2004 SCHWEIZER 333
The Schweizer 333.
To use a rather nice cliche, the 333 is a bit like Marmite --- you'll either love it or hate it.
I haven't had a lot to do with Schweizers, but I've been taking a closer look recently.
The 333 has had mixed reviews, and speaking bluntly, I'm not convinced that it's suited to a commercial, 700 hours a year type of contract.
But if you are a private pilot, then the 333 is certainly worth considering. Why, I hear you ask?
Let's start with the price. G-TAME, which is 6 years old, is being offered for sale at 230,000 GBP. For this kind of money you?ll buy a 30 year old Jetranger, or a 3 year old Robinson R44.
Then the 30-year old Jetranger will cost you a lot of money to run. The 2-year old R44 will depreciate quite rapidly because it has a finite, 12-year life.
The 6-year old 333 doesn't have a finite life. Instead its components are lifed on flying hours, and there are periodic calendar checks that are done to make sure everything is still safe.
Then you have the safety factor. Some people don't like the Robinson - they prefer more blades. The 333 has one more than both the Jetranger and the R44!
Then you have the fact that the 333 is a turbine helicopter. There aren't many turbine helicopters you can buy for just over GBP 200k. So you get the lovely noise of the C20 Allison turbine, but at a much lower price.
If you don't fly a lot of hours each each, you?ll find things like the 12-year lifespan for the R44 very irritating and the mandatory replacement of the TT straps on the Jetranger every two years to be a very expensive maintenance item.
Schweizer try and sell the 333 as potentially a 4-seat helicopter (see www.sacusa.com/products/333main.asp ) Frankly I think you have to take this with a pinch of salt - it's a very generously sized 2 or 3 seat helicopter. But this isn't really much of an problem: most people I know who fly R44s usually go with only one other person.
There are lots of other reasons why you should think about the 333 as an alternative, but I'll leave the rest to Sikorsky themselves to convince you.
So take a look at G-TAME, the 333 we have for sale:
G-TAME, a 2004 model with just under 2,000 hours on the airframe and 2,800 hours on the engine is a fine example of a 333. The airframe has over 1,000 hours to the next big check. On the engine two of the turbine wheels have over 800 hours to run and the other two have nearly 2,000 to run.
So although there are several other routine maintenance checks required (as is normal with all helicopters) you've got an awful lot of time before the big bills are due. Of course the full specification sheet and records are available, and you should ensure that you get someone who knows what they are doing to check out the records.
It has been owned since new by a commercial operator who had a contract to check gas pipelines. This means that it has been flown by professional pilots and has always been meticulously maintained. So it's spent most of its life flying straight and level!
I think that if you want something that is a turbine, but you only have the budget for a piston helicopter, then the 333 may well be for you. It's far cheaper to run than most turbine helicopters and it's not quite as fast as a Robinson R44.
TAME will come with a fresh annual and all SBs and ADs complied with.
We think that the paint scheme is a bit "professional" for most private pilots, so as a special deal, we'll also have her repainted to your specification (within reason!).
Currently TAME is based at in the south of England and London Gatwick is the closest international airport. We'll be delighted to collect you from here if you want to come and see this super 333.
Make us an offer - I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised.
PS. We actually have 3 of these lovely 333, and they are all very similar so if you want more than one, we'll do you a fabulous deal!