mine is woth about 85% LESS than that; however, it requires even more maintenance than the new one. To give you and idea of how stupid stuff can be a new landing gear motor is $30k. A new Flap motor is $12k. Each switch for the landing lights, etc. are $130 each. Repairs start in the thousands. You don't even change the oil for less than $250. These old aircraft require a lot of maintenance to be truly airworthy.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:05 pm

N2285U N2285U – Again, much thanks. I have researched the area I will be operating I, expect 2-3 trips / mo, found distance less than expected, 60 mi one way & occasionally 90. Add in a couple for recreation, probably ~ 7-8 hours / mo.

1000 per engine rebuild! Not questioning it but how can a Chrysler 6C Van go 200k and a Brantly just 9k? Is it the strain of turning rotors and RPM variation, or what ? I can see it all coming, will need to up the budget and show my wife a fake one!

If I were independently wealthy and an top engineer I would devote the rest of my life attempting to engineer a more maintainable light helicopter. But, alas I am neither!

+++ Anyone, what are the odds of finding a B2B under 8 yrs old or 4 ?

TIA
Scrap
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby fixnfly » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:10 am

The last i knew Gary Goldsberry had a 2001 for sale with about 500 hrs total time.
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby N2285U » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:30 am

The reason why your car engine will go 200,000 miles with only light maintenance is due to the fact that it is rated at 180 HHP, but only uses about 50 HP most of the time. When you drive your car you do not hold the pedal to the floor for the first 2 minutes of driving and then cruise at 130 MPH using 130HP consistently. Also, your car is liquid cooled with unlimited air supply to cool the oversized radiator in the front of the vehicle. The liquid cooling keeps your cylinder head temps at 200 degrees in your car which in turn keeps your valve guides and seats happy since the aluminum heads do not weaken and let the valves get out of position and burn. Your car can have a heavy liquid cooled system since weight is not the primary concern

In a helicopter (or airplane) you only have air to cool the heads and the cylinder head temps can reach 400F+ which weakens the aluminum up to 70%. When the cylinder heads weaken the valve seats and guides fail and the valves may hold open during the ignition cycle which will burn the valves. Liquid cooling in a helicopter is not usually a good alternative due to the weight and complexity of the design needed to obtain adequate cooling. In your helicopter you are using nearly all 180HP to hover and for the inital climb when operating near gross weight. In cruise you will be using at least 100HP and probably closer to 120-130HP most of the time. The fact that these engines last as long as they do is really quite amazing considering they operate near maximum all of the time. Your car engine would not last 50,000 miles if pushed as hard as an aircraft engine is.

One way to get much longer life out of an aircraft engine is to fly it lean of peak (LOP) EGT; however, this is not practical in a helicopter since you rarely cruise long enough with a set power to take advantage of the LOP operation. In airplanes when running LOP you can reduce your cylinder head temps from 400 to 325 and only suffer a 2% reduction in airspeed while saving 15-20% in fuel burn. Your internal cylinder head pressures go down from 1100 PSI to 700 PSI when LOP and the highest pressure is obtained at TDC when LOP vs 15-20 degrees before TDC when flying rich of peak (ROP). With lower cylinder head pressures and much lower cylinder head temps running LOP the aircraft engine will last much longer. It is incorrect to state that burnt valves are due to running to lean. In fact, 100 degress ROP is the worst place to run your engine. You want to be 150-200 ROP or 20-50 LOP for best engine life. WIth the helicopter you are just about forced to run ROP.
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:29 pm

Much thanks, expected something like that. I am guessing an aware operator that can reduce highest engine speeds when feasible might add a couple of hundred hrs to engine life? I know it isn't easy but would love to see a solution or something mitigating,
IE a 220 HP engine in the new one.

With some business background, what I worry about regarding the new owner getting going, is scale. Sadly in this age, 50 craft at 200k is only ~ 10 million gross. I know parts help, but that is a small business from which to pay Ins. payroll, research, space, let alone materials etc al.

I think they need to build a 225k machine, market it, develop the cult and sell
200! Even that is just ~40 million.

Suppose one finds a late model, low hours for sale, isn’t it possible the rotors were switched with an older craft? Other things as well? Can part #s be verified?

TIA Scrap
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby N2285U » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:03 pm

You made a good point - revenue. I think the biggest problem with Brantly is the fact that they never upgraded their B2B design after the B2B conversion from B2. A newer machine is exactly the same as a 1964 machine except for some window dressing. The noisy exhaust is still there. The engine is still underpowered. The seats are still the same, etc. Robinson revolutionized the helicopter market with their machine and made improvements along with way. They then brough out a successful 4-place machine and now are in the turbine market. They forced the customer's hand into maintenance by timing out the whole helicopter forcing the customer to rebuild the whole machine.

Enstrom continually upgraded their machine since 1964. They redesigned the cabin, upgraded the engine with a turbo, redesigned the cabin again, then added even more power, brought out a sportier looking version and then offered a quiet muffler. They also brought a turbine into the market.

