Palaces in the sky: The world’s most expensive helicopters

There comes a point in every millionaire’s life when they need a change of perspective. After building your own island fortress and breeding a frenzy of mutant sharks, it becomes difficult to view the world the same way most people do. Even driving in a supercar may leave you feeling blasé. The average person sees the world from ground level, but wouldn’t it be grand to get the view from Mount Olympus?

Thankfully, through the power of engineering, you can cast side earthly tethers and survey the world from on high. All you need is enough money to buy your own private helicopter. Planes may be faster, but helicopters allow you to take in the surrounding view like nothing else. Besides, you can’t exactly land a plane on top of a building in the middle of a city. For those with a few million dollars and a helipad, a helicopter is the perfect way to travel, gliding over town and country like an executive Hermes. Of course, there are quite a few helicopter models in the world. Check out the list below for a closer look at some of the most expensive helicopters available for private use. If you need to save up for a few more years before buying one, might we recommend a drone instead?

Note: The exact sales figures for the helicopters featured below are based upon what various helicopter-enthusiast sites claim. Most manufacturers don’t even provide an exact price quote.

For the millionaire on a budget

The thrifty option: Bell 505 Jet Ranger X ($1.5 million)

Just want to fly without the need for a television, minibar, or pool table? For the maverick millionaire who just wants to jaunt around the skies, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is a relatively affordable option. Yes, the other members of SPECTRE may sneer at your peasant chopper, but they also have to deal with all their friends asking to ride along for aerial parties. It’s a modern reimagining of the classic 206 JetRanger. Although it might not be a flying Mercedes-Benz, the X still has a spacious cabin, and you can even get leather seats if you want luxury. It includes a Garmin 1000 avionics suite for easy piloting, and the Jet Ranger X handles well. The only drawback: The cabin apparently gets quite loud.

Range: 566 km
Cruise speed: 232 km/h

Airbus H155 ($10 million)

Formerly known as the Eurocopter EC155, the name may have changed but the luxury is the same. Part of the opulently-named Dauphin line of helicopters, the H155 is a sizeable vehicle for the millionaire-on-a-budget. Depending on the configuration, the cabin can hold anywhere between eight to 12 passengers, in addition to two pilots. Large windows lining the sides of the cabin provide passengers with a wide view, and amenities such as leather seats, air conditioning, and in-flight entertainment mean you will be flying in comfort.

Range: 857 km

Cruise speed: 281 km/h, Max speed: 324 km/h (per Airbus)

AgustaWestland AW139 ($12 million)

In the helicopter industry, AgustaWestland is a name synonymous with quality, and the AW139 solidifies that reputation. At $12 million, it’s on the modest side for helicopters on this list, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the interior. The AW139 has the largest cabin in its class and its spacious design allows for a variety of seating configurations. Energy-absorbing landing gear and fuselage ensure a smooth ride from takeoff to touchdown, so you can work or relax while flying.

Range: 1250 km

Cruise Speed: 206 km/h

Sikorsky S-76C ($12.95 million)

An exemplar of American engineering, the Sikorsky S-76 is equipped with two Turboméca Arriel 1S1 turboshaft engines and is constructed to be lighter and use fewer parts than a typical helicopter design. An executive seating arrangement can hold up to eight passengers. The S-76C is perfect for a millionaire with a fondness for machinery.

Range: 832 km

Cruise speed: 287 km/h

AgustaWestland AW609 ($14 million)

The AgustaWestland is a premier VTOL for those living the executive lifestyle. The ability to take off and land vertically means the AW609 can fly you straight to whatever location you want to go, yet it can also fly twice as fast and as far a typical helicopter. The AW609 is the future of helicopter-related luxury.

Range: 1389 km

Cruise speed: 510 km/h

Bell 525 Relentless ($15 million)

This one may be cheating as it’s not on the market just yet, but the Bell 525nicknamed “Relentless” — promises to be one of the most exciting helicopters available. One of the pioneering examples of the “super-medium” class of helicopters, the 525 can hold up to 20 passengers in comfort. At times the 525 seems less like a helicopter and more like a floating palace. The Relentless is also an engineering marvel, incorporating fly-by-wire technology and a Garmin G5000H touchscreen avionics system.

Range: 926 km

Cruise speed: 287 km/h

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