This page explains the offer of a sightseeing helicopter ride in a
Robinson R44 with Philip Greenspun, one of the pilots and instructors
at East Coast Aero Club, to be auctioned for charity.
Your pilot (and auction donor) is Philip Greenspun, who holds an FAA
Airline Transport Pilot certificate with multi-engine, single-engine
seaplane, and helicopter ratings. Greenspun has more than 4000 hours
of flying experience including trips from Boston to Alaska (twice),
Mexico, the Caribbean, Labrador-Newfoundland, and back. He has flown
50-seat regional jets for Delta Airlines. Born in 1963, Greenspun
studied engineering at MIT, receiving bachelor's, master's, and a PhD
in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from that school.
Greenspun is also an FAA-certified flight instructor and teaches
airplane flying, instrument flying, and helicopter flying at East Coast
Aero Club at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts.
We will be flying in a Robinson R44
helicopter. This is a simple modern 4-seat helicopter with
excellent visibility through a large Plexiglas bubble. This is the
world's best-selling helicopter, with hundreds coming off the assembly
line in Torrance, California every year.
Where we go once airborne
Taking off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA we fly over the
Revolutionary War road between Lexington and Concord and see the Paul
Revere capture site. We'll see the DeCordova Art Museum, the Lincoln
school complex, Codman Farm, Drumlin Farm, and Farrar Pond. From here
we proceed over Verrill Farm to downtown Concord where we will see the
schools, churches, shops, and train station before heading back over a
horse farm to return to Hanscom.
How many people can fly
There are three empty seats in the R44 but we are limited to about 450
lbs. for passengers and baggage. Usually that means the pilot plus two
adults or one adult and two children. One of the ways that the
helicopter achieves high speeds and reasonable efficiency is by being
very small. The interior is smaller than an old Volkswagen Beetle and
is not a comfortable place for for very large people, though a 6'2"-tall
person can sit in the front.
I'm not a daredevil and the Robinson is not certified for aerobatics.
We won't be doing loops or any scary abrupt maneuvers. We will be
flying during the daytime in good weather and taking off and landing
only at Hanscom Field, a vast open space cleared of obstacles. We will
be talking to FAA air traffic controllers at Hanscom for the entire flight.
To the charity
If the underbid is at least $450, feel free to "split the donation"
and sell a second ride to the underbidder. (To be concrete, if Joe
Smith is the highest bidder at $500 and Mary Jones is the next highest
bidder at $450, you take $500 from Joe and $450 from Mary and I
provide two separate rides.)
Our standard rate for this flight is $99 per person, so you can put
down the value of the donation at $297.
Winners can contact me directly via the email address at the bottom of