Very First Helio Courier Alive and Well in Canada
Serial No. 1 of the Helio Courier H-391B has a new home in Canada.
February 9, 2012 – The first-ever Helio Courier H-391B, Olí No. 1, that the mission aviation organization JAARS flew many, many times at AirVenture Oshkosh is now healthy and flying on wheel-skis in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Type expert Stephen Ruby, EAA 406241, tells EAA that the airplane was purchased last year after JAARS decided to reduce its Helio fleet in favor of Quest Kodiak turbines, since jet fuel is more widely available than 100LL in the countries where JAARS operates, like the Philippines and Ecuador.
The airplane, formerly N242B, was built and first flown in 1953. In July 1954 it was the first of 700 certificated Helios, and about 150 airworthy Helios are still operating throughout the world today. This airplane was Helio Aircraft Corporation's demo aircraft for many years until it was donated to JAARS in the 1970s. JAARS used it for training missionary pilots and performing STOL demonstrations around the country, including several at Oshkosh.
The plane was deregistered in the U.S. and exported to Canada after being purchased by Neil Bilodeau of Montreal. Now flying under Canadian registration C-G001, the airplane is nearly all original except for an updated panel including a Garmin mounted center stack display.
Normal cruise is about 118 knots with three people onboard and 60 gallons of fuel. It is powered by the Lycoming "geared" GO-435-C2B2-6 (260 hp) and spins a Hartzell 101-inch two-blade constant speed prop.
Lightly loaded, the Helio Courier H-391B will become airborne in less than 150 feet, Ruby said. "In a 15-knot wind, cut that distance in half. Landing distance is ridiculously short, give or take 60 feet. On snow a little bit more."