bell 206 operating cost per hour

What is the Bell 206 Operating Cost Per Hour and the bell 206 engine overhaul cost? The average operating cost for a Bell 206 is $350-$400 per hour which includes fuel, oil, engine maintenance reserve and rotor maintenance reserve. Bell 206 operating costs and bell 206 price are fairly straightforward and they are less expensive to operate and maintain that similar helicopters. Bell 206 operating costs are typically broken down by hour and include, fuel, insurance, tie-down or hangar storage fees, regular maintenance inspections, and landing fees. Typical 206 operating costs average about $375 per hour depending on a wide range of variables.

Bell 206 Operating Cost Per Hour

Fuel costs

The 206 burns about 30 gallons per hour with Avgas typically costing about $6 per gallon, hourly fuel costs for the Bell 206 run around $130-$180 per hour.


Depending on whether you just carry Liability coverage or Full Flight Hull Coverage, this cost will vary, but it typically runs between $2,000 for liability only or $11,480 including $400,000 in hull coverage. per year, which adds about $35-$50 per hour depending on the amount of total hours flown in a year.

Tie Down/Hangar Fees

Depending on whether the aircraft is hangered or tied down at an airport, these fees will typically run between $100-$300 per month.

Regular Maintenance Inspections

Bell 206 operating costs should include money set aside depending on the amount of hours flown for regular maintenance and inspections. Depending on the age and condition of the aircraft, these costs typically range between $15-$30 per hour.

Landing fees

Most small airports don’t have landing fees, but most of the larger and controlled tower airports do, Landing fees are typically a very small amount of the hourly operating costs of the 206 and depending on the airport and amount of landings, can range anywhere from $80-$200 per year.

bell 206 engine overhaul cost

It’s probably the most recognizable helicopter in the world. You’re familiar with it – you’ve seen it flying for news stations, police patrols, ferrying VIPs, and you military types call it the Kiowa. It’s the Bell 206 JetRanger family of helicopters, and it would become the most successful commercial helicopter ever produced.

The Start of the Bell 206 JetRanger

The U.S. Army needed a new light observation helicopter after the Korean War. Helicopter design was rapidly progressing during the mid-20th century so the Army issued Technical Specification 153 – a list of capabilities for this new helicopter. It had to be able to fly an attack role, escort, transport personnel, and perform observation duties. Bell, Hiller-Fairchild, and Hughes all submitted prototypes. Hughes was eventually declared the winner in 1965 with the OH-6 but that didn’t stop Bell from developing its prototype for commercial use.The Bell YOH-4A protoype

The Bell YOH-4A protoype

Bell’s prototype, the YOH-4A, wasn’t particularly attractive. It had a giant bulbous nose, boxy frame, and the engine & transmission compartment sat on top of the helicopter as if they were separate from the helicopter. This image works for the Army, but not for civilian sales. The fuselage was streamlined throughout and the new helicopter design was designated the Bell 206 JetRanger, after its successful predecessor the piston-powered B47 Ranger. The JetRanger had seating for four, in addition to the pilot, and some decent cargo capacity.

Delivery of the Bell 206 JetRanger

First deliveries of Bell 206A started in 1967. The first JetRangers were fitted with the 317 shp Allison 250-C18 engine and would later be upgraded, first in 1971 with the Allison 250-C20 and then in 1977 with the 420 shp Allison 250-C20J. Transmission design imposed a maximum 317 shp limit for all engines but this still gave the JetRanger a useful load of nearly 1,500 pounds. These engine upgrades redesignated the helicopter to the Bell 206B JetRanger II and the Bell 206B3 JetRanger III, respectively. Other than the engine upgrades, really the only other change was an increased tail rotor on the 206B3 to counter the increase in torque. Bell designed the 206B3 JetRanger III to be easily converted from JetRanger IIs if owners desired to do so.

The U.S. Navy purchased the 206A in 1968 as a helicopter trainer; this became the TH-57 Sea Ranger and would eventually be replaced by the Navy with 206B3s for both VFR and IFR training.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Army also came back to have another look at the 206A. They would replace the OH-6 with the OH-58 Kiowa in 1969, only four years after eliminating the earlier design. In the mid-1990s, the Army also selected the 206 as their primary helicopter trainer to replace the Huey, and this VFR/IFR trainer was designated TH-67 Creek.

The Many Variations of the Bell 206 Jetranger

The Bell 206L, the LongRanger, was first delivered in 1975 due to client demands. The LongRanger featured a fuselage stretched and additional 2 ½ feet and had an extra row of seats in the club configuration, increasing seating capacity to six plus pilot. This model was also equipped with larger fuel tanks and a bigger loading door to accommodate cargo and medical stretcher loading.

