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HU-16 OPERATIONS

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HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Planeguy314 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:35 pm

Howdy gang!

I'm new to the forum and I'm researching Albatross operations. Specifically, Part 91 private operations in an HU-16B with rather standard equipment. My websearch indicated that there are several members here who have knowledge and experience that I would like to tap into.

My specific interests at present revolve around adjustment of my busyness plan and in that vein I have two questions.

First, what is an average direct operating cost for a single aircraft flying an average of 50 or so hours a year? I already have many fixed costs accounted for i.e. Parking, insurance ect. I'm not interested in including reserves for engine and prop overhauls or hourly fuel burn as those are rather finite and already in the bag. What I am looking for however, is cost per flight hour for scheduled/annual and typical nonscheduled maintenance. So, what does an hour of HU-16B cost?

Second, are there any special or specific instructions from the FAA regarding Part 91 operations? I have heard all sorts of conjecture and rumor and also understand that there are several FAR's that pertain to general and seaplane operations but, have failed to find any specific information published by our beloved administrator pertaining directly to HU-16's. So, what (if any) are the regulatory requirements and or limitations of operating an HU-16 under Part 91?

Thanks for your time,

PG
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby KlausNW » Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:07 pm

If you are not using the HU-16 or any aircraft to make money or share cost then the rules laid out in FAR Part 91 covers private operations. There is more rules to operate over 12,000 lbs. gross weight. If you are working the grey area of trying to make money or even reduce operating cost then everyone is watching and will call the FAA every time you fly. Many operators are very paranoid of people taking business that they think should be theirs.

Part 91 rules: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=a367d29bc4c0131ab1be3108a1445e5f&mc=true&node=pt14.2.91&rgn=div5

I'm helping a commercial fisherman fly his own fish to the buyer, he's operating a Beech 18. After a couple of years in this political environment I can warn you in advance, everyone is out to get you. The number one, two and three biggest problem has been personnel eligible to operate and maintain the older equipment. If they exists they're older and can't keep up with the paperwork requirements. If you are not going to insure the aircraft then it will be a lot easier. The insurance companies where all so inviting at the beginning, then once they get you sucked in they write the rules and either you follow or go uninsured.

I have warned so many operators that the actual cost of operating an aircraft is the ground support and they didn't believe me. Without a quality hangar and the special tools needed to perform routine maintenance within a couple of years the aircraft will just be a big chunk of aluminum. You want to have an idea on the cost to own and operate..... the first year will cost over $100,000 and depending on whether you own the hangar or rent will decide the second year. That's the cost of just keeping the aircraft certified and never flying (in Annual). The actual flight cost per hour is only about three times the cost of the fuel burn. If you figure the fuel, oil, engine reserves, government fees and the basic ground support charges.
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Planeguy314 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:22 pm

Thanks for the response. Like I said, I'm well versed in the regs (actually more in the 91K, 135, 121 type management) and have a working relationship with the loca FSDO, CMA and others granted most of my busyness dealings are with new/late model turbine powered equipment. As such, storing the aircraft is not an issue and falls into budget easily. Insurance is something I'm working on but agin not really seeking out info there either.

Finding MX for heavy inspections is a concern but I have come across several shops that seem to deal in type and will follow up with them soon enough.

Spare parts are part of acquisition and a quick look in the yellow rag indicstes there are overhauled power units available for reasonable cost.

All in all it seems that the HU-16 is a rather affordable type. At least in the larger picture. My plan used metrics that equate to a bit more than 3.5 times the fuel cost (though avgas is a bit more dynamic than jet-A). My numbers for the Albatross seem oddly similar to those of a large Kingair. If this is the case than clearly an efficiency and cost effective balance can be found. Agin, this is not going to be used for any sort of commercial operation. No hauling of goods or persons for other than personal use. The airplane need not pay for itself, however I have to pay my rent and I do that by keeping my clients safe, happy and informed.

