Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 1 November 2020

Future of transport: Five most luxurious helicopters in the world right now

As a Dh51.4 million helicopter is announced by Airbus, we look at some of the most sought-after choppers on the market

Airbus is launching its most luxurious helicopter to date, the ACH160, with prices starting at about $14 million (Dh51.4m).

The luxury chopper can hold up to 10 passengers in an interior that is more like sitting inside a Rolls-Royce than the average helicopter, with a handmade carpet, wood veneers and leather linings.

The customisable interior gives its owner the options of bench style-seating, individual seats or both.

Orders have already been made for the craft, which has a top cruising speed of about 287 kilometres per hour, by customers in North America, China and Europe.

The ACH160 is expected to become one of the most widely sought-after choppers in the world when it is made available this year.

The National takes a look at some of the other most sought-after helicopters on the market.

Sikorsky VH-92A

Even though it will not enter service until 2021, the VH-92A is already one of the most well-known helicopters worldwide.

That is because it will become the new Marine One, the call sign of the helicopter that transports the US President.

Whether it is Donald Trump or Joe Biden travelling on board remains to be seen but, one thing is for sure, they will certainly be travelling in style.

The new VH-92A can carry 19 passengers, as well as a pilot and co-pilot, and has a top speed of about 305kph.

An initial order of six VH-92As for the US President and other high-ranking government officials was made in 2019 – worth more than $500m.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation also makes a medium-size utility helicopter called the Sikorsky S-76. The helicopter made headlines this year when one of the models crashed in Calabasas, California, while carrying nine people, including former basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who all died.

Bell 525 Relentless

This is another helicopter that has not yet been released but, when it is, will cost about $15m.

The Relentless will hold up to 16 passengers and can travel at speeds of about 260kph. The chopper also has a range of 740km.

The manufacturing company, Bell, produces another model, the Bell 407GX, which is famously owned by Hollywood actor Harrison Ford. When he is not flying it, the helicopter is made available to emergency organisations for search and rescue missions.

AgustaWestland AW139

This is another helicopter that requires particularly deep pockets but is known for being one of the safest in the world.

Popular among emergency services, the chopper is able to take off and land in confined areas and on uneven terrain. It has a top speed of about 310kph and can seat up to 15 passengers, making it roomy enough to load patients on stretchers if needed.

The UAE Air Force was among the first to purchase AW139s. It is commercially available for about $12m.

However, the craft has been involved in accidents over the years. In 2014, one of the helicopters crashed in Norfolk, England, in heavy fog. All four people on board were killed, including Edward Haughey, a member of the British House of Lords. An investigation found there had been no mechanical error.

Sikorsky S-92 VIP Configuration

Anyone who wants this chopper will have to fork out at least $17.7m for the pleasure.

The price varies depending on whether its owner would like the interior lined with crystal or gold.

The S-92 has a top speed of 306kph and it a range of about 1,000km.

Updated: September 21, 2020 12:58 PM

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