My First Solo Flight in My First Helicopter

A cool shot taken by my husband.

This is an old photo but one I cherish. I can even tell you the date: October 11, 2000.

Why is it special? It was the first time I flew my own helicopter by myself.

I’d bought the helicopter only a few days before. We’d picked it up and flown it home — Mike and I together. I only had about 80 hours of flight time back then and was nervous. But not nearly as nervous as when I took off from Wickenburg to fly it back to Chandler by myself!

Helicopter OverheadMike took this shot as I flew by.

I owned the helicopter from October 2000 to October 2004 and put over 1,000 hours on it. It’s an R22 Beta II, which is an excellent one-person helicopter. (That’s a joke, of course. It does have a second seat if you feel like bringing a lightweight friend along.) It’s relatively inexpensive to fly — as far as helicopters go, anyway — and I flew the paint off it (so to speak). I wanted to build time so I could get a job up at the Grand Canyon, which I eventually did.

I sold this helicopter to buy my current ship, a red R44 Raven II. I went nuts for the 2+ months that I had nothing to fly while waiting for the new helicopter to be built. I miss this ship and wish I could have kept it. But I couldn’t swing the two loan payments. (Someone once asked me what it was like to buy a helicopter. My reply: It’s like buying a house and paying for it over 5 years.)

One thought on “My First Solo Flight in My First Helicopter

  1. I have more than 2 years in my logbook, with 98% of that under the rotorcraft/helicopter column. I’ve flown more than 12 different type/model helicopters.

    If Barbara Eden appeared in a puff of smoke and volunteered to pay for whatever helicopter I wanted to fly “just for fun”, the R22 would be my choice, without question!

    (Wish I had a photo of my first solo- 1968 in a Hughes 269/TH55!)

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