Why were private helicopters never adopted by the masses like cars?
This is a Robinson R-22…
It’s about as basic as it gets. Two seats, a piston engine, and limited space for things like luggage or groceries. Still, it has been immensely popular with more than 4600 having been built since 1975. That’s about as close to a mass market helicopter as you will find.
And the costs?
- US $285,000 base price
- Operating costs, including insurance, reserve for overhaul, and direct operating cost (fuel, oil, inspections, unscheduled maintenance) …roughly US $150.00/hr.
- Getting a private helicopter pilot’s licence US $10,000 to $15,000
Oh…and if you want to operate it from home rather than going to a designated airport, you’re going to need a bit of land. You’re unlikely to get your suburban back yard approved as a heliport so better plan on the costs of purchasing and maintaining a significant property.
All of that for a mode of transportation you can take one other person in, and only in reasonably good weather. Yes, there are more capable helicopters that will carry more people and things, and can fly in poorer weather, and you pay for all that capability. It will be a lot more than the mere third of a million dollars that will get you going with an R-22.