From the factory

General talk about the Hiller helicopter

From the factory

Postby HillerGM » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:20 pm

Greetings to everyone.

Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Steve Palm the General Manager of Hiller Aircraft Corporation. I just found out about this board and after spending more than a few hours I’ve read every post and can say it’s pretty gratifying to read the great things many of you have to say about Hiller helicopters.

At the same time, I also read more than a few concerns which just so you know, we probably share with you. Most notable are questions about parts availability and affordability. So I thought instead of ignoring the rumor mill as we usually do, I’d let you know the factory’s perspective on where we’ve been and hopefully where we’re going.

Let me start out by saying the last eleven years for me at Hiller have been quite a challenge. Imagine that, eleven years at Hiller. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Hiller’s going out of business” over that time but here we are, stronger today then we have ever been. So for those of you who are fond of pronouncing Hiller’s demise, you may want to ask yourself just how long have you been saying that?

Yes, we’re still here. Those of you that know the history of Hiller, and I don’t mean just the last few years but the last 30, know it has been a rough ride. In that context I should probably start by mentioning that long before the current company started the new Hiller in 1994, Hiller Aviation went bankrupt with this same product line in the 1970’s. The reasons for that then, are some of the same reasons that negatively affect our business today. It all begins with a steady stream of cheap surplus parts that have made operating Hiller as a business very difficult for everyone who has tried it.

Many of you operate Hiller’s as a part of your business and we all know, you can’t operate a business for long unless you make a profit. And it’s hard to compete when surplus parts are available for pennies on the dollar and sometimes even below what it would cost us at the factory to make the parts. When that happens, something has to give and its usually the factory because after all, who can blame someone for buying the same part off the surplus market for less than what the factory charges?

Believe it or not, we at the factory understand this. That doesn’t mean we like the situation just that we understand the business decision being made. Although it would be nice if sometimes the people who complain about factory parts availability and costs looked at it from our side once in a while too and realized we are running a business and that there is nothing personal in our pricing or availability. Seriously, we didn’t intend not to have that part you needed or price it beyond what your accountant (or wife, whichever is appropriate) will let you spend.

If you think about it, Hiller Aviation failed, Rogerson-Hiller failed and now the current company, by some accounts, has or is failing too. Even though I would challenge that last bit about the current company. If we are to succeed though, and I mean the collective we of the factory and the owners, we need to think of it in these terms. We need to look at the underlying problem here rather than just think it’s a lack of desire or commitment on the part of Hiller. If you look at it in cause and effect terms, the cheap and readily available surplus as well as other factors has resulted in two major issues for us all. First, it weakened the factory because you can’t run a factory without sales and profits and second, sticker shock on those parts you eventually buy from us.

Sticker shock comes into play when the surplus runs out. That’s happening again now. Think of it from the factory’s perspective. I get calls all the time for parts, parts we have not made in decades. And the customer only needs one. A good example is one customer recently needed the casting that mounts the left side of the canopy to the floor of the cabin. As the factory, we had to have the casting tooling redone for thousands of dollars, a minimum run of casting made and then have the castings machined. And how many of those do you think we can sell in the next 5 years? So as a business, can we make that part without charging what it costs us? Of course not. Is the customer going to be happy paying thousands of dollars for a part like that?. Of course not. Is the customer going to be willing to buy all 50 we have to have made so he can get his unit cost down? No, he only needs one and he knows he won’t be able to sell the other 49 either.

So what is the solution? The business decision is clear for the factory and equally as clear for the customer. The emotional decision and reaction from the guy that needs the part, while understandable, isn’t always keeping all this in mind. All he knows is he needs one small casting and there is no way that part should cost more than $150.00. And you know, as much as I’d love to be able to sell it to him for that $150.00 I can’t. Because I have lights to burn, water to pay for, trash to pick up, salaries to pay and all those other expenses on top of just covering the actual manufacturing cost. And when sales are down overall, it is impossible to make an investment in these types of parts in these situations no matter how much we would like to.