The original LongRanger, however, used the same engine as the JetRanger and left it underpowered for the increase in loading capability. So the LongRanger L1 was introduced with the Allison 250-C28 500 shp engine, but this engine required more maintenance and airworthiness directives than operators wanted to deal with. The next model, the L3, featured the more reliable and more powerful 250-C30P 650 shp engine. Transmission limits imposed a 435 shp reduction, but this left some room for the LongRanger to operate at high density altitude. To improve on this, Bell beefed up the transmission and introduced the L4 in 1992, increasing the limit to 490 shp. LongRanger L1s and L3s upgraded to the L4 were redesignated the L1+ and L3+.

LongRangers can also be converted to twins with the Gemini ST program, which received FAA certification in 1991. A few years later these upgrades were certified as a single/twin, meaning that these helicopters can safely operate with either one or two engines throughout all flight regimes.

Bell also produced a small number of TwinRangers as completely new builds. Production of these twins started in 1990 but ceased after 13 aircraft were produced, to be replaced by the Bell 427.

Performance of the Bell 206 JetRanger

The many missions flown on the Bell 206 airframe speak to its capabilities, from training to flying attack missions in combat.

The 206 sits fairly low to the ground on tubular skids, making it easy to load passengers and cargo. A passenger can sit in the front left seat next to the pilot, but dual flight controls can also be fitted at this station for two-pilot operation and training. Leather seats and options for gold-plated seatbelts appeal to the VIPs. Two adults will be very comfortable in the back of the JetRanger, and only three may be comfortable in the back of the LongRanger despite the seating for five. The rearward-facing second-row seats are a tad close to the third row and results in some bumping knees. But the pilot cabin is very open and spacious with good visibility except for straight below, which makes sling-load operations more difficult without bubble windows on the doors (available for the JetRanger only).

The 206 doesn’t have any of the fancy electronic engine controls found on some of the more modern turbines, and this is surprising for a helicopter still coming off the production line. Engine starting requires some throttle modulation and careful attention to the torque and temperature in particular, but it’s not something overly complex. The 206 has more than enough power in standard conditions and the 206BL4 boasts a 1,340 fpm climb rate and hover out-of-ground effect up to 6,500 feet. The numbers for the 206B3 are only slightly less.

One common complaint amongst almost all of the LongRangers is the underpowered tail rotor. I noticed this myself while flying tours around Lake Tahoe in an L4 in density altitudes nearing 10,000’. It does require some smart flying – or I should say not doing anything stupid – in order to safely handle a fully-loaded tour helicopter. Takeoffs and approaches must be made into the wind while minimizing any left-hand turns to avoid over-torqueing. Still, with this said, it has all the capability it needs so long as you don’t need a full fuel load.

Bell 206 JetRanger in flight by a rainbow

Pilots transitioning from smaller piston helicopters will notice a slow response on the flight controls – but as far as turbines are concerned, the Bell 206 JetRanger is actually very responsive and nimble, again one of the reasons why it was chosen to perform the many missions it has seen in its lifetime. It just makes sense for missions such as aerial cinematography and law enforcement pursuit.

In Conclusion

Well over 7,000 Bell 206s have been produced since 1967, including both civil and military versions – outnumbering any other commercial helicopter. The 206 offers a low purchase cost of around $1 million and low maintenance costs of less than $200/hr, making it a very affordable helicopter for operators and contractors such as aerial photographers. The 206 with the Allison (now Rolls Royce) engines give it the best single-engine safety record for helicopters. One version or another of the Bell 206 has served in military or law enforcement roles in over 40 countries.

The Bell 206B3 had a great run, but it just saw the end of production and was replaced by the new 505. The L4, however, is still in production at the Bell facility outside of Montreal, Canada.

Specifications (Bell 206L4)

Crew: 1

Capacity: 7 persons including pilot

Length: 39 ft 8 in

Rotor Diameter: 33 ft 4 in

Engine: 650 shp Allison 250-C30P turbine, derated to 490 shp

Max Gross Weight: 4,450 lbs

Empty Weight: 2,330 lbs (approx.)

Useful Load: 2,120 lbs (approx.)

Fuel Capacity: 110 gallons

Max Airspeed: 130 knots

Cruise Speed: up to 120 knots

Max Range: 370 nm (approx.)

Max Endurance: 3 hours 45 minutes, no reserves

Max Operating Altitude: 13,500’

It is an interesting time for not only space travel, but private aviation, too. While larger and larger jets are flying farther and faster, smaller personal jets and enthusiast aircraft are thriving as well. And let’s not forget the vertical takeoff and landing craft that shifted into hyperdevelopment mode. There’s never been a more exciting time to be airborne.

