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Looking for some Mosquito acquisition advice
#1
Hello everyone my name is Casey, I'm coming out of the shadows of stalking these forums today because I need some advice on how to become a Mosquito owner. 

Now of course, the typical process involves ordering a lovely little kit and putting it together in a garage or hangar. Unfortunately, as much as I want to actually own my own helicopter, my fabrication skills are rather lacking, and although I realize there are plenty of avenues to acquire help in the building of a kit, i am much too pensive about the assembly process by myself. Which leads to the conundrum... 

My dream would be to own an XE285, after the aforementioned fear of doing my own assembly, my main option would obviously be the factory assistance program. However, there is not much information available regarding specifics of this. I work quite a bit, and I'm sure with plenty of notice I might could swing getting a month off to go to the factory and participate in the program, but my question is: would this be enough time to complete the assembly? Or are you still facing down 300+ hours in the assembly process? 

Another option would be purchasing a used 285. Obviously this option has the benefit of not requiring all the hours for assembly, but carries the risk of how well others conducted the assembly, no doubt requiring a trip to the factory for a professional to go through the aircraft for my ease of mind. Also there lies the problem of conducting maintenance and annuals on the aircraft as well, there is a local gyrocopter club in my area and I've spoken to some of the members and I'm sure I can find someone to help with that problem. 

And then the other day i made a startling discovey that the Mosquito XEL is actually rated to carry a 240lb pilot. I, myself, weighing in between 230-235lbs never really considered this option before because for whatever reason I thought that particular aircraft was locked away due to a 220lbs pilot weight limit much like the R22 and Helicycle. The XEL being able to be 100% factory built is very tempting to me, although only 5 gal of fuel is quite a big turn off as well... But for the peace of mind knowing that the aircraft was assembled by the experts i could probably deal with this negative. 

So what I'm hoping is that someone could give me some advice on which option they think would be best for me, or which option they would pick, or heck maybe even point out something I'm failing to consider, any help would be greatly appreciated! 


Hope you all have an awesome day!
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#2
Casey,

First I would call the factory and talk to Dwight. While talking to him you might better find out if you want a registered or ultralite heli. If ultralite they can build it, if a registered heli you will need to build it or find a used one on some other site. But please, if you find one that is already built, please do not try to fly it without instruction!

Michael
XE 285  1205 (Myrtle)
Start: 8/1/2013
Finish: 5/24/2014
Arrived home: 10/11/2014

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#3
No worries about flight training, I've already got that in my budget! I refuse to end up on an NTSB report about some "more money than brains" guy clipping a tree while teaching myself how to fly a helicopter. I have a huge respect for the amount of training an experience required to be a safe operator, and there are two options in my area for flight training, I'm just waiting to start my training closer to owning a helicopter so there's no "rust" I have to shake off when it's time to transition to a Mosquito!
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#4
I'll echo what Michael said. And, I just got home from Trenton and my first week of starting my factory assist build on my XE285. I have mechanical skills but no where near the wherewithal to attempt the kit on my own. I can tell you that the C FX guys are extremely well organized, helpful and friendly. I got a lot more done in a week that would have taken me months on my own. If you plan to build a kit, I highly recommend this method.

I also searched for used 285s. The only ones I found on the market were non-registered. Meaning, those owners were operating outside of the legal ultralight limits. So, there is limited opportunity there, maybe you'll get lucky.

Your other option is to have them build you a XEL, and with the floats, it is a legal ultralight. BTW, the R22 seat is also rated at 240 lbs, but that includes any baggage you put under it.

I recommend a visit to the factory in Trenton, FL, or as Michael suggested, give Dwight a call.
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
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#5
Dick,

Thanks for reiterating my message and glad to hear you got started on your 285! Building at the factory is way cool. One of the things I really liked was every time I got to a place that I needed to do some precision drilling or bending and I asked for help, they gave me a jig that they made for the job! Or when it was time to attach and tighten push-rods to the collective/cyclic assembly, they will give you the wrenches they bent in order to get the job done!

Building at the factory is joy! Got a question, it gets answered. You also have a chance to look at other machines. I have been around helicopters that were not built at the factory and in many cases can tell the difference in many ways. I could tell by how stiff the controls were because the builders did not loosen the rod ends. Some homebuilders will make changes unknowing that the changes they are making will affect the structural integrity of the aircraft. 

This little helicopter is a precision piece of equipment. No where can the average person find a helicopter that can be built and operated at such a reasonable price. You will find that the build is one of the most rewarding experiences of all. Enjoy the build and take a lot of pictures for the FAA!

Michael
XE 285  1205 (Myrtle)
Start: 8/1/2013
Finish: 5/24/2014
Arrived home: 10/11/2014

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#6
Much appreciated for the advice guys! Yes my ideal situation would be a factory assist built 285, my dream in fact haha. But having a full time job and living in southeast Texas doesn't make it an easy option, which is why I was hoping I could find any kind of info at all on whether an entire month taken off of work would even be possible, well one of these days I'll give the factory a call, I don't want to waste anyone's time quite yet with phone conversations since if everything goes to plan I won't be looking to pull the trigger until next year anyways.

Oh I do have another question, as far as the ultralight models are concerned, since they're unregistered with the FAA does that also mean just anyone can perform maintenance on them? Are annuals required as well? I'm guessing "no" since technically the FAA doesn't even know of their existence... but just wanted to make sure lol
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#7
Thanks, Mike. Yes, the fact tht they have all the jigs and tools handy makes it so easy.

Casey, I'm in Waco. There is another guy in Austin who just put down a deposit on a 285, and he plans to do a garage build. I'm told that takes several years. Best bet would be to join an EAA chapter that has a hangar and a machine shop. After seeing the layout of machinery, jigs, and tools we used at the factory, there's no way I could have acquired all that.

As for ultralights, you can read Part 103. No license, no medical, no registration, no annuals, single seats and 5 gallons of gas. (The FAA doesn't care if you go out and kill just yourself Smile )

When you get ready to dip your toe into this, I also recommend joining EAA whichever route you go, they have a wealth of info available.
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
Reply
#8
Casey, I was in the same spot as you a little over a year ago. I had 20 hours of flight training under my belt but was going to need another 40 to get my Private. I looked into building something but didn't have the couple of years nor all the tools necessary. I found a used bird with only 40 hours on it and with the help of a seasoned helicopter A&P (Bill Bryant) went and looked at it. We both were so impressed with the quality of the machine as well as the build, either he or I was going to fork out the funds. i came home with it a few weeks later and it has accelerated my training 5 fold.

Now I'm ready for a two seater after s little over 20 hours added to my XE.

Can't wait!

Good luck in your quest and please be extremely carful up there.
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#9
Well I received my very first introductory flight today! I found a nice little family operated helicopter company here in Texas who teach in Enstroms! Was a beautiful day for a first flight and I even managed to not kill us when I was given the Controls haha! Can't wait to begin my official training!
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#10
Ah, you've started down the slippery slope - congrats!. What is the name of the flight school?
XE285 #1329 N869DJ
Start: June 2018
Done:  Sep 12, 2018  Sleepy 
AWC Issued: Sep 26, 2018  Big Grin  
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