That has been the situation in the past and pretty much is where we stand today. Surplus is cheap and relatively easily available and so people buy surplus and Hiller sales are… well when was the last time you bought something from us?

How are we going to fix it, assuming of course all those good things people have to say about our machine translate into our wanting to do that? Well first, ask yourself, are you a customer of Hiller or are you a Hiller owner or operator? Think about it, there is a big difference. When was the last time you bought something from us or do you even have what I consider the bare minimum contact with us that is reasonable to expect from all owner operators – a subscription to our publications? I know, many of you will say I’m not paying that kind of money for a subscription but is $250 a year really all that much to keep in touch with the factory?

Now think of it in these terms. If you’re not a customer just what can you, or equally as appropriate, what should you expect from the factory? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten phone calls from owner operators, people who are not customers and who in my ten years as General Manager have not bought a single thing from us. They call from out of the blue expecting us to do things like write them an overhaul extension letter just because they are in the middle of a job and can’t stop. Or another good one is the guys who have never bought a single part from us but call because their overhaul manual is missing page X. An overhaul manual they didn’t buy from us because as you know, some people on the internet violate our copyright and offer free copies just for the asking. But back to the guy looking for page X. They don’t have a subscription, they don’t have the current manual, but they expect us to fax them a copy of the missing page! We all have to remember that this is a two way street. Yes Hiller needs to support our customers but no, we do not have to support non-customers. Which are you?

Hopefully you’re a customer although I have to say from Hiller’s sales history and some of the messages on this board that most of you would not fit into that category. Then lets ask ourselves why is that and how do we fix it because yes, we want you as a customer. First though, sorry to say, that doesn’t apply to everyone because some of you own aircraft that come from Pulse, United Helicopters, Dove Transport and the other names associated with these companies. This is strictly a business and liability issue. These are not our helicopters and we will not accept or create any liability for ourselves by knowingly selling spare parts for use on them. They are “rebuilt” or “refurbished” ships which have been build from spare and surplus parts. The operational history of these ships are, I think ,well known, and if there is anyone out there brave enough to accept liability for these… well enough said on that point.

Liability and limiting it is a huge issue for us. It probably would not surprise you that product liability and legal costs are outrageous but what might surprise you is some of the ways we get hit with these. Do you know Hiller was sued by one pilot who flew into wires during an ag spraying mission? He admitted he did it because he was preoccupied resetting his GPS but his cause of action against Hiller was our flight manual didn’t have a warning in it about wire strike hazards! Another pilot sued us after operating his aircraft past the recommended overhaul period and then when a part failed (one that would have been removed during the overhaul) and caused a crash, he sued us for defective product. We ended up winning these as well as other such ludicrous lawsuits however the cost to defend ourselves was well over $100,000.00. Think about it. Those two lawsuits ate up over $100,000.00 in cash flow that could have been put to better use buying more parts to make them available to you. And those are just two examples of many more I’ve had to deal with over the past eleven years.

For those of you who have taken the time to actually read all of this thanks. I’ll get off the soapbox and get to the part you’re probably really most interested in.

First, our parts policy. It’s pretty simple and has been the same for the past 9 years. We will make any part for any model helicopter (UH-12 series) but we will not do it at an economic loss. If any of you work for a business that doesn’t follow that same basic philosophy let me know how they do it.

Second, Hiller is committed to this long term. We own the 15 acre factory at Firebaugh and have essentially no debt. Hiller is in better financial condition than when I took over as GM. That doesn’t mean we have millions to spend on buying parts but it does mean we’ll be here in the future.

Third, contrary to popular belief, Hiller does have many of the parts you think we don’t. Right now I have 12E main rotor hubs, main rotor forks, control rotor cuffs, control rotor trunnions, control rotor paddles, main and tail rotor TT straps, clutch drums, tail rotor hub and yoke assemblies, inboard and outboard TT pins and over 6 million dollars in other parts off the shelf. We also have about $350,000 in parts being machined at outside vendors. That doesn’t mean I have everything but we do have a lot and we’re willing to work on what we don’t have. For any of you customers out there, I sure could use some sales on these to help pay for the other parts being machined. The more we have in sales the more I can spend on getting other parts into production.

