Yesterday we brought you a list of amazing private jets. However, they were pretty expensive, ranging from $25,000,000 to as much as $500,000,000. So chances are, those are a little out of your price range. Today, therefore, we’ve put together of alternatives to commercial airline travel that’s a little more attainable: private helicopters.
Of course, “more attainable” is a relative term. These are still pretty pricey, but they’re all cheaper than any of the jets, so you can at least fantasize about getting one of these if you win the lottery.
In any case, there are advantages disadvantages to going with a private chopper over a private jet. Sure, helicopters aren’t as fast as jets, nor do they the same range. But you look much cooler hopping out of a helicopter than walking out of a jet, and the former can take you places jets cannot—like midtown Manhattan, or a ski resort in the French Alps. So all things being equal, I think I’d rather have a chopper than a jet.
So let’s have a look at some awesome choppers, shall we?
This helicopter is probably most often used by law enforcement agencies. However, it can also be outfitted for corporate VIP services quite nicely, with nice leather upholstery and seating for about 6 passengers and 2 operators. Of course, outfitting the Koala this way raises the price from $1.8 million to about $3 million—or anyway, that’s what this particular bird is listed for. As for the tech specs, this chopper has a top speed of 166 mph and a range of 618 miles.
The standard EC 135 will run you a mere $4.2 million, but the one with the interior designed by the world’s most opulent luxury accessories maker? Yeah, that’s going to run the price up to $6 million. It’s hardly surprising, though, since a Hermès suitcase can cost as much as $27,000. As for the helicopter’s capabilities, the top speed is 178 mph, but the range is just 395 miles. So, you know, it’s really only for short little jaunts.
That’s right, this is a Versace helicopter. AugustaWestland teamed up with the Italian fashion hosue to create a super luxe interior for this fancier version of the AW109. The cabin AW109 Grand is longer than the regular AW109, though the specs are about the same: it still have a top speed of about 177 mph and a range of 599 miles. The only difference is that all 599 of those miles will be more luxurious for the VIP passengers…hence the $6.3 million price tag.
If you’re a Mercedes kind of guy, why should your love of luxurious transportation end on the road? Just get yourself one of these Mercedes-style Eurocopters, and you can be pimping up in the air, too. Of course, since a regular EC 145 costs about $5.5 million, the Mercedes version is going to cost somewhere around $7 million. But it’s totally worth it—no other Mercedes can go 153 mph (with a range of 426 miles) while flying 17,000 feet above the ground.
The EC 175 was announced at the Paris Air Show in 2009 and has a top speed of 178 mph and a range of 345 miles. So why is this one listed for sale at a whopping $7.9 million—so much more than the previous Eurocopter entries? Because the EC 175 one holds a whopping 16 passengers. (If it ever crashed, that would be a lot of dead rich people.)
Now this is a luxurious chopper. Or it can be, anyway, when not being used for lamed stuff like medevacs. It’s top speed in an impressive 200 mph with a range of 533 miles. Also, it can seat as many as 13 passengers, but the VIP configuration (pictured here) seats 6 to 8.
The price? A cool $10 million.
You already know Sikorsky’s most famous chopper. That would be the Black Hawk…as in “Black Hawk down.” However, they also make a couple of primo VIP helicopters for civilian use, and the S-76C, which runs a modest $12.95 million, is one of them. This baby can seat up to 12 passengers, but you can’t treat VIPs like cattle. So, as you can see, the configuration pictured here seats just 4…in complete luxury. It’s a shame the range is only 473 miles (with a top speed of 178 mph), because I could sit in this thing all day.
You wouldn’t think so by looking at the size of the leather seats pictured here, but when configured in a VIP arrangement, this chopper can still seat 8 passengers. Of course, with that capacity and with such luxurious materials (is that mahogany?), it will cost you a cool $14.5 million. So you’re going to need to win a pretty big lotto jackpot to arrord this one. As for performance, in this beauty you can cruise along at 193 mph for at least 573 miles.
Like the Gulfstream 650 jet, the Bell 525 Relentless helicopter isn’t on the market just yet. It was announced in February 2012 at the Heli Expo in Dallas, is expected to make it’s first flight sometime in 2013, then get certified in 2015. So you’ll have to wait a while to pick one of these up…and that’s good, because your going to need time to save your pennies. This chopper is going to cost north of $15 million. At this point, pretty much all the specs are hypothetical, but they anticipate seating for 16, a top speed of 162 mph, and a range of 460 miles.
I’ve seen some websites list the S-92 as high as low as $17 million and as high as $32 million. But while I’m sure you could add enough gold, leather, and crystal features to the cabin to run the price up to $30 million, that seems unlikely. So we’ll just say the price of this chopper is at least $17 million. As you can see, this behemoth has an airliner-like interior that is probably pretty comfortable. Thus, while the max speed is 194 mph (with a range of 594 miles), I’d probably tell the pilot, “hey, there’s no rush.”
The United States Marine Corps was planning to order three of these choppers to replace the two that currently serve as Marine One (i.e., the Presidential helicopter). However, with a price tag of $21 million each, and with the economy the way it is, President Obama pulled the plug on the order. In any case, if you didn’t know any better, you’d probably assume this photo of the AW101′s cabin was actually a photo of a private jet cabin, because that’s how big and luxurious it is. But the size of this chopper doesn’t slow it down. The top speed is 192 mph, and the range is an impressive 863 miles. So this really is the only helicopter I would purchase.