If the ticket for the last helicopter out didn't cost $1M, would there even be a last helicopter out?
Yes. The guy that takes advantage is not the same one that has the power to provide the helicopter or not.
How do you figure? Since when does somebody other than the owner of a helicopter have the last word in what it costs to ride the helicopter? If you're trying to make some kind of reference to a government-run helicopter operation, most likely they wouldn't charge anyway. Of course, they'd probably get more people out if the millionaires could get quick service on private helicopters so that the free helicopters could focus on the people left who can't afford a ticket.
Things are getting very grey, even almost black here and considering the content of a historically set novel I'm reading I may start mentioning the modern version of pimps hanging around bus stations to recruit likely girls as an example of where your "pure" economics gets rejected by society. Are you really comfortable with that?
Am I comfortable with what? That society rejects prostitution? It seems about as effective as society's rejection of drug sales. Maybe if the industry were full of reputable companies instead of pimps and such there wouldn't be as many public health issues associated with prostitution.
Have you really considered such implications before posting something like what you have written above?
What implications? I am merely saying that what most people call "profiteering" is simply charging market rates, and it tends to get more services to people when they need them, since if you don't allow the charging of market rates then you get other behaviors like hoarding and shortages (if I can't sell you my cereal stockpile for $1000/box during a famine, maybe I'll just hide my stockpile in the basement since I'd rather not risk running out for a measly $1.50). Blocking free market trades doesn't magically turn everybody into an altruist.
I'm not suggesting that I don't agree with any government regulation whatsoever. In situations where there isn't a free market (large barriers to entry, limited information available to participants, etc) I'm fine with price controls. However, in many of those situations it is better to try to remedy whatever prevents the market from being free and then let the free market take over. For example, rather than trying to regulate the price of a tooth removal (the way this stuff typically happens), it would be better to have a central place where all dentists publish their tooth removal rates, and require them to charge that rate for everybody. Then anybody getting their tooth pulled can just check the website and aggregators could add value like reviews/etc and make it into a marketplace. Competition would quickly drive costs to an efficient level, so chances are your favorite doctor won't charge much more than the market rate anyway. On the other hand, something like trauma care probably would need to be price-controlled since people needing it rarely have the opportunity to shop around.
My point isn't that markets are the solution to everything. My point is just that markets are a very efficient way to align supply and demand and maximize the amount of sales/services/etc. If your service is getting people out of danger, then a market is going to tend to get more people out of danger than other systems. It might very well cost those people more in the process, but you'll get a lot more volunteers helping to rescue people when they stand to profit from it.
Do you care that I consider you dangerously naive but have been hoping for some sort of insight from you anyway?
Not at all. You're welcome to think whatever you want of me.