But what about blades – I’m not clairvoyant, I just hear that a lot. Hiller has invested (read that as we wrote a big check) for new technology tooling to be designed for the main rotor blades. The tooling design is complete and we’re looking to have the tooling started sometime around the end of the year. We need to have a new clean room building built. The design of the building is complete we just need to time the construction to our need to build blades. We also have had all the piece parts made so we have inventory to make the blades once the building and tooling is done. All we need is either time so we can fund the project in steps, or a little help from some customers by ordering blades to speed up the project. Without orders it simply doesn’t make business sense to invest over $500,000 into the project without letting some time pass to flush the system of the old surplus blades everyone is using. Hopefully we’ve timed this so we’ll be able to respond to a serious need but without sales there is no business reason to spend that much money especially when we don’t know when we’ll be able to make it back.

Let me close by saying, there isn’t anyone in the world more interested and intent on making Hiller Aircraft a success than I am. But the factory needs your support just like you need ours. We need customers, not owners and operators. Everyone wants a cheap helicopter and that’s why there are other cheaper models in this world. But if you want a well designed, well built, pick-up truck of a helicopter you choose a Hiller. And if you’ve chosen a Hiller or are just thinking about it. then may I suggest you consider that we are in this together. Customers who support the factory through buying parts will help keep these magnificent machines working for us. So are you a customer or are you an operator?

20 years on and I realize how inbred and narrow minded I was writing this. After much deep self reflection, had I not been such a cunty asshole happy playing with myself like a monkey in a cage and collecting my check from Fred, then the Hiller Aircraft could be in the driving seat and mentioned in the same breath as Robinson, Bell, Agusta, Airbus, Hughes etc. Instead, there is now a boat and I am not on it. I am sorry.
HillerGM
 
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Re: From the factory

Postby adam32 » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:07 am

Good to hear from you and good post.

Do you guys still sale "new" complete helicopters? Do you do anything with the Franklin engines? Anything with the B and C models?

I have e-mailed and called in the past with no reply or answer...
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Re: From the factory

Postby Robert West » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:54 am

Dear Steve,
Welcome to our site.
Thank you for your time, and explanation of the situation Hiller Inc finds itself in.
I'm sure a lot of us envy your position.
My response is from me personally, and I do not speak on behalf of other Hiller owner in the USA, or here in Europe.
I have read and re-read your contribution and with the greatest respect I would like to reply.
Firstly, you are correct regarding the affection and respect with which Hiller owners regard their Hiller helicopters.
However, would it be fair to say that Hiller Inc is undercapitalized ?
I realize the economy of scales is different, but the philosophy remains. If Henry Ford had based his buisness plan on "if we have haven't got 100 customers for a back axle we won't make one. If they want to keep their trucks on the road, let them go and buy cheap parts from a scrap yard, and then we'll wash our hands of them, and never do business with them again", it is unlikely Ford would still be in business.
I don't kow of any succesful business that proclaims it will only supply a service if it's profit on that service is immediate. Speculation and investment are key ingredients to commercial success.
If you are under capitalized you cannot fulfill your role as "The Factory".
United Helicopters, Pulse, Dove and others. all filled a role of re-producing the great Hiller helicopter during the vaccuum, which still exists, created by your Companies failure to be in the market.
Product liability is understood. The laws in the USA (nothing like as crass here in the UK) nonetheless still respond to sound counsel, as you experienced with your own defences successfully appealed. However neither of the cases you mention related to spare parts sold to re-manufactured helicopters. Neither would it be easy for for an accuser to identify a sound spare part sold by you as the culprit in a failure in another part in the Helicopter resulting in a product liability prosecution.
So, I for one, don't buy your proposition of the blame lies with us not supporting you, for your failure to offer spares (or anything) at a reasonable price to helicopters not purchased from you.
It is difficult for us owners and enthusiats of Hiller helicopters, not purchased from Hiller Inc, and with substantial reconstrction, not to believe that your unwillingness to deal with us, and allow us to become your customers, is borne more of pique, than sound legal advice.
I want to keep flying Hiller. I want to support Hiller Inc. I want to be your customer. It is important that Hiller Inc is strong.
Hiller Inc could substantially multiply it's spares sale if it really wanted to do so.
United, Pulse, Dove etc. would not, could not, exist if Hiller Inc once again had the courage of it's founder and went back into the business of building, selling and supporting these beautiful helicopters. How many flying schools throughout the world would jump at the chance of changing from R22 to Hiller for their training fleet?
I hope this response does not deepen our divisions. We Brits are your friends, but I for one, don't take kindly to the flaws in your business plan, which disadvantage owner operators, and preclude them fom being your customers, and then get blamed by the factory for not supporting them.
For all our sakes I genuinely wish you success.
Thanks again for coming on the site.
Bob West.
BobW.
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Re: From the factory

