Have you ever wondered, ‘How much does a helicopter cost?’.
Me too. In fact, I’m sure lots of people have wondered about the cost of a Helicopter. So I decided to do some research, and then write this article to give people a realistic ball park figure on how much a helicopter actually does cost to buy. No more vague hand waving gestures from friends or family members as they yell things ranging from thousands to millions. I’m going to start with the cost of a basic low-end helicopter and then we will work our way up to the more advanced and expensive helicopters. We will focus on the cost of a brand new helicopter, and may give a rough estimate at the cost of used models, but that will obviously vary dependent on size, price & year.
Generally the first thing to decide if you are looking at the cost of a helicopter is whether you are after a 2-seater or a larger multi-passenger model.
One of the most popular brands in the world when it comes to helicopters is the Robinson. Although Bell Helicopter at one time made more helicopters then any other company in the world (although this was primarily on the strength of the B206 JetRanger), Robinson helicopters are renown for costing less to buy and run – and being generally more economical whilst not detracting from quality.
Considered one of the world’s most economical helicopters, the R22 carries a base list price of about $250,000 brand new. But there are many excellent deals to be found for good quality used R-22’s, often starting from around $100,000 - $150,000. Due to the R-22’s cheap operating costs, it is often used as a training helicopter. The R-22 is a two seater, making it light and giving it a very low inertia, allowing it to be extremely responsive to flight control inputs. In short, it is fun to fly. However, the R22 is not forgiving of pilot error or sluggishness, and is not recommended as a training helicopter due to this.
Cost – USD $250,000
Robinson R-44 Raven
The Robinson R-44 Raven line is a very popular choice of helicopter among flying experts. Many argue it is the worlds best for personal ownership, regardless of the price. It has four seats and comes in two models, the Raven I and Raven II (with the Raven II being more expensive). It is heavier then the R-22 allowing it to ride through wind gusts and turbulence more solidly than the R22. It is also much safer to fly as a ‘training helicopter’ for numerous reasons, but specifically because it gives you several more seconds to activate what is called autorotation (used to land during an engine failure) which can only be a good thing.
Cost – Raven I – USD $340,000
Raven II – USD $415,000
Bell B206 JetRanger
The five seater Bell B206 JetRanger is another very popular helicopter, both with military services and civilians. It has a two blade main rotor and a two blade tail rotor. This model and all of its variants is what has kept Bell Helicopters on par with the Robinson line. It does cost considerably more, but is also a little larger then the R-44.
Cost – USD $700,000
Eurocopter EC120 Colibri Hummingbird
The Eurocopter EC120 is a very quiet and comfortable helicopter, but it does come with the appropriate price tag that reflects its positives. With five seats and a single engine and rotor, it is a relatively light helicopter. It also implements numerous crash resistant systems for the seats and the fuel system.
Cost – USD $1,700,000
So in conclusion, if you were wondering how much a helicopter does cost, then you are looking at anywhere from USD $250,000 – $1,700,000, depending if you want a little 2 seater or want to go all the way up to a five seater. Obviously there are numerous other factors to consider (training costs, operational costs, storage costs etc), but hopefully you now have a good and realistic idea of what a helicopter does actually cost! Whether you were just curious, or are seriously considering buying one, it’s always a fun bit of trivia to know.