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UberCHOPPER takes Uber to the air

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UberCHOPPER Orbic Air Robinson R66

The UberCHOPPER is taking Uber ride-sharing service to the air today, Sunday, Aug. 31 in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy Orbic Air)

Want to share a car? Uber’s got an app for that. Want to share a helicopter? If you’re near Malibu, you can do that, too — today only — via UberCHOPPER.

A blog post at Uber’s website said the company is launching UberCHOPPER today, Sunday, Aug. 31, in celebration of Labor Day. The service reportedly starts with UberBLACK transportation — Uber’s equivalent to livery car service — for up to three people to a helipad near downtown Los Angeles, CA. From there, they’ll board a Robinson helicopter for a 45-minute scenic aerial tour of the LA cityscape and the Pacific coastline en route to Malibu Wines, where they will be part of a safari tour of the Malibu Wines property. They’ll take a safari ride around the property, feed safari animals, and of course, have a wine and cheese tasting.

There will not be UberCHOPPER helicopter service back to downtown LA, but those who pay the $1,500 fare will be taken back to LA via UberBLACK service, the blog post said. The UberCHOPPER will hold up to three passengers, so there’s an opportunity to split the cost three ways, at a cost of $500 each. That may sound steep, but hey, helicopters ain’t cheap to fly or maintain, okay?

So you wanna fly?

Those interested in flying on the UberCHOPPER should open their Uber smartphone app on Sunday, Aug. 31. Between the hours of 10 a.m .and 4 p.m. Pacific Time, they should set their location and request the UberCHOPPER option on the far right of the slider. If an UberCHOPPER is available, a representative from Uber will call to confirm the details of the service. Shortly after confirmation, an UberBLACK car will arrive at the requested location to pick up the soon-to-be UberCHOPPER passengers and take them to the helipad.

The blog post said demand for the UberCHOPPER would be high, and available choppers would be limited, so those who try to request an UberCHOPPER ride might not see an available chopper at first. In that case, the blog post said users should keep trying, as more choppers will become available throughout the day.

Who’s behind UberCHOPPER in LA:

The UberCHOPPER experience to Malibu Wines is provided largely by Orbic Air, a helicopter charter company based in Van Nuys, CA that operates a fleet of Robinson helicopters. Though the UberCHOPPER blog post shows a photo of a Robinson R66 — a turbine-powered, air-conditioned, $1 million machine — Orbic also operates piston-engined Robinson R44 and R22 helicopters in its fleet. In addition to being the UberCHOPPER provider in this case, the company offers charter air tours and flights around the Los Angeles area, including passenger service to LA Dodgers games, concerts at the Staples Center, sightseeing flights, and more.

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