This website uses cookies
More information
Air bp
Air bp
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

Why visit ACE ’24?

Related background information from the Handbook...

Superior Air
Charter

Bell 407

BAN's World Gazetteer

Greece
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

Request your printed copy

Baggage space is at a premium but Bell 407 is an able performer for Superior Air
Greek operator Superior Air has been very pleased with its 1998 Bell 407, which it recently re-registered from Germany. The company is putting the helicopter to use on a long-term lease arrangement, having operated two other Bell 407s on lease contracts last year.

Greek operator Superior Air has been very pleased with its 1998 Bell 407, which it recently re-registered from Germany. The company is putting the helicopter to use on a long-term lease arrangement, having operated two other Bell 407s on lease contracts last year. Maintenance manager Kostas Apostolopoulos says the aircraft has been a solid investment: “The choice of a Bell 407 was based on the cost-effectiveness of the helicopter, and power. In the past we usually did flights with Robinsons so it is a very big difference and it's a whole different category – you cannot compare it to those helicopters. This Bell 407 has better flying characteristics and is better all-round than the Eurocopter EC120 Colibri we also have in our fleet.

“But the Bell has a really small baggage area which causes a lot of problems. It has less range because it burns more fuel than the Colibri. We have found that by separating the missions we can use both of them. If the baggage compartment of the 407 was better, if it was bigger – we also have an auxiliary fuel tank in the baggage – then I couldn't fault it. It is the only negative part of the helicopter.

“We have been operating 407s for three years now, and even though we've had mechanical and other technical problems with the helicopter, all of that was normal wear and tear stuff, which happens. We had no problems other than our only headache, the baggage.

“This year we have one 407 in the fleet. The last two years we had two. We also maintain the Bell 407s of another two customers, so we're experienced with this model.”

The main operation of the 407 is vip transfer, and there is also an EMS kit on board. Superior Air is at times required to carry people that need to go to hospital from the Greek islands. Apostolopoulos says that the aircraft does not compromise on performance, even when heavily-laden: “The best thing about this helicopter is that it is very powerful – you can load it up and take off without any problems. It is really powerful and it's fast. It's also very pretty for the customer and the cabin has a nice configuration. It's trouble free, that's the positive feature of it.”

The Eurocopter, which was added to Superior Air's AOC in May of this year, allows the company to run a diverse array of missions: “The EC120 is a bit smaller and carries less than the Bell, fewer people. But it is turbine also, so it covers a good section of the market. The Bell is a bit more expensive to rent, while the Eurocopter is between the Robinson and the Bell, in price and in operational capabilities.”

Superior Air is now harbouring twin engine aspirations explains Apostolopoulos: “I would say that our company needs a twin engine helicopter now. With twin engines there is not much profit due to high operational costs, but it's a market to which we cannot provide services right now. Twin engine is not really more safe than the single engine, but it gives a feeling of additional safety due to the second engine. It is a big portion of the market so at some point we are going to need to expand to that also.”

Other News
 
Superior Air adds capacity ahead of summer influx
June 5, 2024
Demand for inter-island travel keeps growing in Greece, and Superior Air has positioned for another busy summer by adding more brand-new helicopters to its AOC.