Postby Robert West » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:54 am

Dear Steve,
Welcome to our site.
Thank you for your time, and explanation of the situation Hiller Inc finds itself in.
I'm sure a lot of us envy your position.
My response is from me personally, and I do not speak on behalf of other Hiller owner in the USA, or here in Europe.
I have read and re-read your contribution and with the greatest respect I would like to reply.
Firstly, you are correct regarding the affection and respect with which Hiller owners regard their Hiller helicopters.
However, would it be fair to say that Hiller Inc is undercapitalized ?
I realize the economy of scales is different, but the philosophy remains. If Henry Ford had based his buisness plan on "if we have haven't got 100 customers for a back axle we won't make one. If they want to keep their trucks on the road, let them go and buy cheap parts from a scrap yard, and then we'll wash our hands of them, and never do business with them again", it is unlikely Ford would still be in business.
I don't kow of any succesful business that proclaims it will only supply a service if it's profit on that service is immediate. Speculation and investment are key ingredients to commercial success.
If you are under capitalized you cannot fulfill your role as "The Factory".
United Helicopters, Pulse, Dove and others. all filled a role of re-producing the great Hiller helicopter during the vaccuum, which still exists, created by your Companies failure to be in the market.
Product liability is understood. The laws in the USA (nothing like as crass here in the UK) nonetheless still respond to sound counsel, as you experienced with your own defences successfully appealed. However neither of the cases you mention related to spare parts sold to re-manufactured helicopters. Neither would it be easy for for an accuser to identify a sound spare part sold by you as the culprit in a failure in another part in the Helicopter resulting in a product liability prosecution.
So, I for one, don't buy your proposition of the blame lies with us not supporting you, for your failure to offer spares (or anything) at a reasonable price to helicopters not purchased from you.
It is difficult for us owners and enthusiats of Hiller helicopters, not purchased from Hiller Inc, and with substantial reconstrction, not to believe that your unwillingness to deal with us, and allow us to become your customers, is borne more of pique, than sound legal advice.
I want to keep flying Hiller. I want to support Hiller Inc. I want to be your customer. It is important that Hiller Inc is strong.
Hiller Inc could substantially multiply it's spares sale if it really wanted to do so.
United, Pulse, Dove etc. would not, could not, exist if Hiller Inc once again had the courage of it's founder and went back into the business of building, selling and supporting these beautiful helicopters. How many flying schools throughout the world would jump at the chance of changing from R22 to Hiller for their training fleet?
I hope this response does not deepen our divisions. We Brits are your friends, but I for one, don't take kindly to the flaws in your business plan, which disadvantage owner operators, and preclude them fom being your customers, and then get blamed by the factory for not supporting them.
For all our sakes I genuinely wish you success.
Thanks again for coming on the site.
Bob West.
BobW.
Robert West
 
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Re: From the factory

Postby HillerGM » Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:54 pm

I just wanted to say thank you to the folks who read my post which, by the 91 readings so far, apparently caught someone’s attention.

