Operators of the SA315B, SA316/8/9 and SA341/2G have a dream of improvements that they know might never be achieved. Uwe Heins points out: "Once there was the backseat heating for the 318Cs. The dream machine: SA318 with 341G engine, gearbox, head, blades and instrument panel and 319 tail gearbox head and blades."
Roy Knaus of Heli Austria, who is unhappy with the maintenance support on the company's SB315B Lama, cites the high altitude performance as the best aspect and high component costs as the worst. He says that the most desirable upgrade would be LOM main rotor blades.
Heins is also unhappy with maintenance support on the SA313B. "The usables are on the market but, with special parts such as blades, gearboxes and turbines, you have to search," he reports. But Heins is very satisfied with the operating capability. "It's the only one with enough panes for aerial work, a plus for power line inspection." And he is satisfied with the value. "There are some half-timers on the market with wide spread expectations but, even so, some prices are very interesting," he says. "The aircraft is easy to handle if you use your fingertips only and is reliable and powerful. It can stand nine months out of 12 outdoors and every technician trained pilot is able to do the dailies which have to be done. The worst thing is that turbine support is non-existent and rotables are very hard to get."
Andrew Kane of Kane Haulage cites the lack of auto pilot and the "slightly dated" cockpit design as the less favourable features of his SA341G. But he says the aircraft is extremely reliable and the power to weight ratio is good. Kane is very satisfied with the value, maintenance support and operating capability and satisfied with the dispatch reliability.