Helicopters are essential to aviation. They provide support to numerous industries and are critical to our search and rescue infrastructure. They are utilized to move patients for EMS operations and are also used to move people to and from difficult locations like off-shore oil rigs. If you thought they were only used by private parties to avoid high traffic areas, think again. Helicopters are vital to military, local municipalities, police and news crews.
Helicopters have come a long way since 1939, the day the first helicopter took flight. Placed side by side with 2020’s best private helicopter, the two crafts would be almost unrecognizable. Especially on the inside!
Today’s helicopters are delivering with advanced features, high speeds, and long ranges, that an increasing number of celebrities, politicians, and business people are turning to them as alternative modes of travel.
If flying in a helicopter is in your future, keep reading for a comprehensive list of some of the best helicopters you can buy today for the money.
A the top of our list has to be the Sikorsky S-92. New equipment has an estimated asking price of $27+ million; the Sikorsky boasts luxurious features such as leather seats, legroom for days, ample storage, climate control, and a range of luxurious finishes. It is the standard by which all modern helicopters are compared. While most are used for Search and Rescue and the recent updated S92A+ and S92B will have increased flexibility, larger cabin windows, and a common door allowing eve more customized options for every conceivable mission.
On the specs side of things, the Sikorsky S-92 has a range of 620 miles and an average cruising speed of 173 miles per hour.
The Sikorsky can seat ten people, which works out to less seating than some of the other luxury helicopters. However, this reduction in seats leaves more room per passenger, meaning that you will be guaranteed to travel in comfort.
With over 300 delivered and a cockpit loaded with the best avionics available, it is one of the best buys out there since the demise of the energy sector. So if you have an appetite for a large cabin helicopter, you won’t find a much better-priced option.
Here is a Fun fact, the Sikorsky S-92’s cousin, the Sikorsky S-76C, is the helicopter of choice for the British Royal Family.
Bell 525 Relentless
The Bell 525 Relentless is a cheaper option than the Sikorsky, estimated to cost around $15 million. The Relentless features the latest engineering available, featuring fly-by-wire technology and a sophisticated touchscreen avionics system.
Like the Sikorsky, the interior of the Bell 525 Relentless leaves nothing to be desired as its interior finish is top quality.
The range on the Relentless is 575 nautical miles, slightly less than that of the Sikorsky. Its cruising speed however 173 miles per hour, which is admirable, considering its lower price point.
In terms of history and operational success, the 525 is built on decades of experience and production with its cousin, the Bell 206B Jet Ranger.
On a more budget-friendly note, we introduce the Airbus/Eurocopter H135/EC135. The Airbus costs a fraction of the price of the larger luxury aircraft (with an estimated price of $6.77 million and used examples are even cheaper), this private helicopter does not, we repeat, does not lack in style.
This model is a result of a collaboration between Eurocopter’s top engineers and Hermès. The interior is tricked out with Hermès style decadence and top of the range finishes. Buttery leather galore and Hermès signature fabrics make this a ride in the sky like no other private helicopter.
As this is a smaller chopper, the range of the Hermès Eurocopter is 620 miles, and the maximum speed is 160 miles per hour. However, thanks to its smart engineering, the Eurocopter is highly maneuverable, which allows it to make tighter landings thank other bulkier choppers.
This luxury helicopter is a cousin to the Eurocopter EC135. Previously known as the Eurocopter EC155, this member of the Dauphine line of helicopters has a spacious interior that can seat between 8 and 12 passengers as well as two pilots.
One of the stand-out features of this opulent private helicopter is its large windows that offer a panoramic view. Besides the unhindered views, travelers in this chopper can also enjoy the comfort of leather seats, air conditioning, and in-flight entertainment.
The range on the Airbus H155 is 532 miles, with maximum speeds of up to 201 miles per hour. The going rate for an Airbus H155 is roughly $10 million.
The MD 600N is a lightweight helicopter, and it offers a lower operational cost with high performance. The MD 600N is ideal for those after a private helicopter on a budget, thanks to its highly acclaimed low operating costs. It is also one of the few helicopters made that feature the NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) system.
The NOTAR system was developed by McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems. The system uses a fan inside the tail boom to build a high volume of low-pressure air, which exits through two slots and creates a boundary layer flow of air along the tail boom utilizing the Coandă effect. The NOTAR system offers safer operation over a traditional tail rotor design.
The MD600 price is also on the lower end, hovering around $2.9 million. The range of the MD 600N is 461 nautical miles, and the maximum speed is 175 miles per hour.
Although its finishes are nowhere near the level of luxuriousness of some of the other models on our list, the MD 600N poses as one of the best private helicopter options thanks to its price point and low running cost combined with its capabilities.
Eurocopter Mercedes-Benz EC145
To complete our list with another Eurocopter, we have the Mercedes-Benz EC145—the Mercedes of the sky.
Taking inspiration from modern design trends, the interior of the EC145 is modular, meaning that passengers can arrange it in several configurations to suit their needs. Equipped with adjustable ambient lighting, passengers can also control brightness and color settings for the perfect journey.
In addition to this, the cabin is fitted with top-shelf materials, including wood paneling and leather upholstery.
The Eurocopter Mercedes-Benz EC 145 can seat up to 8 passengers, has a range of 422 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 153 miles per hour. This luxury private sells for roughly $8.5 million.
Are You After the Best Private Helicopter?
This list of luxury helicopters is enough to make anyone want to hit the skies. Are you on the hunt for one of the best private helicopters ever built? If so, there is a lot you will want to find out, besides an overview of the different models and features.
As someone who simply wants to purchase the best aircraft for the money, it can be hard to know which one to buy, and that is where VREF comes in, to assist you in ascertaining this, we recommend that you take a look at our aircraft appraisals and hire one of our Senior Accredited Appraisers to provide you an accurate assessment of its value.
For more in-depth analysis you can also consider our valuation guides.