Bombardier Global 7500

Robb Report's Business Jet of the Year 2019, Bombardier Global 7500

Bombardier Global 7500. Courtesy of Bombardier

After much anticipation, the first Bombardier Global 7500 business jet entered service in December of 2018—and to positive fanfare. Since coming on the scene, the 7500 has wasted no time in breaking as many records as possible. At press time, these include distance (between Singapore and Tucson, Ariz.) and speed (between New York and Los Angeles). While performance for a private jet got an upgrade, so did comfort—the Bombardier Nuage chair with its free-floating base is the first true seat revamp in 30 years for the private aviation sector. The 7500 accommodates 19 passengers, has a range of 7,700 nautical miles (8,861 regular miles—say, from LA’s Van Nuys Airport to Dubai or San Francisco to Singapore, among many other pairs) and has a top speed of Mach 0.925. Even the crew gets a posh boost with a private seat that fully reclines for sleeping and is separated by a privacy door. The flexible cabin plan could include, for example, a master suite with queen bed with storage and an en-suite bathroom with shower; a media room with sofa that can become a bed (more stash space underneath); a dining and living/conference area (with a table that folds out for six); the crew rest suite across from the galley (with all the secret hideaway drawers and popup stow slots as well as an oven and sink for fresh preparations); and another forward bathroom. This jet really has everything you might need for that ultralong-range flight.

Controlling sound, movies, blinds and lights—from any seat or bed— just got easier with a state-of-the-art pop-up dial with an OLED display. This dial, named the “nice Touch cabin management system,” is part of a platform developed in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik. And it’s pretty cool—as is the Ka-band satellite communications for fast internet speeds. There’s no doubt that the world’s largest and longest-range business jet lives up to the hype.

Bell Nexus

Robb Report's Best VOTL Concept 2019, Bell Nexus

Bell Nexus Courtesy of Bell

If anyone is going to truly take a vertical takeoff and landing (VOTL) concept to market, our bets are on chopper experts Bell. With seven decades of experience as a helicopter manufacturer, and as the builder of the V-22 Osprey and the V-280 Valor tiltrotor military aircraft, Bell carries cachet among the new and established companies developing vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that also fly horizontally like an airplane. So while you can dismiss some of the recent VTOL concepts as pies in the sky, you can’t do that here. The Bell name lends credibility to the four-passenger hybrid-electric VTOL, which features six 8-foot-diameter ducted fans that tilt to make the instant transition from vertical takeoff to horizontal flight. Plans call for the Nexus to initially be flown by a pilot, but eventually it could fly autonomously. The craft will have a range of about 150 miles and a top speed of roughly 150 mph. It will be small enough to take off from and land on most helipads. Bell hopes to begin flight tests with a prototype in 2023 and have the Nexus in service by the mid-2020s.

Bombardier Challenger 350

Robb Report's Best Super-Midsize Aircraft 2019, Bombardier Challenger 350

Bombardier Challenger 350 Courtesy of Bombardier

For those who need their private jet to be able to cross the country (or the Atlantic) on the regular, the Bombardier Challenger 350 has been the business jet of choice, averaging more than 60 deliveries annually in its first four full years of service (2015 through 2018), many going to NetJets, Flexjet and other private-aviation companies that appreciate the reliable, workhorse nature of the Challenger 350 and see its $27 million price as a solid investment. You just couldn’t fly into airports such as Aspen or London City because of steep approaches or shorter runways. But the aircraft’s capabilities and cabin comforts seemed to outweigh that negative. It has a range of nearly 3,700 miles, a max cruising speed of 548 mph, and room for 10 passengers. The cabin is just over 25 feet long, 6 feet tall and 7 feet 2 inches wide. The standard configuration seats eight passengers in two sets of four comfy club seats. Last year, however, Bombardier enhanced the Challenger 350 so that it could receive steep-approach certification. Now it can land at (and take off from) airports that used to be off limits. The latest version of the aircraft needs less than 2,400 feet of runway to land.

Cessna Citation Latitude

Robb Report's Best Midsize Jet 2019, Cessna Citation Latitude

Cessna Citation Latitude Courtesy of Cessna

The Cessna Citation Latitude was the third most-delivered business jet in 2018, behind the Cirrus Vision Jet and Bombardier’s Challenger 350. In its own midsize class, however, the Latitude was out in front, with 57 handed over last year, up from 54 in 2017. While three more wouldn’t seem like much in other sectors, when you’re talking about a $17 million piece of kit, each and every one is significant. Desire for the Latitude is growing.

