According to present records, there are 17 civilian registered Cobras in the FAA registry. Of course, not all of these machines are presently flying and the ones that are all have restricted categories placed upon them. The rest are in military possession and from time to time others are placed in static display at air museums. According to a spokesman at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Facility at Redstone the active army has about 2,781 different helicopters in service.
The National Guard has 2,410 helicopters that include AH-64A , AH-64D (Longbow), AH-1 Cobra, OH-58A & C models (Kiowa), OH-58D (Warrior), UH-60 A & L models (Blackhawk), EH-60A (Blackhawk), UH-1 (Huey), CH-47D (Chinook) and TH-67 (Creek, a two-place trainer, modified 206 Bell Jet Ranger ). So what does the military do with the rest of them you ask? To keep them out of the publics' hands, the DOD mandates they be cut up in numerous pieces to thwart individuals from attempting to put them back together again! Sold as scrap.
A few years ago a high profile case emerged involving improper disposal of the Cobra hulls and their associated parts. The U.S. Marine Corp. had acquired approximately one hundred Cobras and after their usage, they stripped them and threw them into the ocean to make a reef for fish! A small number of them actually went overboard before the EPA stepped in and stopped this outrageous action. A spokesman for the Public Affairs Office for the Defense Logistics Agency in Virginia official statement when asked about the Cobra being a threat responded, "This aircraft has no civilian counterpart and was designed for the Military offensive/defensive capability. That decision was made by the DoD in coordination with the Departments of State and Commerce and the FAA".
This Golden Fleecing of American taxpayers' dollars caught Garlick's attention and he did as much as he could about it before the law went into effect preventing private ownership. He bought his before the "experts" deemed this to be a grave concern for "public safety". When the homes of those people responsible for this outrageous behavior are facing complete destruction, I ponder what their faces will look like? Tell that to the Admirals when they need that very helicopter to save their family's lives that they just threw off the ship!
In addition to the varied emergency type of services Cobra's can conduct, they also are excellent camera platforms for still and major motion pictures. In areas where fixed-wing aircraft cannot provide suitable abilities the helicopters are possibly the only craft that can safely do the job. Agricultural interests are centered in spray applications for insecticides, herbicides and fungicides as well as aerial surveying. Direct hourly costs run about $600.00 and indirect fees are computed at $800.00 per hour. When Cobra's are fitted with AH-1G L-13 engines they produce 1,400 shaft-horsepower, have a 247 gallon fuel capacity and a 9,500 pound gross weight. The improved S model upped the gross weight to 10,500 pounds and cruise speed increased to 166 mph. That version is known as the AH-1S Cobra.
Garlick personally has flown for both major picture and television greats such as "Always", "Independence Day", "Dante's Peak", "Walker Texas Ranger", "Tour of Duty", "Air America" and most recently "Pensacola Wings of Gold". His exuberance for flying the ship is profound and his remark of piloting a Cobra for the first solo is, "Your initial testing in a Cobra is a once in a lifetime experience. I have a hard time conveying my innermost feelings because it is so overwhelming". Garlick smiles and adds, "Comparing a Cobra to the UH-1 series ships shows some big differences. The Cobra exhibits almost excessive power but has tremendous maneuverability and stability when flying". He has flown the helicopter several hundred hours and says, "The same feeling continues when I fly the ship and it is an excellent experience to have such control," he adds.
So, you all excited and want to go for a spin in one? What's it cost you ask? Forget it. FAA regulations forbid you paying to take a joy ride in it this for recreational usage. Period. Unless it is for purposes of training or journalism your ride in a Cobra might just stay a dream. If you get serious and decide to train in one it'll set you back about $1,500.00 per hour for instruction. A qualified helicopter pilot would need about five hours air time of instruction to be considered for a LOA. That coveted paper and ink can only be given by a FAA designated examiner or a military instructor pilot. A $2,000.00 flight can be arraigned for you to be a "crew trainee" and you will need a special insurance endorsement as well as a liability waiver sign-off. If you would like to have a job done by the Cobra and Garlick, the cost is a flat rate of $1,500.00 per hour.