I hope everyone can appreciate the fact that I was offering our position rather than inviting a dialog about whether we are right or wrong or whether we have a good business plan or not. I felt it was important to let those interested know that we are still here and ready to support you. That was all I was trying to do. At least now there is no misunderstanding even though there may not be agreement on some of the ways we handle things.

And I apologize to those who took it as the factory was blaming our customers. That was never my intention and is not the way we feel. When I wrote about understanding the customer who bought cheaper surplus and how we understood that economic decision I was trying to say we understood the situation from our customers point of view too. So if you took it that I was blaming customers that was not my intention and I am sorry it came across that way.

Hopefully I have dispelled some of those persistent rumors that were untrue and if I’ve done that I have accomplished my goal. Thank you for allowing me to do this.

Steve Palm
General Manager
Hiller Aircraft Corp.
HillerGM
 
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Re: From the factory

Postby skippy » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Hi there,I totaly agree with bob here so well done bob for having the balls to say what most of us think.I think its distgusting to say that the genuine guy or girl out there that has brought a hiller may not be welcome to be a hiller customer if there ship had anything to do with these named businesses.
By bloody chosing a hiller and purchasing it ,you are supporting hiller.You didnt have to buy your hiller you chose to,because you probally done your homework,talked to other owners and came to the same conclusion that hillers are a brilliant aircraft.The average newy pilot probally would'nt have a clue about pulse and united and its bloody ridiculous to say to these poor people that your not going to support them.It sounds to me that there is some sort of personal shit going on here with this crazy talk.
Ive never heard of a business that wont take your money for a part you want ,because they dont like the man that last fitted it.What a load of ole bollocks that is.That kind of attitude from someone so high up in the company is going to do more harm than good.Its certainly going to make you think twice about bying a hiller,just incase the last man to work on it happens not to be liked by mr hiller factory.
What happens if fortwalters falls out with mr hiller factory,is the same thing going to happen with every poor sod that purchased an aircraft of them.What makes these people different from the others.Surely they use some spare parts that they have collected over the years or even had reconditioned,dont tell me that they have brought every part brand new from hiller factory,and if the had it would be a bloody miricle would'nt it because as we all know the good ole factory has'nt got all the bits. Now dont get me wrong here fortwalters turn out ok craft and ive seen some beautiful looking craft that came from pulse and united aswell.
Whats not to say that the ship you brought 5 years ago from one of these badies has been stripped and rebuilt again by a goody or it is still flying to this day with out a problem and has been maintained correctly,but soon when you need a replacement part,not because theres any thing wrong with it but its at the end of its houres,that you are going to be refused that part from hiller and going to have to go elsewhere and possibly end up with a dodgy part.
Id be more worried about being sued for not supplying a part and more or less forcing owners of these craft to have to buy what they can from who they can reguardless.NOW NONE OF US WANT THAT .Dose anyone on here know the answer to this totally mad sort of arrangment in place by mr.hiller factory, because one thing i know after reading his article i myself would have to think twice before.....................(well you all know what i was going to say) cant bring myself to say it ,would hate to think people would think it, and i think this wonderful piece of engineering deserves alot better than this from its makers.......the end
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Re: From the factory

