Prior to 2001, the AH-1 Cobra attack chopper was considered the backbone of the U.S. Army’s helicopter fleet… and now you can buy your own for the decidedly low price of just around $2 million.
The popular aircraft sales site Aviators Market recently published a listing for a 1981 Bell 209 AH-1 Cobra. The chopper is housed in Palm Beach, Florida and while the seller says they can coordinate shipping with the buyer, the recently overhauled Cobra has fewer than 500 hours on its power plant, so why not just fly it home instead?
The current listing price is $2.17 million, but compared to the more than $11 million it cost new, that’s a pretty good deal.
The AH-1 Cobra first took to the skies in 1965 and flew for the U.S. Army for decades. Today, these attack choppers remain in service in multiple national militaries, including the twin-turbine version which remains in active use by the U.S. Marine Corps.
But if you’re just looking for a way to skip traffic on your way to work, even the single turbine Cobra can do better than 170 miles per hour, all while carrying a few thousand pounds of ordnance (just in case you need to take on any tank crews on your way to work).
The listing doesn’t offer an abundance of details about the helicopter’s history or pedigree, but it seems likely that it may have found its way into private hands shortly after 2001, when the Army opted to retire their remaining reserve Cobras in favor of new AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Some of these retired Cobras found a home in the USDA Forest Service, where they were converted to “Bell 209s” (the Cobra’s civilian moniker) and dubbed “Firewatch Cobras.” These Cobras had infrared and low-light sensors added to their electronic load outs to help with real-time fire monitoring.
Based on the listing for this specific AH-1 Cobra, it seems feasible that this chopper once worked as just such a Fire Cobra, as the listing says it was indeed “converted to 209” and is “VFR/IFR capable.”
If you’ve got a few million dollars laying around and are looking for a cooler ride than the Mustangs and Chargers all your service buddies are driving, you can check out the listing, contact the seller, and even apply for financing here.