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Md 500?

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The 500 is a great 'working' helicopter, but not very comfortable.

Fast, strong and usually smooth, but not much fuel range unless you have the extra tank installed behind the back seat.

Very good for slinging jobs etc.

If you are using it for crew moves, make sure the crew isn't in there for more than a few minutes......there isn't much space back there, and quite noisy.

The cargo pod on the belly is basically a necessity for most jobs, unless you are just focusing on sling work, and won't be hauling much stuff with passengers.

The fourth passenger is squeezed into the middle of the front seat.....not very practical unless they are quite small.

Overall, a great work-horse.


The 206 is called the "Chevy pick-up" of helicopters because it does everything reasonably well, with good reliability for many years now.

It's not as strong or as fast as the 500 but it is a lot more comfortable for passengers that have to ride more than 5 or 10 minute trips.

The fourth passenger rides in the middle of the back seat......it's a little tight, and has a limited view, but is better than the 500's set-up.

But it's still no limo....if you want better comfort you'll have to look at other types than either of these two.

Reasonable sized baggage compartment, and good fuel range if you fill the extender....but you'll have to kick a passenger or two out.

Overall, a good all-round light helicopter.


They are both comparable at altitude and hot days....neither are great, but it also will depend on which model of 206 or 500 you get.


Some reports say the 206 is better at autorotating, but the 500 frame is better in a crash.

These are fine points that could be argued about forever.......and not something that should be a major factor in selecting a brand.........unless you plan on having alot of engine failures and/or crashes !!!!

So much of the outcome of these events depends on many other factors than rotor design or frame structure. Hopefully it won't ever be an issue to deal with...........


Both are reliable, safe helicopters when they are used for what they were designed and certified to do.

Each one will do it's job well, but remember these are very different machines and usually do quite different jobs.


Hey guys, what did I miss ??

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ive always said...flying the 500 is like wearing a glove...you think it, an your there. very snappy an responsive...a pleasure to fly. The fallers love it cause they load the pod from the front( rather then leaning out over the end of the pad on a 500ft dropoff to load the 206 baggage comp. an it verticals very well out of some the deep holes you find yourself in on the west coast. also a very steady platform for any longline work you might have to do.

"the ferrari of the helicopter world"

i havent flown one in quite a few years an im sure others will argue against it....but personally, im a big fan of the 500.

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Guest Bullet Remington

Good post, OT.


The only other thing I would add, the D model 500 will sling about 180 lbs more then the E model.


Operator's I've been associated with will tend to gravitate more to the D model, while corporate folks will like the E model more.


I guess the corporate folks kinda like the noes of the E model better?

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Mattie......you are trying to compare apples to oranges. What are your customer needs and or demands? The type of work, geographical area(s), external loads, internal cargo, speed, distance, scheduled or casual, support, etc, etc. The point is, the formula can be more complex than the very basic questions you have asked. Some excellent points have been made on the posts here, i would suggest you gather as much info as possible from experienced operators and or consultants if are venturing into new territory or a new business venture that you are not overly familiar with.......happy aviating :up:

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I have flown Astars, Jetrangers and 500's on seismic for years. I have to say that for the right jobs, the 500 is unmatched for dollar per bag production for the customer.


The type of seismic we did was mostly Heli-assist though, and we kept the turns down to 3-4 km where possible with the use of trailers. If you had a job with crew moves and long long distances flown with bags the Astar would be better. We found that if a guy was comfortable with the jetranger, he could go smooth and fast on it, but when you put the same guy in a 500 running a heli-picker... It's just hard to match the effortless and nimble control feel of the Hughes.


If you aren't doing production long-line work, the only other area the hu500 really shines is in popping into very tight unprepared confined areas. With the door off or a bubble window, you just lean out and you can see your tailrotor and everything behind you. The landing gear also will stick you to almost any uneven surface beautifully.


From my experience the hughes 500 will require more tender loving care maintenance wise. Really check into the issue with the blade root cracking too.


In the real world, we usually kept our loads down to about 900-1100 lbs. The little angry eggs just don't lift like they used to about 6-7 years ago due to the lack of MD blades. (for some reason the newer PMA blades don't lift the same out of translation.)

If the helicopter is being abused torque wise, you will most likely start to find blade cracking.


Another thing to note is, I always had alot of trouble with 500's temping out on me doing mountain work in the summer if it got really hot out with no wind. They are great in the winter though.


One machine I have always thought would be hard to beat in that nimble production environment is the hughes 530F, but I am only speculating since I have never worked one.


In my honest opinion, If I was looking for a machine for this type of production work. I would try the 530F. If I was to pick up a Jetranger for seismic, it would have to be gutted out and very very light.


I guess you might not even be considering seismic, but I hope this gives you some insight into what the machines can do.

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  • 3 weeks later...

:) I found the 530F a great aircraft for what is was designed to do....high altitude ops. I used one in the Sierra Madres in Mexico a few years ago. Worked it on a drill job in +40 C temps up to 7,000'. With the shear rock faces to deal with ,the small rotor diameter was a necessity.

The aircrafts main stay was shake blocking on the west coast for many years, we had some outstanding pilots that loved to fly it. It proved to be a reliable, cost effective machine for us. If someone offered a 530F job, I would not hesitate to fly one again..... :up:

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