Germany's Agrarflug-Helilift found the perfect solution to difficulties with outside maintenance contractors - they took the operation in-house. That was back in 1991 and since then, says senior pilot and operations manager Robert Rucker, the company has unsurprisingly been entirely happy with the service.
Agrarflug-Helilift operates six B205s in its Ahlen-based fleet of 33 helicopters which carry out a wide range of work ranging from freight and passenger charter to photography and film and from sightseeing and leisure to surveying and surveillance.
But the B205's strengths particularly suit it to aerial works and fire fighting. Rucker says: "We obtain our spare parts from Amsterdam and there are currently no big problems with Bell. The value of the B205 is rising because many people wish to acquire one. It is an extremely good aircraft for use in construction projects and better than the 212 or the 412 in aerial works because a single engine helicopter is easier for the pilot to control." Rucker says that the B205 is also ideal for fire fighting. Normally configured for 14 passengers, it takes 10 firefighters with full equipment. "The B205's lifting capacity is excellent,"
Rucker, also an instructor and examiner, adds. "I don't see that we need to press for very much improvement because the B205 very much suits our needs."
Operator respondents to EBAN's survey reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with maintenance support, dispatch reliability, operating capability and value. Robert Rucker and Roy Knaus of Heli Austria, who operates the 204B model, agree that the best aspects are the B205's reliability and simplicity.
Knaus, who flies the 204B model, says that the most desirable upgrade would be tailboom strakes and FastFin. The resulting positive would include improving the high-hot performance, crosswind capabilities and cruise stability and reducing drag.