The Best Helicopters For Superyachts | Boat International
8 The Best Helicopters For Superyachts
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Airbus ACH145

Just commissioned a beautiful new superyacht with a helicopter deck? Whether you're new to the aerial world or an experienced buyer, our guide to the best helicopters for superyachts will give you plenty of options for your next purchase...

Compact in size, this helicopter’s small footprint and large, flexible cabin make it the aircraft of choice for on board. The ACH145 can carry eight to ten passengers depending on desired configuration, transporting guests to shore in style. Choose between a standard or VIP interior designed in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, or bring your along your own designers. One superyacht owner enlisted the help of London-based design studio Harrison Eidsgaard for two ACH145 helicopters delivered earlier this year. The ACH145 is also the heli of choice for 182.9 metre REV Ocean, soon to be the largest superyacht in the world, and for 66 metre support catamaran Hodor (pictured).

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Leonardo AW169 helicopter

Leonardo’s AW169 helicopter is expanding into new VIP markets. The versatile twin-engine, medium-weight helicopter puts safety first with a crash-resistant airframe, fuel system and seats. It has the latest touchscreen avionics and expansive glass for maximum visibility, plus one engine inoperative (OEI) capability. The cabin can carry five to eight passengers depending on layout and is as luxurious as any jet. There are separate cabin-cockpit air conditioning systems and a wireless cabin control and entertainment system. The variable speed main rotor feature improves efficiency in flight and keeps noise levels to a minimum. At 48 feet in length the AW169 isn't small but if you can find the space you'll be rewarded with a max range of 440 nautical miles. Expect to pay around $8.5 million.

Image courtesy of Andrew Griffiths/Lensaloft Photogrpahy

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Bell 505 Jet Ranger X

The 505 Jet Ranger X is a lightweight helicopter that offers speed and manoeuvrability well suited to tight landing spots. It has a fully integrated glass flight deck and Garmin G1000H avionics suite with twin 10.4in LCD screens, which makes for enjoyable, safe piloting. The sleek Italian-designed cabin can carry up to four passengers or be configured for cargo by removing the quick-disconnect rear cabin seats or co-pilot seat. The flat floor cabin design and large rectangular baggage compartment allows for plenty of onboard luggage. If you’re after something nippy and practical, it’s a great choice. You'll pay around $1 million.

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Leonardo AW109 Trekker helicopter

Despite a pedigree that dates back to the original AW109, when the company was known as AugustaWestland, the light twin-engine AW109 Trekker still looks fresh and purposeful. Making its European debut at the 2019 Monaco Yacht Show, the AW109 Trekker is capable of carrying up to six passengers in a quiet cabin with luxurious seating that can be arranged in various configurations. It has a range of 450 nautical miles, an altitude ceiling of 16,000 feet and a 175mph cruising ability with fixed landing skids. At 42 feet in length, it’s more suited to gigayachts than mere superyachts, but all that fuselage area does make the ideal blank canvas for an eye-catching paint job. Leonardo has an in-house customisation division, so no two helicopters are created the same. From $4.2 million.

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Airbus H175 VIP

The first of Airbus' super-luxe H175 VIP helicopters was delivered in 2016 with Arsenal football club shareholder Alisher Usmanov reportedly installing one on board 156 metre Lürssen Dilbar. The luxury helicopter can seat eight and has a customisable interior by Pegasus Design meant to rival the finest investment-worthy private jets. Dimmable panoramic windows, mood lighting, TV screens and WiFi all come as standard in the soundproofed cabin and, while Airbus have not disclosed an exact price, the H175 helicopter is thought to be in the range of $20-25 million.

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Sikorsky S-76D helicopter

If you have a large family (or lots of friends) the S-76D commercial helicopter could be for you. Capable of carrying up to 13 people, the S-76D is also the helicopter of choice for heads of state, air ambulances, and search and rescue missions. The "D" model is powered by 1,050 hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines, providing increased horsepower compared to its siblings, without increasing fuel consumption. Executive and deluxe configurations feature a cockpit cabin divider, tinted windows, leather upholstery and retractable boarding steps.

Looking for a helicopter with a royal seal of approval? Sikorsky is the current heli of choice for the British Royal Family.

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Airbus H160 helicopter

If you want to be at the cutting edge of helicopter design, put your name down for the recently unveiled H160. It features a fully composite airframe, twin Turbomeca Arrano turboshafts and a shrouded tail rotor for silent travel. It will carry 12 passengers and cruise at 185mph for 500 miles. First deliveries are due in May 2020, POA.

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Robinson R44 helicopter

One of the most popular full-sized, entry level helicopters – almost 6,000 have been sold. Powered by a single six-cylinder piston engine, it carries four people, cruises at 135mph, and has a range of 350 miles. In 1997 Jennifer Murray used one to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by heli. It costs from $375,000.

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