2002-05-25 KC Helio Courier Trip

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A Helio Aircraft Courier was for sale in Gardner, KS. That is only a few miles from my home town of Ottawa. I am seriously looking for a good taildragger bush airplane. This is a good taildragger bush airplane! Therefore I made arrangements to look at the aircraft.

Homer Baker is selling his 1957 H391B Helio Courier with 110 hours of total time. Mr Baker has a huge amount of flight time. When he decided to retire this was his aircraft of choice. He had flown them during his time flying for the oil companies and knows them better than most pilots. I am current and proficient in tailwheel aircraft but this was the biggest I had ever flown. It is quite a different airplane from the 1946 7AC Champ that I learned to fly in!

Only 110 hours in a 1957? What is the scoop? The aircraft had been purchased by a sheriff's department in Washington state. At 14 days of ownership in 1957 the airplane was wrecked. It sat as a complete project for many years until 1996 when the project was started in ernest. In 1999 the airplane was finished and certified for flight with 50 hours of total time. Since then it has been flown 60 hours for 110 hours of total time. This was a nice clean airplane that needs only paint and some interior finishing. It is a VFR only airplane as currently configured.

Update 2007-07-15! Jim Hupe mailed me that "he and some buddies" had purchased the airplane and that it has been repainted in military colors. It looks beautiful! I am happy to see that this wonderful aircraft is up and flying. Airplanes are happiest when they are doing the work of flying.

Click on any picture to see a larger view of that image. These are the thumbnails which I reduced to improve page load time.

Homer Baker poses with his Helio. It is obvious that he loves this airplane and would rather not sell it.

The preflight begins.

The aircraft is in basic primer. It will eventually need to be painted.

Huge wings. 39 feet wingspan. It did fit in a normal hanger. But admittedly it was a tight fit.

And a long fuselage. Which after the short coupled Maule is a welcome change and provides much more pleasant flight characteristics.

The data plate.

The helio sports a non-steerable, fully castoring tailwheel. Don't count on it for control.

Bob Proulx poses with the Helio Courier. Look at the size of the prop. Wheel landings are not advised in this aircraft.

The Helio has four independently acting front slats. Here they are in the deployed position as they are for takoff, landing and slow flight.

This aircraft has brakes only for the left seat.

This aircraft is equiped for VFR flight.
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