Build R44 Helicopter Time (or Just Fly with Me) Cheap

Looking for R44 pilots or CFIs interested in building flight time.

One of the drawbacks of being based in Wickenburg is the fact that most of my flying business doesn’t originate here. In fact, a good bit of it originates at locations at least an hour away.

The problem with this is that not everyone is willing to pay the cost for me to fly from Wickenburg to the job location and back. And I simply cannot reposition the aircraft to a job site for free — especially for short jobs.

Low-Time Pilots Wanted

Learn about upcoming flights

May 2017 Update: Flying M Air is no longer based in Arizona. It is now based in the Wenatchee area of Washington state. I occasionally make flights between Washington, Arizona, and California and offer time-building opportunities on these flights. In addition, the companies that work with me during summer’s cherry drying season also have time-building opportunities ferrying their helicopters to and from the Wenatchee area from California, Arizona, and Utah. If you’re interested and meet the qualifications listed on this page, use this form to be notified of future opportunities. Do not email me directly. Only the people on this mailing list will be notified of future flight opportunities.

That’s where certificated pilots — preferably CFIs — can help. There are quite a few of them out there who have their ratings but don’t have enough time to do anything with them. They’re interested in building time, but they have limited budgets.

So the idea is this: when I have a flight that requires the aircraft to be repositioned more than an hour away, one of these pilots can fly with me, from the left (co-pilot) seat to build time and gain valuable cross-country experience. He/she would contribute to the hourly cost of flying the helicopter, thus enabling me to pass these savings on to my client. And the cost would be considerably less than the hourly cost to rent a helicopter like mine from a flight school or other organization in the business of renting aircraft.

For me, having someone share ferry costs can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. For example, I recently lost a job opportunity at Primm, NV because my client would have to pay the 3.4 hours (round trip) ferry cost. Although my per hour flight fee was cheaper than my competition, my competition was closer and didn’t have to charge for the ferry flight.

Get On My List

Are you interested? If so, great! But are you qualified? Here’s a list of qualifications:

  • Certificated private or commercial helicopter pilot or certified Flight Instructor for helicopters. You must be a helicopter pilot; I cannot allow student pilots to fly because I am not a CFI. I can, however, take student pilots as passengers (dual controls out).
  • At least 200 hours flight time in Robinson Helicopters.
  • R44 SFAR 73 Endorsement to carry passengers.
  • Weight less than 250 pounds. (Under 200 lbs. is preferred.)

If you meet all of these qualifications and are interested in building some time, get on my mailing list by filling in the form above. DO NOT POST A COMMENT OR CONTACT ME DIRECTLY BY EMAIL; I will not respond.

Please note that these flights are NOT free. I will provide rate information for each flight to the people on my mailing list when the flight is up for grabs.

Not A Pilot? You Can Still Fly Cheap

Of course, since I’m a Part 135 operator, I can take regular passengers on these ferry flights — with the dual controls out, of course. That’s what some of the Special Offers on the Flying M Air Web site are all about. If I have to reposition the helicopter to anywhere more than 30 minutes away, I often offer cheap seats on the repositioning flights.

For example, if I have a tour out of Scottsdale, I might offer a $95/person round trip flight from Wickenburg to Scottsdale. Up to three people can make the flight with me before my scheduled tour and have breakfast or lunch at the airport restaurant while they’re waiting for me to finish up. Then we fly back together. My passengers get two cheap scenic flights totaling over an hour of flight time and I get part of my ferry costs covered.

Or perhaps I have a two-day photo job in Page, AZ. I might offer two seats for $250 each to Page one day with a return flight the next day. Passengers would be on their own to get hotel accommodations and fill the time there until the return flight. They’d get about 4 hours of scenic flight time for much less than I would normally charge for the flight ($1,980 for the flight at my current rate).

Similarly, if I have to go to Scottsdale or Deer Valley or Page for a client, I might offer other tours at a reduced rate there the same day, before or after my scheduled flight.

Subscribe to get automatic notification of offers that can save you 15% or more off Flying M Air’s regular rates. Guaranteed spam-free.

E-mail address:

If you’re in the Wickenburg or Phoenix area and this sounds interesting to you, you can use the form here or on the Flying M Air Web site to sign up to receive Be Spontaneous! special offers by e-mail. Or you can just check in at Flying M Air periodically to see what’s available.

Keep in mind that these prices don’t even begin to cover my costs, so please don’t expect me to offer or honor them at times other than when listed as an offer on the Web site.

And if you’re wondering why I often call them “Be Spontaneous!” offers, it’s because they’re sometimes made available with as little as 2 days advance notice. You have to make a decision quickly to take advantage of them.

Part of Being a Small Business

All this is part of being a small business — finding ways to help cover costs and maximize revenues.

If you or someone you know can help, we can both benefit.

13 thoughts on “Build R44 Helicopter Time (or Just Fly with Me) Cheap

  1. I wish I were able to take you up on such a great offer but if you’re thinking of relocating, I saw an emergency services helicopter land here, in Cavendish Sq, London,-3.647461&sspn=11.389329,29.882813&ie=UTF8&ll=51.518063,-0.144281&spn=0.011804,0.029182&z=15&iwloc=addr

    the other day, so it’s apparently possible and would be very handy for my office!

  2. I would be intertested in speaking to you about this offer. I have about 215 hours, CFI, CFII, but all of my time was in a Schweizer 300. I am looking to pick up some time in the R44, and get to the Safety Course this summer. Let me know if it is still a possibility to participate. Thanks!

  3. I’d be able to fly on the August run. I have 500TT, 100 Turbine, Jet Ranger Factory, Robinson Factory in R44, and about 50 hours Robinsons. I have CPL, but no CFI.

    Oh, and I have flown long distances. Portland to Van Nuys in my 300C.



  4. I would be interested in ferry flights for time building purposes. I am a CFI with 300 TT, Robinson Factory in R44.

    I spend holidays in Sun City, so those would be the best times for me.

  5. I have 470TT, 55 R44, 415 R22, Safety course completed, 225 instruction given, SFAR endorsed in both 22 and 44. Have also ferried R22’s from Glendale, AZ to Butte, Montana, and also Denver, CO to Mesa, AZ. Let me know what the cost is and I my be interested in any future flights.

  6. Currently living in seattle, CFI/CFII, little over 200hours R22, Robinson Factory course, looking to get some R44 time if possilbe

  7. I think requirement #1, people, is that you actually READ the entire post. No wonder the aviation job market is so weird.

  8. @Kent S
    It never ceases to amaze me how people expect to get a job when they can’t bother to read the instructions that tell them how to apply for it. Just moments ago, I went through the same thing with a videographer job posting.

  9. Hello mam. My name is lance goodman. I. Am a two hundred hour CFi, cfii. I am scheduled for Robinson safety course in nov. I would love to fly with you to continue my quest for the golden 1000hr mark. I’m prepared to buy blocks of discounted flight time up too 1000hrs. I could even see my self relocating to Arizona if you had enough to keep a happy pilot content. If this proposition interests you I would love to discuss it further. Thank you for your time and consideration.

What do you think?