Postby CopterDr. » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:23 pm

Skippy, Well done sir, well done indeed!! The operators of Hiller UH12 aircraft need a TRUSTWORTHY source of parts that have INTEGRITY and proper PEDIGREE!! The "certification" statement printed on a pick list does NOT satisfy Title 14CFR part 45.15, and the paperwork, rather lack thereof, that you don't get with a supposed NEW part does not show that a quality system is in place by the PMA holder under 14CFRpart21.303! It is hard to have confidence in someone who does not show any particle of trust in you as a supposed "customer", when you have been operating the type and buying parts from the "factory" when available, and as of the last few years, the "factory puts everyone on a COD basis! If the "factory" is having money troubles it is not due to the customers!!! It is due to missmanagement period! Does anyone think that Rolls Royce would be the company that it is today were it for decades of missmanagement at the highest levels of its organization? I assure you that they would have faded into the pages of history were that the case!
People and companies exist, and confidence is placed in them based on their OWN MERITS, not on what they would wish to come to pass, merely by the wishing of it!! I wish we had a quality source of new Main Rotor Blades.......Wait a minute, ...where are they? Oh, thats right, someone has to DO something for it to happen..... Nuff Said!
skippy wrote:Hi there,I totaly agree with bob here so well done bob for having the balls to say what most of us think.I think its distgusting to say that the genuine guy or girl out there that has brought a hiller may not be welcome to be a hiller customer if there ship had anything to do with these named businesses.
By bloody chosing a hiller and purchasing it ,you are supporting hiller.You didnt have to buy your hiller you chose to,because you probally done your homework,talked to other owners and came to the same conclusion that hillers are a brilliant aircraft.The average newy pilot probally would'nt have a clue about pulse and united and its bloody ridiculous to say to these poor people that your not going to support them.It sounds to me that there is some sort of personal shit going on here with this crazy talk.
Ive never heard of a business that wont take your money for a part you want ,because they dont like the man that last fitted it.What a load of ole bollocks that is.That kind of attitude from someone so high up in the company is going to do more harm than good.Its certainly going to make you think twice about bying a hiller,just incase the last man to work on it happens not to be liked by mr hiller factory.
What happens if fortwalters falls out with mr hiller factory,is the same thing going to happen with every poor sod that purchased an aircraft of them.What makes these people different from the others.Surely they use some spare parts that they have collected over the years or even had reconditioned,dont tell me that they have brought every part brand new from hiller factory,and if the had it would be a bloody miricle would'nt it because as we all know the good ole factory has'nt got all the bits. Now dont get me wrong here fortwalters turn out ok craft and ive seen some beautiful looking craft that came from pulse and united aswell.
Whats not to say that the ship you brought 5 years ago from one of these badies has been stripped and rebuilt again by a goody or it is still flying to this day with out a problem and has been maintained correctly,but soon when you need a replacement part,not because theres any thing wrong with it but its at the end of its houres,that you are going to be refused that part from hiller and going to have to go elsewhere and possibly end up with a dodgy part.
Id be more worried about being sued for not supplying a part and more or less forcing owners of these craft to have to buy what they can from who they can reguardless.NOW NONE OF US WANT THAT .Dose anyone on here know the answer to this totally mad sort of arrangment in place by mr.hiller factory, because one thing i know after reading his article i myself would have to think twice before.....................(well you all know what i was going to say) cant bring myself to say it ,would hate to think people would think it, and i think this wonderful piece of engineering deserves alot better than this from its makers.......the end
CopterDr.
 
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Re: From the factory

Postby Carl.M » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:01 pm

Hey Guys,

Question 1. Has anyone here ever tried to buy any parts and been refused?

I can't understand it myself. It would be like a car dealer parts department not selling you a tail light lense because you have an aftermarket waterpump. Or worse, you can't get the lense because of where you bought the car. If it is true that HillerGM won't sell you the parts you need then why? The only thing I've heard is that a company in China is looking to license the type certificate for the Hiller. From what I've read the Chinese are looking for an inexpensive and safe trainer. So while this possible deal is in the works it would be benificial that no Hillers end up on the NTSB web site.

However, I have the feeling that if you called the factory and knew just what you needed and didn't give too much info and didn't bitch about the price that you'd get the parts that you need.

Question 2. If the Hiller factory produced a factory new heli, what would it be worth?

Just my 2 cents.

Carl
Look for me on www.barnstormers.com
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Re: From the factory

Postby Robert West » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:15 pm

Hi,
sorry for the delay in responding. I've been off line for a few weeks.
Carl, believe me, the factory will sell not one part to fit to a Hiller if the helicopter emanates from a source it disapproves of. That includes 90% (or more) of all the 12A's to C's flying in Europe, and probably a fair number in the USA. What a great potential spares market.
Skippy, thanks for your support. Your point is valid. What would the Court's view be if an accident occurs because the factory refused to supply a part.
What a dilemma !!
Bob.
BobW.
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Re: From the factory