I guess what I'm looking for is affirmation that my DOC estimates are inline with other industry operators. And of corse that the type doesn't have any skeletons hiding in the regulatory closet.

Agin I really appreciate your input. Please keep it coming.

PG
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby jjbaker » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:21 pm

PG,

Assuming that the involved parties have already acquired their PIC & SIC Type Ratings as well as a suitable aircraft, I would suggest to Google and find some paid consulting on your business project. This website is traditionally not a huge collecting spot of people affording an Albatross for a toy and I doubt you will find solid affirmation of your estimates. 3-5 times hourly fuel burn sounds prudent for hourly operating costs, completely discounting the "beloved administrators" aversion to seeing those airplanes fly and in private hands. Too many variables and unknowns, especially on the MX part. We're looking at an airplane that can eat a house with one annual inspection.

The last person in ownership of a rebuilt HU-16 blessed this forum quite a few years ago.
The insurance quotes were reason enough to have a cardiac event or start hyperventilation.

Especially if your clients happiness influence your ability to pay rent, I would suggest to actually hire someone capable to keep them safe and informed.
The happy part will solve itself as soon as reality strikes and the first years actual operational expenses get compared with planned numbers.

Peeps with this kind of purchasing power are always in best hands with those who charge for their consulting services and actually have insurance in case they accidentally give shaky advice or misjudge. That's possibly one of the reasons for not having two dozen HU16 owners comparing their experiences among each other on this, or other public forums. I'd guess each one of them paid someone a healthy chunk of money to avoid learning by Escrow account.

Pretty exclusive circle of people - all living in a world where money isn't a real topic of concern.
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby KlausNW » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:01 pm

Planeguy314 wrote:All in all it seems that the HU-16 is a rather affordable type. At least in the larger picture. My plan used metrics that equate to a bit more than 3.5 times the fuel cost (though avgas is a bit more dynamic than jet-A). My numbers for the Albatross seem oddly similar to those of a large Kingair. If this is the case than clearly an efficiency and cost effective balance can be found. Agin, this is not going to be used for any sort of commercial operation. No hauling of goods or persons for other than personal use. The airplane need not pay for itself, however I have to pay my rent and I do that by keeping my clients safe, happy and informed.

I guess what I'm looking for is affirmation that my DOC estimates are inline with other industry operators. And of corse that the type doesn't have any skeletons hiding in the regulatory closet.

Agin I really appreciate your input. Please keep it coming.

PG


The King Air may actually be more expensive then the Albatross in my opinion. The labor on an old amphib will be higher than a wheel plane but the required parts replacement and NDT inspections are way less in comparison with a complex turbine powered aircraft. The Beech 18 has the lower mandatory part replacement and inspection count which allows the owner to park it for many months without a grounding item affecting it.

Yeah, if the Albatross is going to average less then 100 hours per year the cost might be more relative to owning/operating two piston twins. I have no direct experience with the HU-16 but have maintained commercial Grumman Goose and Beech 18 on straight floats. The Beech 18 can be a good money maker.
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Planeguy314 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:57 pm

Thanks fellas. Keep it coming.

Respectfully JJ, your speaking with a professional. One capable of managing many different complex aircraft and clientele. I happen to have an affinity for aircraft (bit by the bug... Hard) and have owned, operated and restored many aircraft personally. Having the opportunity to see an albatross in service let alone manage one is truly a dream come true for yours truly and I aim to put forth my best effort to determine viability and the best possible model for operations.

In this world if we always deferred our work to one or two people who had experience then there would be no reason to go to work and eventually that work would cease to be as the last of those people decide to hang it up. It's just an airplane. It has engines and systems and burns fuel and can be defined on a spreadsheet same as any other. Where the balance sheets tip is really the question. Indeed, one I'm researching now.

I appreciate the reference and will follow up.