Perhaps it’s because its flat-floor cabin has six feet of headroom. Or maybe it’s that 22-foot cabin’s ability to seat nine passengers. The pressurization system gives the feel of flying at 5,950 feet when the jet is actually cruising along at 45,000 feet. With four passengers, the Latitude can fly more than 3,100 miles without stopping at its 513 mph max cruising speed. Garmin’s G5000 touch-screen avionics with synthetic-vision technology give top-notch guidance in the cockpit.

Airbus ACH135 Helionix

Robb Report's Best Helicopter 2019, the Airbus ACH135 Helionix

Airbus ACH135 Helionix Courtesy of Airbus Corporate Helicopters

Quick urban hops and jaunts to remote areas that don’t necessarily have an airstrip got a lot more luxe—and safe—last year. ACH, the Airbus corporate helicopters division launched in 2017 that’s dedicated to corporate and personal choppers, delivered the first ACH135 Helionix in September. The initial example features a five-seat configuration (plus pilot) with ACH’s sports car–inspired Line series interior. Most noteworthy is the bird’s avionics system, which was designed to improve situational awareness and to reduce the complexity of the system and number of displays pilots have to keep track of. It also has a more advanced autopilot system to make flying simpler and safer, including an auto hover “pause” button (ideal when faced with low visibility or busy environments), a “go-around” button (the ACH135 will automatically fly around and reposition itself on the best landing approach) and automated engine management (ensuring a smooth and safe flight even if one of the two engines fails). Two turboshaft engines power the agile aircraft to a maximum cruise speed of 137 knots and a top endurance of 3 hours and 39 minutes. The cabin offers up large windows for great visibility, as well as its corporate jet–style finishing, such as hand-sewn soft leather seats.

Embraer Phenom 300E

Robb Report's Best Light Aircraft 2019, the Embraer Phenom 300E

Embraer Phenom 300E Erich Shibata Nishiyama

The most-delivered light jet for each of the past seven years became even better in 2018, when Embraer began producing the Phenom 300E, giving the popular plane a tech and comfort makeover. Embraer redesigned the interior and installed, among other features, a new cabin-management and inflight-entertainment system by Lufthansa Technik. The system is housed in a panel that runs along the centerline of the aircraft’s ceiling and includes two 7-inch swing-down displays. Reading lights and fans have been moved into the panel to create more headroom above the seats. The panel also includes new ambient lighting. The redesign creates more space, specifically more aisle room (in addition to the extra headroom), while adding larger seats, which now have broader backs and extendable head and leg rests. The 300E, which is usually configured to seat six passengers behind the cockpit (but can seat up to nine plus pilot), has the same range and high cruising speed as its predecessor: 2,270 miles and 521 mph. (Base price: $9.45 million.)

Winch Design

Robb Report's Best Aviation Interiors 2019, Winch Design

Winch Design Courtesy of Winch Design

Founded in 1986 by Andrew and Jane Winch as a yacht-design company—both exterior and interior—London-based Winch Design has made a name for itself by creating bespoke aviation, yachting and land-based masterpieces, inside and out. This year, we applaud the studio for its custom-interiors concepts for Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Neo aircraft.

By employing irregularly shaped spaces within the cabin, with molded paneling and movable (but securable) furniture, the Winch team creates compelling, adaptable and livable spaces that inspire relaxation in flight but are at the ready to do business when the time is right.

Soft leathers, light-colored marble, natural shells, cream-silk carpets, rosewood accents and mother-of-pearl accessories—not to mention artwork—set a residential tone for the serene aircraft interior. Full-size bathrooms give the feel of home. Dare we bring the kids?

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic's First Flight Into Space

VSS Unity Studios

“It was intense and magical and serene and almost unlike anything anyone can imagine.” That’s how Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, described her trip as a passenger aboard VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic’s rocket-fueled space plane that, in late February, traveled beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into space for the second time—and for the first time with a passenger. If all goes as planned, anyone who can afford a $250,000 ticket won’t have to imagine what Moses described; he or she will be able to experience it. So far, more than 600 people have reportedly purchased tickets to fly aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane. It’s doubtful any civilians will make the trip by July 18, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 and the date by which Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has said he hopes to make his first space flight. However, the February flight was certainly more than just a small step for the company, which Branson established 15 years ago; it was a giant leap for space tourism. After flying VSS Unity 51.4 miles above sea level (NASA places the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and space at 50 miles above sea level) and landing it safely in the Mojave Desert in December, Virgin Galactic’s two pilots were joined by Moses for the February flight, which reached an altitude of 55.87 miles and a speed of Mach 3.0. Moses was on board to evaluate the space-flight passenger experience: the intense, magical and peaceful sensation of weightlessness and the sights of the curve of the Earth and the star-filled sky.

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