Postby Robert West » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm

Hi Carl,
I must try to answer the second part of your question. How much?
Based on the existing philosophy of the factory, where they must make a profit on everything they do and sell, probably the asking price would be in the region of $20,000,000.00 for one new machine. Not many sales, I fear.
If they thought, however, that the market could be 500 machines to replace some of the R22's round the world, for training purposes and private ownership, the unit cost would be amortized down to $40,000 and would probably sell at about $100,000.00 per unit, factory new, off the shelf. They'd sell plenty.
I'd buy one.
Bob.
BobW.
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Re: From the factory

Postby Drooping Turns » Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:02 am

Ok, there's a delima about the factory supporting "outlaw" helicopters and who should fund reasonably priced parts. What I want to know about is the new blades that are in the offing. Will they be the traditional OEM blade style with a finite life, or hopefully, a new technology with an "on condition" life or say 10,000 hours.

Drooping Turns
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Re: From the factory

Postby gypsyrotor » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:46 am

Mr Palm I could almost feel your anger seething out of the words as I read your article,and your resentment to anyone who owns a Hiller that wasn't made by THE FACTORY.I also felt that your diatribe about surplus parts for spares was the fault of the owners/operators.That might be a ploy,or a RED HERRING to shift the stink,or the focus.Many of us have been here much longer than you,and we bought,owned or operated these machines in those years when Hiller was not in business,as for me I have owned a C model for 17 years,do you remember that time Mr.Palm? There was no Hiller Factory operating when I bought mine,When many of us eagerly awaited Hiller Aircraft rebirth only to have our hopes crushed when the Factoy opened only to sell a few E models,and the Factory could care less about A,B,C owners.Then the Factory closed again and we were stuck.You were correct to say we are in this together that would be Us as in the owners operators A&P's and pilots who have seen The Factory treat us as if we were red headed bastard step children asking for a hand out.Well sir we all managed to come together work together horse trade parts and pass on knowledge to keep these machines going because we believe in the wonderful Hiller helicopter designed by the great Mr.Stanley Hiller.For any of you out there who have not read The Vertical Challenge the story and history of Mr. Hiller You should,and Mr. palm this includes you to.I do not believe you have read this book judging from your letter. It is a story that inspired me,and it is also like a greek tragedy.The things Mr. Hiller went thru the lack of understanding that he had about the parts issue during the Korean Conflict. that hurt his business.Instead of getting mad at his customers ,and being the brilliant man he was,and not falling into the so American way of thinking of find someone else to blame, Mr.Hiller took a higher road,and asked what is broke,and how can we fix it.He was also in creative and imaginative fellow always trying make things better.With R&D into the newest tech of his day.Mr. Hiller actually dived off a building to save the Hillercopter proto #1 when it rolled off the building.Mr Palm are you willing to dive off a building to save somthing you created out of your own mind, and then built with your own hands by milling parts ie. main rotor hub out of a solid block of aluminum,or figure out that to change the direction of the TR driveshaft you could take the coupler out of a 1940ish Crysler truck and call that a cardon joint?Or are you like Mr Uln who refused to submit the H5 to the military because he was mad about being underbid by Mr.Hughes.You call yourself The Factory,but you sir ore merely standing on the shoulders of Giants,like Mr Soloy who also worked for Mr.Hiller who if He read what you just wrote would either slap you and fire you,or more likely send you to a corner like a spoiled child,and lovingly encourage and mentor you,but talk away your computer so you couldn't piss people like us off until you really understood ie grew up.I really don't care if you now hate me for the things I have said to you Mr. Palm But I Hope that you will reflect on these things and Grow Up to earn the name of the that is on that company.I read all of your letter,and I hape you have read all of mine.Thank you, David A.Reasor Or Doc Reasor the gypsyrotor.
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Re: From the factory

Postby Robert West » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:40 pm

Holy mackeral,
I thought me and Skippy were in a minority of two. It took some time coming, but it was sure worth waiting for.
Amen to all that Gypsyrotor.
Bob.
BobW.
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Re: From the factory

Postby Centurion » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:17 pm

Hi Guys,

This is my first post here and I would like to share a little of my story.

