Joe Senatori's Safari Helicopter


I started this project in 1998 after a visit to Oshkosh. I built this Safari from plans doing the entire frame welding myself and opting for a customized R22 canopy instead of the classic “Baby Bell” bubble canopy reminiscent of the classic Bell 47. Murray Sweet, the founder and developer of the Safari Helicopter, commented that the workmanship, especially the welding, was far superior to that of the actual Safari kit factory models.

Included in the configuration are all standard basic instruments for VFR flight, Westach dual engine and rotor RPM, High/Low Rotor RPM Alarm, Microair M760 VHF Radio Transceiver w/ dual headsets, Microair T2000SFL Transponder, Lycoming O-320 engine, Safari composite blades (manufactured in 2010). Total time in service is 26.4 hours (both airframe and engine), after completing airworthiness on December 20th 2010.

Most of the construction took place in Sequim, WA; the project was moved to Concord CA, Buchannan Field CCR in 2008 where new blades and remaining avionics work was completed. Initial run up, hover, test fights, and airworthiness were completed at the Funny Farm Private Airport in nearby Brentwood, CA between October and December of 2010

I would like to thank again, Safari Helicopter founder, developer, and test pilot Murray Sweet for helping us complete the final stages of flight preparation, blade tracking and balancing in addition to flying off our airworthiness hours, local CFI Brett Marks, for getting checked out on the Safari by Murray. Matthew Reid for putting us in contact with Brett Marks , Ken France, our hangar mate at Concord for making arrangements for us to do initial run up and hover at the Funny Farm, and Funny Farm airport owner Dave Behne for his hospitality.

During the construction phase and moving, I want to thank George Llewellyn, Richard Bielawa, Skip Van Ness, and everyone at EAA Chapter 430 in Sequim, WA, and everyone at EAA 393 in Concord, CA, Mike Fahey of Half Moon Bay, CA, a former colleague from United, for CAD avionics drawings, and of course, Delane Baker and the rest of the team at Safari Helicopter. I want to thank my son, Steve, and grandsons, Steven Jr. and Mark for helping me to get the last stages of this project completed. Last I want to thank my wife, Isabel, for her help, she helped with most of the riveting on this project, and for putting up with all my projects over the years.

If I were to do it all over again, he would have bought a quick build kit. My Safari can easily be retro-fitted to take advantage of all of the new features of the SAFARI 400 that became available this summer. See

For more about me, there is a “Member Profile of Joe Senatori” in EAA Chapter 393’s September – October 2010 newsletter at

Since I am no longer able to fly myself and my sons or grand kids do not want to learn to fly it, we plan to sell this helicopter soon. Please watch for it to appear in Trade-A-Plane ( under Listing ID: 1365851 and/or related publications in the coming weeks. Thank you.

Kindest regards,

Joe Senatori

P.S. this was submitted with help of my son Steve.

Location: Concord, CA

e-mail address: [email protected]



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