As for AOG issues, the plane will be strictly operated privately under part 91 and though airworthy will not be conforming so far as I can tell the only absolute limit will be the wing life limit everything else can run to the point of decreased performance. Unless of corse you know something I don't?

It's truly a pity that there are not more albatross flying. That said, I have seen a bit of a renaissance of late in several vintage types (check the cover of the November AOPA Pilot Mag). With fuel prices falling, and a bit of a loosening of the purse strings I have seen slightly more affluent individuals buying "dream" airplanes because they want to. Admittedly, most of those types don't haunt Internet forums. It's hard to experience life and make/maintain a large wealth and find time for exchanging opinions with the masses.

Agin, if you have any insight or experience to share or know someone who does, please speak up.


PG
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby jjbaker » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:50 am

I have taken the liberty to contact two of my members who are quite knowledgeable about the aircraft.
Maybe they are willing to share some information with you. Of the few Albatross owners, maybe one or two are still around here.

Good luck on your endeavor, I am sure many here are just as excited as you are to see one of these birds in good hands and flying.
Many more would enjoy a thread about an Albatross's return to flight, from acquisition via rebuild and repair to daily flying operations.

Just really hard to get those people to communicate among the "masses" - its a pretty exclusive group.
Creating a useful information platform for those with the required stack of mula to play on this level seems a tiny bit difficult.

;-)
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Planeguy314 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:54 am

JJ,

Thank you very much. I truly hope that with your help I can find enough viable infirmation to formulate a plan and we can all see another plane saved from the recycler.

PG
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby fishnpilot » Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:47 pm

Hi

I've restored two Albatross long wingers and been operating them for 11 years total and have worked the last 8 years doing nothing but flying and maintaining the only working Albatross in the country. I also have 3200 in BE-18 and 1700 pic in both DC-3 and Howard 500 and DC-6 Beavers and Otters. I currently fly two float plane Beavers and a Caravan and 4 different HU16's for a living. Total time in seaplanes around 5000 hours.

I've been an A&P for 30 years and IA for 25 same for my CFII/MEI/ ATP so that being said it's hard to find people that know exactly what it cost to run large radial engine aircraft for a living these days. And I do, that's all I ever have done.

I don't see how you can ignore fuel cost and oil and only want to know routine vs non-routine maintenance.

Let me just tell you this: I charge the company $2480/hour for the plane this covers everything down to crew and oil and rags insurance the works ! That's based on 150 hours/year their cost go up with less usage simple as that some years we fly twice that others 125 but if you don't include everything your gonna piss off the owner or investors.

And without some serious experience under your belt your insurance is going to be a huge factor. Also let me explain something, we save a ton of money because I have 30 years experience and 11,000 hours flying these types of planes. I rebuild my own propellers and IOC units for example these are always giving trouble and I have a very complete shop a full machine shop to be exact with forklifts B1 stands special tooling and spares and custom engine stands and tools and tugs and so on. This is no small operational task, my hangar is huge. I can put three Albatrosses in there and fix them all at one time so if you think you can operate one of these for anything less than 2800/hr I wanna see just how you do it.

As far as the Feds go (I don't have the time to explain it all but ....) forget it they will be visiting you about every third landing unless you operate out of podunkville nowhere. !! They are a high profile plane and have the attention of the FAA ---SO BE WARNED been there done that. The restricted category for the older ones is no more they won't issue it any longer and the experimental certificate is very limited and the first thing they want to see is your operating limitations so when they ask you better be ready and have experience with this situation.

I highly recommend you visit with someone that operates one for real and not on Saturday at the hangar flying couch before you commit someone else's $$ to the cause. This operation is no small undertaking sure you can squire one .......then what ? That's why you see them out there for 175-250k then what ?

