Newbie questions

MiguelSimoes

Newbie
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
2
Location
New York
Hi guys,

I've been reading on the forum for a while now and researching on the web reg the Helicycle.

The interest in it came from my impending need to commute from NJ to CT for work and the possibility of using a Helicycle for that purpose.

In concept the idea sounds v appealing. Would take me a steady 15-20 min each way vs 45-75 mins depending on traffic.

And the idea it goes to something that BJ Schramm seemed to have in mind when pushing his Helicyle: to have it replace the car on people's daily commutes. He even did the math for us (http://www.helicycle.com/Specs/Helicycle Turbine Specs.htm) and the cost part of it was pretty reasonable.

However, as I read through these threads, it seems like not a single person out there is using their Helicyle on daily basis (other than David Lyons...), and especially not for commuting.

Is it that the idea of using it for a daily commute just ends up not being practical? I can think of many reasons why that could be. Just am not sure if they are just things a newbie just doesnt know or actual problems.

Will leave a few of these questions in hope that you guys may shed some light on them for me

1) Night operation a no go? Especially in the Northeast, the sun rises late and sets early in the Winter and for a year round daily commute would have to be able to fly it at night.

2) Routine daily usage making it prone to safety issues?

3) No hangar to keep the helicyle properly stored while at work? Would prob have to leave it at the top of the building I work at in Stamford, CT.

4) Potential flight regulations that just make it impossible? My knowledge there is v limited.

5) Prohibitive costs? BJ Schramm's math on the cost side looked pretty reasonable. And saving 1-2 hrs a day is worth a lot too.

Would appreciate any help from you guys!

In concept it seems like people should be using it to replace their cars on their daily commutes but there has to be a reason why no-one seems to...

Cheers,
Miguel
 

Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
1,066
Location
Austin, TX
Aircraft
MTO Sport, R22/R44, Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbo, Bonanza B35-N (dead engine), Aurora Butterfly
Total Flight Time
800
Hi Miguel,

Disclosure: Although I am a helicopter pilot, I am not a Helicycle owner. A friend of mine, David Keck, bought the kit and built it expressly for the purpose of commuting, so thinking about his experiences I think I can opine a bit on the subject.

In your specific case, unless you are totally skipping your pre-flight, I would expect a very minimal time savings, if any. A proper pre-flight in the Robbie I fly is about a 15-minute affair if done methodically and un-rushed.

After the pre-flight, there is the startup/warmup time. I have seen videos where people are flying in about a minute...but I feel that they are rushing the process. If you watch any of Stans videos on here, I believe he is 2-3 minutes.

At the destination there is a shut-down time to consider...allowing the blades to spin down and such.

Other points to consider:

* Do you have PERMISSION to land on your building? I'm betting that the building owner/management will have a problem with you landing an experimental single-seat Helicycle on their building.

* Will you be able to secure the helicopter so that you're not worried about people messing with it while you work?

* If inclement weather sets in, will the Helicycle be protected? How will you get home?

* I believe your daily commute will cost you about 10 gallons of kerosene every day. Is it worth $175 per week to fly to work?


I am not trying to discourage you, I just want you to be realistic. I think for certain scenarios, the Helicycle makes an absolutely excellent and practical commuting machine.

For example, take a building contractor who has lots of projects underway over a wide area. It is very time-consuming to commute in a truck to each site, but in a Helicycle it's easy and very inexpensive, assuming he has the ability to land at his various sites.

My friend David intended to fly from Georgetown TX (20 mi. north of Austin) to his job in far south Austin, about an hour commute each way by car, probably 20 minutes in the Helicycle. To my knowledge, he never did it.

Good luck!

-John
 

hillberg

Super Member
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
5,296
Location
Low Earth Orbit
What is your time worth? :violin:The added time saved will add to productivity, Had a friend use a ( modified) Lohle 5151 to commute to work Corona to Hothorn On a bad day it took him 4 hours by land :boink:Good day 2 hours (one way) and only 35 45 minutes by air.
It's more than the cost of the flight But the Time saved to do other things other than sit in traffic, The landing set up at home & work can be worked out, The nite flight issues too, But the public perception is the fly in the ointment, How will the neighbors take it?:eek:hwell:

Had several guys that flew to work or to vacation spots :wacko:, and thats a nice way to go, beats driving behind a stinking bus at rush hour.:painkiller:
 

bryancobb

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Messages
5,044
Location
Cartersville, GA
Aircraft
Owned Brantly B-2b/Fly Kitfox III/Mini-500b
Total Flight Time
1350
I have been ther/done that. It was a Brantly helicopter and I flew it to work at least 1 or 2 days per week, year-round, for 3 years. The Brantly speed and operation cost is very similar to the Helicycle.

Here's my experiences:

* It is VERRRRY expensive. Even at 1x per week, my fuel bill was eating me alive. $600 to $1,000 per month.

* You are a slave of the weather. Many times unpredicted weather was to arrive in the afternoon, and I would have been trapped there with it raining on my helicopter, had I not flown home at lunch and driven my truck back.

* My Brantly had a cockpit heater, the Helicycle does not.

* My Brantly had a 50# baggage compartment and another seat that would hold my junk.
The Helicycle has neither.

* It's very time consuming. I walked out to my shop at 7:00 A.M. for a 7:45 departure for work at 8:00. In the afternoon, it took me 30-45 minutes to get it back in the shop and buttoned up.

I'm sorry but B.J.'s dream of the Helicycle being a "commuter," is not a practical reality. It is merely an expensive TOY just like my Brantly was. Now don't get me wrong! IT'S A SUPER TOY! It's just not a commute machine. I'm fat. I don't call it "plump" or "big-boned." I'm fat.

The Helicycle is a toy. Don't call it a "commuter" or "time-saver."

Unless you are independently wealthy, the fuel cost alone will wreak havoc on your checkbook balance. I LOOOOVVVEEE the Helicycle. I just want you to be realistic about what it is and what it's not.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
5,266
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
There's complicated airspace in your vicinity, but operating a helicopter there is pretty easy. The controllers will let you do most anything you ask for, if you stay low and you know how to ask, because you'll be below all the traffic that they're worried about.

If you're planning to fly in and out of your home in New Jersey, you need to check the current local regulations there very carefully.

When I was flying out of Linden (near Newark) many years ago, it was illegal back then even to make an approach to a spot that was not a state-approved helipad (and getting helipad approval was no minor task). Maybe the regs have changed since then, but I would want to be very sure. If you have to go to an airport on that end of your trip, you can kiss the time advantages goodbye.

NYC has a prohibition on rooftop helipads, following a nasty accident long ago. I don't know about Stamford; with Sikorsky's long history there the attitude might be different, but you would need to check with CT and city authorities, not just your building owner, to avoid problems.
 
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MiguelSimoes

Newbie
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
2
Location
New York
Thanks guys for your help.
I get the feeling that using a helicycle for commuting purposes would only really work in the South, where the days are generally longer, the weather is generally nicer (the mention one of you made to there being no cabin heating def resonated w me) and there is more space for taking off/landing, and likely less in the way of regulations...
Maybe one day, if I ever move back to the south!
 
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