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Old Bell Mediums

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My company has just bought a 205 with very high airframe hours...The drive train is midlife and apparently it looks clean and tidy. (It won't be here for another 6 weeks or so)


I didn't think much about it at the time, until another pilot looked at the specs and photos and said he's not going to fly it..


I said why and he said it's too f...... old


Which got me thinking!...I'm used to old bell mediums as its pretty much all I fly these last many years and they're all well into middle age.


Now I started flying UH1 airframes in the late 60's and I'm coming pretty close to retirement and it looks like I might retire flying more or less the same machines I started out with.


I haven't had any problems myself that I would say are specifically age related, more I'd say are work related in the sense that we did a lot of logging with them and still do from time to time and it's not the easiest life for a helicopter.


I'd appreciate the feeling from you experienced Bell people out there. How many hours is too many?


Does anyone know the highest airframe hours on a 205/204/212 ?



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Back in the 70s when I worked for Bristow in Egypt, we had a Bristow Australia 205 comeing up to 25K at that time. Bristow had several 212s that were up to the 25-30K mark. Quite frankly, if the airframe has been well tended to and there is no corrosion, you can keep throwing good components into them and they are still one of the best workhorses around but logging with them is another story.



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I think the T.T.A.F is not really a good indicator of the quality of the machine. There are not too many old 204, 205, 212's out there that haven't been crashed and rebuilt out there anymore. The 'new' Eagle singles are basically brand new ships, but still have the previous airframe time. A few ships out there have seen the jig more than once and throw in the usual new or overhauled drive gear, and you have a safe if not 'new' machine. Even some of the yellow/black 205's from Abby were not total wrecks, just ugly.


Age in years and hours flown are compensated by good maintenance.

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Hey Splitpin,


I had two snag-free summers on some of those old machines. They treated me very good indeed! Paint is only skin-deep, 'ugly' goes to the bone.



Absolutly right on AH!! I have a few seasons under my belt with the Yellow-Birds. Very seldom is there a problem. Not like some places I"ve worked were you get stung with a scheduled major component change right in the middle of a flap. Got sent out once on a job (205 from P.G.) Arrived on the job with 4 hours left on the swashplate. Back to Foreskin John that night to change it!! ARRGHH!

The problem with the Yellow-Birds is they are rapidly being replaced with 212's that are painted a normal Bell colour. WTF is that all about!! Come on Bruce, what ever happened to tradition?? :D:D:D

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