Helicopters have been around since 1936, when the Focke Wulf FW61 became the first operational helicopter ever made. Igor Sikorsky then conducted some full-scale production in 1942 when he was able to build 131 helicopters.
Before that, the idea of a machine being able to lift off and land vertically has been around for the longest time. As early as 400 B.C., evidence suggests that Chinese kids played with bamboo flying toys that could fly after rolling a stick attached to a rotor. Leonardo da Vinci had an aerial screw design in the early 1480's. A Russian named Mikhail Lomonosov also demonstrated a tandem rotor in 1754.
Today, helicopters are used for a variety of purposes, including transport, cargo handling, military, firefighting, construction, search and rescue, medical, tourism and even simple aerial observation.
So what does it take to own one of these flying machines? Here now is a list of the top 10 most expensive private helicopters in the world today.
10 Eurocopter EC135 - $4.2 million
The outside of the Eurocopter EC135 looks like an imaginary and even futuristic bird. It has a prominent brown throat and a long tail ending in a loop. Hermes designed the interiors, with impeccable lining and invisible stitches. This helicopter can carry five passengers aside from the pilot. It is powered by two Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 turbine engines and two Pratt & Whitney PW206B2 turbine engines. It has a range of 635 kilometers and cruising speed of 254 kilometers per hour.
9 Eurocopter EC145 - $5.5 million
The Eurocopter EC145 is a multi-role helicopter. It is one of the best medium-sized, twin-engine helicopters. It has a hingeless rotor system with a monolithic titanium hub. It also has enhanced rotor blades that has less noise and vibration levels. It can carry up to 11 passengers in high-density seating, aside from the pilot. It is powered by a couple of Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2 turbine engines. It as a maximum range of 680 kilometers and a maximum cruising speed of 246 kilometers per hour. It can go up at a rate of 1,600 feet per second. The maximum operating altitude is 18,000 feet.
8 AgustaWestland AW109 - $6.3 million
The AgustaWestland AW109 is a lightweight, twin-engine helicopter from the British and Italian company called AgustaWestland. It made its maiden voyage in 1971 and was formally introduced in 1976. The Italian Army, REGA or the Swiss Air Rescue, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force are its main users. It is used for light transport, medical evacuations, search and rescue operations and military purposes.
7 Eurocopter EC175 - $7.9 million
The Eurocopter EC175 is also known as the Avicopter Z-15. It was launched in 2008 and certified in 2011. It is designed for civilian and parapublic applications, including support for the oil and gas industry, search and rescue missions, homeland security, air medical services, utility missions and corporate transportation. It is powered by a couple of Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67E turboshaft engines equipped with Full Authority Digital Engine Control, or FADEC. It will also have a five-blade main rotor and three-blade trail rotor.
6 Eurocopter EC155 - $10 million
The Eurocopter EC155 is a long-range medium-lift passenger transport helicopter. The twin-engine chopper can fit in 13 passengers, aside from the pilot. Aside from passenger transport, the helicopter is also designed for offshore support, casualty transport and VIP corporate transport. It is powered by a couple of Turbomeca Arriel 2C1 turboshaft engines capable of 635 kW. It will also have dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control system. The entire cockpit is made of glass and equipped with an integrated digital flight control system.
5 Sikorsky S-76C - $12.95 million
The Sikorsky S-76C is a medium-sized commercial utility helicopter. It is powered by a couple of Turbomeca Arriel 1S1 turboshaft engines with a power of 539 kW. It is used by the British royal family, as well as by Donald Trump. The chopper’s main purposes are for airlines, corporations, hospitals and government operators. Both main and tail rotors have four blades and the landing gear is retractable.
4 AgustaWestland AW139 - $14.5 million
The AgustaWestland AW139 is a medium-sized twin engine helicopter. Bell Helicopters used to be part of the development of this aircraft but eventually pulled out. It has since become one of the company’s most influential products, providing the basis for the AW149 being used by the military and the AW189 being sold for civilian use. The main rotor has five blades while the tail rotor has four. Its landing gear is retractable and is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6C turboshaft engines. It can carry up to 15 passengers in three rows, underlining the spaciousness of the aircraft.
3 Bell 525 - $15 million
The Bell 525, nicknamed Relentless, is a helicopter currently being developed by Bell Helicopter. It will be a medium-lift helicopter made primarily from composites and metal. It will be the first commercial helicopter to incorporate fly-by-wire flight controls. Two GE CT7-2F1 turboshaft engines will power it. It can carry up to 16 passengers, with a maximum range of 741 kilometers and speed of 261 kilometers per hour. It can go up to as high as 20,000 feet
2 Sikorsky S92 - $17 million
The Sikorsky S92 is a twin-engine medium-lift helicopter. It is the basis of the H-92 Superhawk that is used by the military. A pair of GE CT7-8A turboshaft engines powers it. It has an aluminum frame, as well as some composite components. The rotor has four blades and is designed to reduce noise and increase the lift. Most of its components are made of titanium.
1 AgustaWestland AW101 - $21 million
The AgustaWestland AW101 is a medium-lift helicopter from the British and Italian chopper manufacturer. The variant for important persons is used in Saudi Arabia and India. The main design is primarily used for anti-submarine warfare and as for transport and utility. The Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Italian Navy and the Royal Danish Air Force are its main users.