Brantly built the same thing an offered nothing in the form of improvements. They really need to put a turbo and a muffler on the thing and build it a little bigger. Then it just might sell.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:19 pm

airport.com shows 259 registered Brantlys in the US, ~ 60 in Britain.
But there are so few later models, I assume that can’t be right?

FAA registry shows just 177 Brantlys unless I am missing something.

Vs 900 or 1300 produced, seems like there would be more still in operation?
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby 9121u » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:57 pm

I have bin trying to figure this out for years. I came up with about 20 of theme b2 b2a b2b flying. and i am thinking on the side of this .most of the brantlys registered don't exist any more.you'll find that out when they have to re register aircraft . i was told they want to clean up the data base over time. i have called a lot of old brantly owners.that was still registered.most said i junked that along time ago.do more research you can find out any thing.you want.we need more comments on this subject. keep them flying be safe tom
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby J-nut » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:44 pm

Harold Jenkins would be the guy to ask. He's worked on a lot of the Brantly's at one time or another. A lot of aircraft that are wrecked or scrapped will remain on the databases. People just don't bother changing their status. Many of those you may find are just a logbook and a dataplate. That's one thing to look for when you go shopping for an aircraft. Just because it's advertised as a newer aircraft may not mean much. If it's a rebuild, it may have a bunch of parts from an older aircraft so only the airframe may be new. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing if the parts are low time and have traceability. Then again it may be an older aircraft with a dataplate off a newer machine. Unscrupulous sellers have been know to do things like that. :roll: A careful look at the logbooks will tell the tale. I've rebuilt a few helicopters over the years and have seen it all. I'm sure you know but a careful pre-buy by someone knowledgeable about the machine is mandatory!!! Don't get suckered into using the seller's mechanic either :?

Don't be scared off by an older machine either. A lot of these Brantly's have very low hours on them and if you can find one with most of it's original parts that's been maintained well, it could be a good deal.

I think you'll find the TBO on the Brantly engine is due to the lack of data on these engines. What I mean is that there are just not enough engines that have flown enough hours for Lycoming to determine if a TBO extension is warranted. I would imagine someday it might be extended to 1200 or 1500 hours like the Schweizer's. I highly doubt it will ever become 2200 like the CB's or R22's due to the fact that it just works too hard. You would have to have a more powerful engine derated to be able to get to that kind of TBO.

Now, as to the fact that most of these engines never reach TBO. I suspect what you will find is that a lot of these machines just do not fly that much. That's the worst thing you could ever do to an engine. Especially one that works so hard. Any degradation in performance will be immediately noticed, hence so many top overhauls. Back when we ran Hughes 269's, we often operated them right at max power in training scenarios all day long. We regularly ran them 300-500 hours over TBO. Most of the private owners never even made TBO. They averaged maybe 100 hours a year, we were averaging 600-1000 hours per year. That along with mandatory 2 minute cool downs and regular oil changes really made the difference. We ran iridium plugs too. They'd make TBO as well and in all those years I only had one plug fail. They'd be full of oil and still fire! Just the thing you want when you need all the power you can get. :mrgreen: Those little Lycomings are real beefy. Remember, just because you are running near max RPM doesn't necessarily mean you are at max power. True, in the Brantly you are going to be asking a lot but once you get moving and up into cruise you are going to be operating at reduced power. Unless you are planning to be doing mostly hovering at high gross weight you may not be so hard on the engine as you might think.
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby Brad Bowles » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:14 am

I'm know there are more than 20 that I can count now. There are several owners that are not active on the forum. Gary had 6 b2b's and the only flying 305 that I know of. This was a few months back and Harold has always had 2 or 3 at his place every time I see him. I know of at least 5 flying in Texas now this does not include Paul's, at least 2-GA, 1-CA, 5-PA, 1-NY, 1-TN, 1-FL, 4-OH, 1-KY. This is just off the top of my head. There are several others on the list I am seeing also. When you talk to Harold or Gary they always talk about others you never hear of on the forum. Harold said the serial #'s do not reflect the true # made. There are several that I have seen in the back of hangers in the past not sure were they are now but would have been rebuildable. It is amazing what Harold and Gary have put back in the air in the past. Harold does some of the best sheet metal work I have seen. 2 ship's I thought were destroyed they were able to rebuild and you had a hard time telling if they had been damaged at all. I know of at least 4 ships that are damaged this could be done with. These are the ships that could be deregistered but may fly again. That is what makes it so hard to figure this out. They also change ownership often so the FAA web site may not show new owners or they may not have registered them if they are being rebuilt. I know of at least 1 this way being put back together now. There are also a few over sea's flying. I asked the same question when I got mine and joined the forum. It seems like every couple of month's another 1 comes up. Wings INS. Has about 10 they insure now. I am not sure how many Falcon insures. So that does not help. I am thinking over 50 still flying and that may be low also.
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Re: How many built6? How many operating?

Postby scrapper » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:58 am

much thx to all.
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