First, I acquired a military version of the Hiller, a 1956 OH23C, from a museum a couple of years ago. It's in good shape and under restoration in my garage. The resto has slowed as I'm waiting for funds from investments, but due to recent market conditions the funds are slow in coming. The copter is in good shape and I'm thrilled to have it. I did lots of research before buying and after talking to pilots of the Hiller, I was sold. Pat at Ft. Wolters transported the copter from Texas to my home in California about a year ago.

Obviously I'm in the market for parts and assistance so I naturally called Hiller and spoke to a Steve on two occasions. I'm not sure if it's the same Steve who posted here but I believe it is. The gist of our conversations fell along the same lines as the post above. I was slightly disheartened in talking to him recently because Steve did not seem to be supportive of the restoration work I was doing nor were the parts issue attractive to me as I was quoted a price of 25-30k for EACH main rotor blade which was considerably higher than quoted for a set from another place I know. WOW.

I asked about manuals from Steve and his price was high in my estimation. He said others are selling reprints in violation of copyright, which I agree is not right. However, I would like to add a suggestion to Steve, Instead of outright disgust and litigation with the violators, how about approaching them with a licensing agreement to sell Hiller manuals and then if they don't agree, have your legal department issue a cease and desist letter followed up by litigation if necessary. Just a thought.

I would like to be a customer of Hiller for a long time. I need parts and I would love to get them from the company that understands the machine thoroughly. My long term goal is to purchase a new Hiller from the factory down the road. But I get a contentious feeling when dealing with Hiller and I would like to see that change. I truly believe that with all the Hiller lovers out there, that there is a way for Steve and Hiller to connect with the owners to facilitate a long standing relationship with great potential to grow. I love the Hiller and I plan to use it for my rating and teach others to fly it. I've got other pilot friends who love it as well and plan to get their CFI rating in it. I want a safe helicopter with factory parts to further my goals. There may be other owners who feel the same way.

So Steve at Hiller. The ball's in your court. I understand the cost of tooling and manufacturing parts and it's expensive. But we, the owners need a friend not a foe. I truly believe Hiller will prosper if the company and the owners have some working relationship starting with supplying parts at a reasonable cost. Many of the life limited parts and parts that are frequently replaced could be a great starting point for owners to start purchasing from Hiller. When there is demand and supply is reasonably priced I would bet owners would flock to Hiller and capital would increase. Cashflow would be a great stimulus for Hiller to expand its business. Getting the current crop of Hillers in the air and keeping them there is great advertising for your business. It's a great machine! But frankly, unless your company's view/ attitude of the current owner/operators changes, I don't see much progress being made by your company. After all, word of mouth advertising is very effective and can either enhance or diminish a company's reputation. Something to think about.

So Steve, let's hear from you. Join together with us Hiller lovers and find some price points on parts and supplies so it will be mutually beneficial to both parties. Because right now, owner operators are making business decisions to keep their copters in the air without your company's assistance by buying from other suppliers. I won't speak for anybody else, but I would prefer to do business with a company that built the aircraft and could supply me with quality parts to keep it flying. Hopefully you will see these thoughts as constructive criticism with the hope of establishing a positive relationship with your company and a potential lifelong customer. This is not meant to tell you how to run your business, but feedback can be helpful to a company from those it is trying to solicit as customers.

I look forward to getting my OH23-C "Raven" in the air by next summer if everything settles down. I hope to be purchasing parts in the near future as funds permit. I look forward to spending time here learning from other Hiller lovers about their experiences and hopefully sharing what I've learned from others already. I can't wait to get her in the air!

Feel free to contact me at any time,

Dave
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Re: From the factory

Postby Root Pass » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:31 pm

To HillerGM

Steve,
I am sure you have looked to subcontracting the blade manufactoring, what are some of the problems with that option?

And what is going to be the outcome with China? Will we see a new and less expensive parts supply?

Thanks, just looking to be a customer.
"No Bad Days"
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