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Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we provide information on a selection of new and pre-owned Single-Engine Turbine helicopters in the $1.07-1.9 million price range for the purpose of valuing the pre-owned Bell 206B-3 JETRANGER III helicopter.

We’ll consider the usual productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size - and cover current market values. The field in this study includes the MD 500E- Enstrom 480B- and Eurocopter EC-120B.

BRIEF HISTORY
Table A shows the history of the Bell 206 single turbine series helicopter starting in 1966. The 206B-3 Jetranger III replaced the 206B Jetranger II in 1977 and was produced right up until 2010. There are currently 1-956 206B-3 helicopters in operation- and 2-471 that were manufactured during that timeframe - the largest number of a single model of all 206 model series built.

The 206B Jetranger II aircraft could be modified to a model 206B-3 Jetranger III by the completion of Service Instruction 206-112 (including the installation of the Allison 250- C20B engine). One crew and four passenger seats are available on the 206B-3. Also- shown in Table A- the Bell helicopter 206 series makes up 65% of the 9-648 Bell Helicopters produced. Overall- Bell has produced 43% of all the Commercial Western manufactured helicopters (which totals 22-688- per JETNET records in November 2011).

PAYLOAD AND RANGE
As we mentioned in past articles- a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor. The data contained in Table B is published in the B&CA May 2011 issue- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. The Bell 206B-3 ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 208 pounds has the lowest payload capability in this field of study.

CABIN VOLUME
According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the Bell 206B-3- at 55 cubic feet- is larger compared to the MD 500E helicopter at 48 cubic feet- as shown in Chart A. The Enstrom 480B at 80 cubic feet has the largest cabin volume in the field of comparison.

POWERPLANT DETAILS
All models except the EC-120B in this field of comparison are powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C20 engine variant - the Bell 206B-3 utilizing a single Rolls-Royce 250-C20J powerplant. The EC-120B offers the highest power rating value of the field with 400 SHD a transmission from its Turbomeca Arius powerplant [transmission rating is a limiting factor in the total rated and usable engine power output]. The Jetranger III engine offers a transmission rating of 317 SHD- and the Enstrom 480B transmission rating is the lowest at 305 SHD.

Using data published in the May 2011 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2011 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our helicopters. The nationwide average Jet-A fuel cost used from the August 2011 edition was $6.04 per gallon at press time- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

Note: The fuel price used from this source does not represent an average fuel price for the year.

TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The ‘Total Variable Cost per hour’- illustrated in Chart B- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense- and Miscellaneous trip expense. The total variable cost for the Bell 206B-3 at $553 has about same variable cost per hour as the MD 500E at $554. However- the Enstrom 480B has a lowest variable cost in this field of study at $478.

PRODUCTIVITY COMPARISONS
The points in Chart C center on the same group of helicopters. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA 2011 Purchase Planning Handbook. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:

1. Range with full payload and available fuel;
2. The long range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.

The result is a very large number so for the purpose of charting- each result is divided by one billion. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight- but when all turbine helicopters are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters- but serious helicopter buyers are usually impressed with Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size.

After consideration of the Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size- we can conclude that the Bell 206B-3 Jetranger III helicopter- as shown in the productivity index is productive among the other helicopters represented. Also included in the productivity chart is the Bell 206L4 Longranger IV helicopter that shows the continued improvement in the next successive

Bell 206 series helicopter model. The Long Range Cruise speed- Cabin Volume- and Maximum Payload values from Conklin and de Decker and B&CA magazine are shown in Table C for all the helicopters in this field of comparison. Also shown in Table C is the B&CA price for new helicopters (where applicable) and the average retail used prices are from Aircraft Bluebook.

The last two columns of information show the number of helicopters in-operation and percentage “For Sale”. The last column shows the average monthly number of sales transactions in the past 12 months. As shown- the Bell 206B-3 helicopter leads the field in VFR range at 270nm with the maximum payload and available fuel. Also- as of the end of November 2011- there are currently 117 (or 6% of the fleet) for sale with a monthly average of 12 sold. That’s the most sold- based on a monthly average compared to the rest of the field in this study.

BUSINESS TYPE
Table D shows the ‘Top Four’ usages by business type of the Bell 206B-3 helicopter. The ‘Top Four’ business types account for 91.1% of the most common uses for the Bell 206B-3 helicopter. End-User-Owned and Charter companies account for almost 82% of use between them. They also account for 96 out of the 117 (total) Bell 206B-3 helicopters that are currently ‘For Sale’. The remaining percentage of usages comprised Air Sprayers- Leasing Companies- Dealer Broker- Flight Schools- Air Tours and more.

LOCATION
Chart D shows the location by continent for the Bell 206B-3 Jetranger III helicopter. North America has the majority with 57% of the Bell 206B-3 helicopters followed by South America (11.9%) and Europe (10.7%). Combined these three locations account for nearly 80% of the fleet.

SUMMARY
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that helicopter operators value. However- there are often other qualities such as service and support that factor into a buying decision- and are beyond the scope of this article.

The Bell 206B-3 Jetranger III helicopter fares well against its competition - so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Bell 206B-3 Jetranger III helicopter will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market.

For more information: Michael Chase is president of Chase & Associates- and can be contacted at 1628 Snowmass Place- Lewisville- TX 75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.com

Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get them answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to: editorial@avbuyer.com 


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