News Flash: I am NOT a Helicopter Cost Consultant

File this in the Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot file.

Yesterday, I got the following email message from someone I don’t know:

as of this date if i were to buy a used R22 with approx a 1000 hrs on it how much would the total operating costs be per hour if i were to fly 100 hours a year including reserve money for future overhaul

Yes, I did write a blog post in December 2010 titled, “The Real Cost of Helicopter Ownership,” where I detailed the actual operating costs of my R44. But does this guy honestly think I’ll make the same calculations for any helicopter for anyone who asks?

Regardless of what he thinks, the answer is no.

5 thoughts on “News Flash: I am NOT a Helicopter Cost Consultant

  1. Maria-
    I have been so fortunate in my career to have reached the point I have. Most of my success is due to hard work, study and putting up with the crappy jobs in order to build up time to get hired by a major air carrier. I have to admit that some of my success is due to, simply put, a bit of blind luck. Part of that luck is contributable to someone speaking up for and recommending me for a particular flying position somewhere in my distant past. Because of the help of these friends, acquaintances and previous employers, I was able to attain a job interview or was able to get a foot in a previously closed door. Ever since those kind people decided to help a very junior aviator, I have made a point of trying to carry on the “tradition” of helping those who follow in my footsteps.
    I know you are probably hounded daily by many people who pose questions pertaining to the aviation industry and I imagine it gets to be a bit much at times. I do think however that you may have come down a little heavy on that person inquiring about operating experience. Personally I would have felt a bit flattered that someone would ask a person who has been as successful in her field as you have. You know from years of experience a lot about the economics of running a helicopter business and I think helping to figure out the costs involved would not have been a time consuming venture.
    I think more people than you realize look up to you and respect you very much, as I do. Whenever there’s an unfortunate accident such as the recent Reno Air Race mishap, I am bombarded by questions from those I know about my opinions on the subject. Yes, it gets a bit much, but I do realize that my friends think I am an expert (?) on all things aviation-related, so I do my best to be patient with them as I know they are simply curious.
    Thank you again for the wonderful articles you provide to those of us who look forward to each and every new post. I agree 99% with you on most issues. I just think in this case you might have taken a higher road and answered a guy who hopefully respected your opinion and feedback.

    • Jim: Thanks for all your kind words and support. Unfortunately, I get stuff like this in email all the time. Many times, I’ve answered email messages from people seeking information by writing blog posts about them. Where do I draw the line on answering questions? If I took the time to answer everyone’s question properly — either in a blog post or by personal email message — I would not have enough time to do the work that pays the bills: writing and flying.

      Besides, the information he seeks is available online if he just takes the time to look for it. But, as usual, it’s easier to ask someone else to do it for him than to put a little effort into it and do it himself. That’s the society we live in these days. Why do something yourself if someone else can do it for you for free?

      I don’t buy into that mindset and won’t support it.

  2. This article made me think of Bob Perry – boat builder and consultant. As an expert, he also realized that he couldn’t answer everyone, so he charges a $500 basic consultant fee to all those asking specific questions about Perry designed sailboats and boats in general. We paid it, and have no regrets. Plus, he is now happy to take our calls.

    Love your writing!


    • Charging a fee is a great way to weed out the folks who are just trolling for free information. My husband suggested that I follow up and offer to provide the information for a fee. I didn’t think it was worth it for this guy — he was either illiterate or didn’t care enough about basic grammar to use proper capitalization or punctuation in his query. Not serious enough to pay to get information. And I’m not really any kind of “expert” — I just know where to find information and how to do math. If someone can’t cover the basics of communication, information gathering, and math, they probably shouldn’t be in business.

What do you think?