Kevin -- That must have been an Army Huey ...
If you've ever ridden in a *proper* Huey (with two engines), you'd feel much differently. Never did get up in the UH-1Y before I retired (4 blades, two GE-T700's
) but I hear they are nice. I did go in a EH-101 once when we were considering the platform for the next Presidential helo ... man, was THAT nice! Beautiful ride. Hardly any vibration. For a guy who "grew up" in '46's and '53's, I found it amazing that a rotary winged aircraft could be that smooth.
Simple facts -- big helicopters with many blades ride smoother than little ones with fewer blades. But the more blades, the smoother the ride. Which is why those power line guys like the OH-6/Hughes 500 so much. Great little bird.
The H-60, on the other hand, is just so darned UGLY that the Earth tries really, really hard to repel it -- hence the smooth ride in that thing. Mother Earth is hoping you will enjoy the ride so much you won't bring it back to her.
Going back to the OP -- vertical lift platforms are very expensive to own, operate and maintain. For the largest, most successful helicopter on God's Green Earth (the mighty Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion), we figured total operating costs to be approximately $20,000/flight hour -- figured mostly on fuel and maintenance. Most helicopters have a high Maintenance manhour per flight hour figure. The '53's were at least 10, if I remember correctly. The rule of thumb was always "if it's running good and everything is working ... don't shut it down." If you shut it down... get out the wrenches. Somewhere I have a great shot of a '53 main rotor head under maintenance. I should show you -- it'll scare the daylights out of you. But those figures did not include personnel costs (flight crew, maintainers, etc) so if you add those costs it, as well, the numbers cited in the OP post are not far off from actual costs. Add 10-15 percent for a reasonable profit and there you are.
I'm not a skid guy. I just played one on TV.