There's no free ride and if someone tells you otherwise remember the old adage it's too good to be true.
I don't mean to sound negative or be a prick here or toot my horn but what I'm trying to impress upon you is what my background and experience is and why I can afford to operate an hu16 for a living. It's because of all that, that I can, and nothing else, I don't outsource maint at all. I do it, I fly it, and I fix it, simple as that. That is why it's 2400 /hr.
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Rajay » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:44 pm

See if this answers any of your questions:
http://albatrossflyingboat.webs.com/documents/N7927%20performance%20and%20cost%20figures.pdf

If you need more data than you'll find there, I have been compiling a list of contact info for current Grumman Albatross operators - most of which is available online if you simply take the time to research the names of the people behind the corporate entities which typically "own" these aircraft.

PM me with your direct contact info and I'll e-mail you a copy of my list when it's done or ready. I want to know who you are before helping you possibly "pester" those folks with questions, etc. Want to make sure that you're "legit" and so forth. Small precaution. I'll tell you about myself at the same time.... I think that Jason can/will vouch for me too.

And... :welcome:
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Rajay » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:52 pm

Whhooops! I didn't see that Fishnpilot had posted an answer in the interim between getting Jason's alert and finding that pdf for N7927 online. It's a short-wing HU-16C by the way.

I'll defer to him because his specific expertise is undeniable. My own "expertise" is really more with G-21 series Gooses and I only "dabble" in Albatrosses vicariously via the Web, etc. (Maybe if my current Goose plans don't come to fruition, I'll have to see if Fishnpilot is hiring.... ;-) )
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby Planeguy314 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:36 pm

FnP,

Thank you for your response. I appreciate your candor. Your operation must be remarkable. Perhaps one day I should be so lucky as to be able to see it in person.

My line of questioning was only purposed to determine those costs that I cannot estimate as I currently have few resources to lean on. Rest assured, my final DOC analysis will include the sun the moon and the stars and I am good at keeping clients happy. I can determine hangar rent and insurance and I can ballpark hourly fuel and oil usage however, without any maintenance or operational guidance I find myself at a loss, thus I have turned to this forum to see if I can find anyone knowing and willing to share. Now, I have met you. Thank You JJ and seaplaneforum.com.

Perhaps you would be willing to share more? Do you have a published MX schedule and/or op-specs? Do you deal with a FSDO or with AFS 820 regarding regulatory matters or perhaps not at all for your Part 91 operations?

Regarding operations of EXPERIMENTAL category aircraft, do they still need approval or are they operated differently than RESTRICTED category aircraft?

As you Inferred the things I know are not the problem, it's what I don't know that will hit below the waterline.

Rajay,

Thanks for the warm reception! I would love to talk Goose with you some time.

That analysis is exactly what I'm looking for only perhaps a report instead of a forecast. Given that I have not heard from them I suppose they haven't become operational? Those figures do seem a bit lean to my eye. Any idea what became of them?

I have a few contacts lining up and some meetings with a few local operators in the works. Hopefully I can unearth the exact information I need. I will keep your offer in mind though. It's greatly appreciated.

If this does come to fruition (as I hope it does) I would be happy to share the story and details for posterity.

PG
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Re: HU-16 OPERATIONS

Unread postby jjbaker » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:09 pm

Its though to determine what became of the Albatross deal mentioned by Rajay or if its still ticking. I had heard about it at some time but never saw the papers. The website is a "free webs" website, I'd kinda stall on such business proposals being presented on a free website.

I asked fishnpilot to post here for a reason. Same with Rajay. Maybe both of them like me enough to do me such favors from time to time. I would conservatively estimate that running at $3000/hour is prudent, with a less than stellar outlook for ROI. There is a reason some of the most affluent people have parked theirs indefinitely. I doubt its always the money, I think its more the hassles involved with running such a lady.

We've had quite a few new members with big plans (all the way up to privately owning a Martin Mars) who came in here, often focused on just one topic (no further involvement in the community beyond that) and apparently didn't get the answers they wanted to read. Very sad to see a member leave after getting a bit of headwind and double sad because people do spend time to answer these questions and they do use the people in their network to try and help out.
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