There are days when I wonder if there is something wrong with me. Why am I not able to stick with a few interests for a long time? Why do I have a need to try new things? Why do I end up liking things that cost a crap load of money to participate? Why can't I enjoy something like planting flowers or vegetables instead?
It may sound like I go out of my way to search things out. And on some level I do. I have an inherent amount of curiosity guiding me through life. What I do not control is my reaction to said activity or event. Who would have thought I would love being in a helicopter but not a Cessna? That I would be almost repulsed with driving stick even though I can do it, effectively ending any hope of rallying.
I didn't know flying a helicopter would cost so much money. That piece of knowledge didn't exist in my data bank. I found that out after I was hooked. My intro flight where I clocked 30 min of flight time, cost $452. A full length lesson would cost $537.75/hr in a R22 and $819.25/hr in a R44 (what I was in). You need minimum 45 hr and closer to 60 to get your licence. Oh yeah, and your helmet is going to cost $2200.
Approximate total price for a private helicopter licence will run in the minimum $35000 range (R22 -- which isn't recommended. R44 is the way to go, so think 50K+) with a recommended 2 hrs a week in lessons = high cash output. And the crazy thing? You can't really rent one afterwards. It's not like fixed wing planes. Most people who go the non commercial route are thinking of buying one at a cost of 150K for a R22 and 500K for a R44. I can see myself visiting my little helicopter on the weekends...
Unlike Cessnas where you can pretty much fly them "forever" with reasonable maintenance, helicopters have to be completely rebuilt after 12 yrs or 2200 hrs. And it will cost around 89K to rebuild a R44. How's that for a practical hobby? Yup, I sure know how to pick them. Unfortunately it doesn't change how I feel about them. Consider yourself warned.
***Update: Here is a link to an interesting aviation internship for those living near Boston.***