Charity Helicopter Rides in a Robinson R44

with Philip Greenspun from East Coast Aero Club; updated June 2016

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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.

The Instructor/Donor

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.

The Helicopter

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.

Sample Video

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 this page.

To my fellow pilots and helicopter owners

If you would like to use this page as a model for your own Web site, please feel free to do so with hyperlink credit back to
Text and photos Copyright 2006-2016 Philip Greenspun. Photo at top right by Ellis Vener.